The author graciously donated a copy of her book to a lucky commenter … and Rose, you are IT!
Rose, please get in touch with me; I need your mailing address! And thank you all for participating. The author appreciates it and I appreciate it🙂
The author has graciously donated a copy of her book to one lucky commenter. This giveaway will run for a week, through April 27th. I’ll pick one winner at random from among everyone who comments on this post. But only on this post and multiple comments from the same person count as a single entry.
If you are usually a lurker, it’s time to uncloak! Don’t forget to leave a comment!
I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday, April 27.
It wasn’t what I expected and after I started reading it, I had to revise my approach to the book. I had been expecting the author’s journey, starting in Iowa and ending with the 2008 general election. Instead, it’s a compilation of blog posts written by the author over that same time span. It covers the same time period and material … but not as expected.
Rather than a continuous, sequential narrative, the book comprises series of snapshots. Interviews and events with candidates, wannabes, politicians, volunteers, voters, support staff, and political operatives. Connie Corcoran Wilson’s posts are witty, amusing, perceptive, and enlightening, especially when she focuses on the realities of life as a working journalist covering a presidential campaign.
I could very easily relate the long hours, the short sleep, the rapid changes of venue. The mental agility required to keep up that grueling pace for all those months. Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, being a working reporter is far from glamorous.
Ms. Wilson captures the character of the people with whom she interacts with charm, humor, and grace. But there is, nonetheless, a choppy quality that is the inevitable result of a compilation of posts rather than a story. There is also a bit more repetition of subjects that is, again, the inevitable result of compiling blog entries rather than writing the story as a story with a beginning, middle, and end.
Connie Wilson is a fine writer and she excels at her medium … blogging. I’m a blogger too. I “get” it. But blogging is not authoring. It’s the same church, but a different pew. Blog posts are free-standing, short subjects. You can collect them and put them in a binding to form a book-length volume of material, but it will still lack a continuous story. This lack becomes more increasingly problematic as the book progresses. The jumps between posts are sometimes a bit jarring.
The result? Despite excellent writing, the book doesn’t feel like a book. It feels like what it is: a huge collection of political blog posts. The posts are good, many excellent. A lot of perceptivity and sensitivity raises her writing well above the so-called news writing you find on the Internet … or for that matter, in much of what you’ll find in print or on television. I would have appreciated more “connective tissue” to give the book an easier-to-follow timeline and structure.
The good news? The insider views of the campaign are priceless. The people. The voters. The volunteers. The politicians and their operatives. The process itself with all its quirks. The information is timely and might help you put the current political frenzy in context.
The material and author’s insights make Obama’s Odyssey a worthwhile investment of time. It’s a good, albeit flawed, book that covers the extraordinary 2008 campaign with a rare intimacy.
I gathered your names. Wrote them on little slips of paper. I dropped them in a cap and picked one. (Only one entry per name. Many comments from one person is still one entry, sorry.)
The winner of the complete set of Gretchen Archer’s Davis Way Caper books is Cheryl, one of my favorite lurkers. I’m sorry I don’t have more sets to give because if I could, I’d give every single one of you a set of books.
In case you’d like to acquire them on your own, you can buy a set of the first four books on Kindle from Amazon at this link. Gretchen Archer’s page and her books in all formats (including hardcover), are here!
And, of course, you can get the just-released, fantastic DOUBLE KNOT using this link.
And you can find reviews for all the Davis Way caper books as well as the interview with Gretchen Archer by clicking the links. Thank you all for participating. To me, you are all winners!
Cheryl, please get in touch with me. I need your snail-mail shipping address. If you don’t have my email address (though I’m quite sure everyone in the universe has my email address), you can use the contact form on “The Marilyn Page.”
The author has graciously donated a complete set of all five books, including Double Knot being released today!
Nothing complicated or fancy. Leave a comment and make sure your comment has a name on it. Anonymous comments can’t be considered because I don’t know who you are. Check back in a few days for the results! I’ll pick one winner randomly from among everyone who comments on this post. But ONLY on this post!
If you are usually a lurker, this would be a great time to join the conversation.
Condensed reviews of the four previous Davis Way novels follow.
Don’t forget to leave a comment! I’ll get back to you with the winner before the end of the week. We’ve got a lot of stuff going on this week and I will do this as soon as I can. Absolutely PROMISE.
Davis Way used to be a cop in Pine Apple, Alabama. Her name sounds like a road and the name of the town looks misspelled, but really, that’s her name and Pine Apple is indeed the town from which she hails. She used to be married. To Eddie. Twice. It didn’t work out the first time and it’s hard to figure why she married him a second time.
After a very long search for some kind of job, she gets hired by a Biloxi casino. The terms of her employment are murky. From the get-go, Davis is sure there’s something awry with the setup but she needs the job.
It’s hard to do your job when you aren’t sure what your job is. Harder still when nobody is who or what they appear, including Davis herself. Davis gets in deeper and deeper until she is about to be swallowed by the crime she is investigating. Eventually, she extracts herself and she finds love. Her own double whammy.
Double Whammy is ambitious and well-realized featuring a strong woman character with a great back story. Plenty of action, a complex plot, lots of characters, a love story … and more. Fast-paced, lively and witty, Double Whammy leaves you wanting much more!
Something is rotten at the Bellissimo casino where Davis Way works security. Employees are double dipping all over the place and it’s slot tournament season. How better to catch a cheater at slots that be part of the action? Duty calls … this time for Davis to be a competitor in the tournament. Good news? She gets to wear really great clothing. Bad news? She’s working day and night until further notice. Her personal life is going down the tubes. Of course — nothing is what it seems.
The boss’s wife’s personal assistant is missing after bullets are fired. A mousey elderly church lady appears to be the key to a suspicious series of slot machine wins. And what does the So Help Me God Pentecostal Church have to do with all this? It’s going to take all Davis’s sleuthing skills to untangle this Gordian knot.
Complicated? Indeed. Yet the author carries it off with aplomb, style and humor.
Plots within plots, entwined with subplots and back stories. Ms. Archer juggles all the complexities while keeping track of at least a dozen characters, then ties all those dangling threads into a beautiful bow.
Nothing is left hanging by accident. At the end of the book, all that remains are tidbits designed to lure you into the next adventure.
It took me almost a week to read Double Strike. I could easily have read it in one marathon night, but I was enjoying it so much, I intentionally slowed down to make it last longer. I didn’t want to eat it in one bite, as it were.
I didn’t think it was possible, but Gretchen Archer and her cast of characters have gotten even better — and they were already wonderful. Ms. Archer’s writing is crisp, sure-footed, smart. You can clearly hear the author’s voice, something that was a bit muffled in earlier books.
I have it on good authority the editors — this time — let her “have at it.” There are sections in Double Strike, descriptive, opinionated, and hilarious. So good I stopped and read them aloud to my husband. I don’t usually do that, but I was having a “wow” reading moment and had to share.
Ms. Archer’s descriptions of southern culture are illuminating. I doubt they will make her popular in Alabama, but it’s some of the most intelligent descriptive writing I’ve ever read. Astute, witty. Quotable.
I didn’t want Double Strike to end, but when I got to the final few chapters, I knew I could not put it down until I finished it. It was 2:30 in the morning when I finished the book … and I read the last chapter three times, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. A fantastic, climactic finish to this story! Our intrepid Davis Way has plenty of bread crumbs to follow into her next adventure. A satisfying conclusion for readers with enough dangly bits to make us come back and read the next installment.
I have loved everything Gretchen Archer has written, from her first book “Double Whammy,” to this latest, greatest entry into the Davis Way caper novels.
Davis is growing into herself. Still madcap, but in a Sherlock Holmesian way. She knows what she’s doing. She knows why she’s doing it. She sees connections between seemingly random events. How they form a pattern. The problem is getting anyone else to see.
Mysteries within mysteries call for Davis’s clever mind and remarkable ability to see what no one else can see. Will anyone else believe her? Will they “get it” before it’s too late?
Welcome to another taut mystery and hilarious romp through the world of casino gambling, mysterious bankers, and sealed vaults. Not to mention gigantic heaps of money. Or something like it.
I have loved every book Gretchen Archer has written, but with Double Knot, she has outdone herself.
Hearkening back to classic mystery writers of earlier decades, Double Knot is a taut, complex, witty, smart mystery with twists and turns that will keep you guessing … while keeping you charmed and amused. Although the characters are sometimes thoroughly wacky, the story has many serious points to make.
Breast cancer and its ravages and survivors. The relationship between mothers and daughters. The vulnerabilities of security in the real world. Tension builds from page one to the final word on the last page. I was not ready for the book to end. I wanted it to go on for many more pages.
This is the book in which Davis Way becomes fully realized. Gains dimensions you knew were there, but had never been revealed. Emotional issues she must face and work through. With her mother along for the ride, it’s time for both to confront their shared past and the painful secrets they have feared to acknowledge. They do it all under the most terrifying circumstances and with everything … life and death … at stake.
In Double Knot, Ms. Archer has dived into deep water. If, like me, you’ve been wondering “Who is Davis … really?”, this is your golden opportunity to find out.
This is no mere caper. Surviving this will require every ounce of Davis’s creativity, intelligence, training, and techno-savvy. She’s going to have to use it all to save her own life and the lives of those she loves.
Gretchen Archer’s ability to create an intricate story is hugely augmented by her ability allow her characters to evolve, develop previously unsuspected depths.
The story is not merely exciting, complex, and deliciously edgy, it’s also poignant and heartfelt.
Do NOT miss this one!
I love back stories. I’m one of those nosy people who has to research everything. I want to know not only what happens in the movie or the book, but what the author or director was thinking. Why he or she did it that way and not some other way. I love hearing about the inspiration behind a great piece of creative work.
To say that I loved Double Knot doesn’t quite capture my feeling on the subject. I loved that Ms. Archer stretched herself to go beyond snarky humor and easy laughs to explore her main character’s heart and motivations. Davis Way has gained depth. The things she does, the ways she reacts are no longer “out of the blue.” There is context where before, there were just questions.
I also love the whole “locked room” mystery genre. I think every mystery writer has tackled this at least once. Agatha Christie did it often and was, perhaps, the all time grande dame of the locked room mystery. Conan Doyle did it too, as have almost all great modern mystery writers. Who could resist?
The tension between a few characters locked together in a race with death? Whether it’s a train, a haunted house in the country, or below decks on a luxury cruise ship — this is the ultimate setting for a mystery and murder.
And now, without further ado, here’s Gretchen Archer to give you an inside look.
Question: What made you take the leap into writing a classic locked room mystery with a pregnant Davis Way in the middle of the action? What were you thinking?
What was I thinking? I wanted to challenge myself. Writers have to do that, I think. Maybe we all need to do it, to compete with ourselves and see what we can do that we haven’t done before.
I knew I wanted a locked-room mystery. Double Knot is the fifth book in my series. My characters needed a change of scenery. They’d covered every square inch of the Bellissimo Resort and Casino, the fictional Gulf Coast casino where the Davis Way crime capers are set in Double Whammy, Double Dip, Double Strike, and Double Mint. So, I built a boat. I packed my characters into a suite and sent them on a Caribbean cruise. I locked the door, threw away the key, and let loose the dogs of war, as it were.
Question: Unlike in your previous books, this one has a very tight timeline. Why?
That tight timeline was my second big challenge. The previous four books each spanned weeks, sometimes months. I allowed myself just two days for Double Knot. My goal was to write eighty thousand compelling words that would take place in forty-eight hours.
Question: You brought in new characters and left old characters out of the story. Again, why?
Character arc was my third big challenge. First, I profiled an unlikable and unsympathetic character with the intent of gradually redeeming her. Next, I took a core character — who my readers didn’t know well and surely didn’t embrace — and I put her out there. With all her hopes, fears, trials, motivation … and hopefully, salvation.
And in what turned out to be the biggest test of all, I let my star — Davis — start a family. A pregnant main character is unusual for the mystery genre. Going in, I didn’t think anything of it. After all, I’ve done it myself. How hard could it be?
As it turned out, very hard. Striking a balance between Davis taking care of herself while actively solving a mystery was a high-wire act. Truth be told, three wonderful editors, all of whom were on one side of the labor and delivery fence with me — thrice on the other, led to more treacherous editing waters than any of us expected. I’m happy to say we survived and Double Knot endured. I’m a better writer for it. (My editors might not agree.)
Was it easy? KNOT! I mean NOT! Did I love writing this book? A resounding yes. I hope readers connect with it. If knot, a chuckle.
Happy reading, and thank you Marilyn!
Not only did I love this book, but Garry loves it too. So Gretchen, you hit the target dead center this time. This is the Davis Way mystery which gathers up all the loose threads. A Double Knot indeed!
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