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Recent Books

Your Call Is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit by Laura Penny (Crown hardback). Here's how this book starts: "There is so much bullshit that one hardly knows where to begin. The pabulum that passes for stirring political rhetoric is bullshit. . .The focus-grouped fad and the rule of the polls are straight-up bullshit. . .The new product that will change your life is probably just more cheap, plastic bullshit." Penny, 30, swims upstream in our culture's tsunami of B.S. to reveal is ubiquity -- and to point out that it alienates us from one another, leads to apathy, demeans public discourse and makes all of us a bunch of addled dumbasses. She endulges in some gratuitous Bush-slamming (W may deserve to be slammed, but hey, stick to the subject), but her detailed research, sarcasm and down-to-earth style make for a fun read.



John Grooms

The Circle by Peter Lovesey (Soho Crime hardback). Lovesey is a prolific British mystery writer with a handful of awards. This tale -- made to order for summer mystery reading -- has as its main suspects a group, or "circle," of aspiring writers. Self-styled publisher Edgar Blacker, after schmoozing the group, is found to be a vanity publisher who builds up expectations in the hope that writers will then be desperate enough to pay him to publish their books. Not long after, Blacker is murdered. One of Lovesey's regulars, Inspector Henrietta "Hen" Mallin, is called in to investigate, and Peter Diamond, a detective from one of Lovesey's other series, has a cameo appearance here. This is a traditional, very British mystery, so look elsewhere for gore or action sequences.



Ann Wicker

Deadwood by Pete Dexter (Vintage paperback). The success of HBO's Deadwood series has triggered the re-release of a wonderful and unjustly forgotten novel from 1986. Dexter (author of Paris Trout, The Paperboy, Train and others) brought to life the heroics, viciousness, unbelievable boozing-gambling-and-whoring habits, anarchy, joy and hellishness of 1876 Deadwood, South Dakota, as seen through the eyes of "Wild Bill" Hickock's partner Charley Utter. Probably Dexter's most off-beat and funniest book, Deadwood is a masterful story told by one of the country's best novelists.



John Grooms
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