Briefing Books: Poetic police, a Palestinian thriller and much more
Sam Hazo's "The Time Remaining" is "a brave (and rare) novel that focuses on the suffering of the Palestinians."
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Because Pittsburgh has even more accomplished writers than it has bridges, we are aiming to get more of them in the paper and on the website. This is a space where writers -- many well -known, others getting published for the first time -- can rub elbows. The only thing missing is some camembert and a box of pinot grigio.
Send your books along with publishing information to: Book Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd of the Allies, Pittsburgh PA 15222. All genres are welcome, but please no unpublished manuscripts. Mini-book reviews, author appearances and readings will also be included as space allows.
• "Dog Unleashed: Poetry and the Police" by Jimmy Cvetic (Awesome Books). If Pittsburgh could be said to have produced an heir to Hemingway's tough-guy literary persona, Jimmy Cvetic -- boxing instructor and promoter -- is the man. Having spent more than three decades chasing murderers and other assorted bad guys, the former Allegheny County detective has become a staple of poetry readings on both coasts. Even NPR has taken notice of his gritty, urban poetry, rooted as it is in the sinister and oddly sensual imagery of Pittsburgh's underworld. Published by the local heroic bookstore with locations in Garfield and Downtown: AwesomeBooksPittsburgh.com
• "The Time Remaining" by Samuel Hazo (Syracuse University Press). Sam Hazo may be an internationally celebrated translator, poet and academic, but the founder of the International Poetry Forum knows how to write literary thrillers, too. "The Time Remaining" is a brave (and rare) novel that focuses on the suffering of the Palestinians. Writing about the blood that an intractable military occupation extracts from those on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide is no way to get oneself on NYT best-seller list, but Sam Hazo is too principled a writer to worry about toning down his politics. At the heart of this literary thriller is a taut political conspiracy, a murder and an unlikely love story. SyracuseUniversityPress.syr.edu
• "Resolve" by J.J. Hensley (Permanent Press). J.J. Hensley is a former U.S. Secret Service agent who has drawn upon his law enforcement experience and his love of long-distance running to create a fast-paced novel about murder at the Pittsburgh Marathon. "Resolve" is written in the first person, so it builds narrative momentum early and tracks the protagonist's journey along each of the race's 26.2 exhausting miles. The descriptions of running rituals and what happens once sneakers are laced feels real enough to get the heart of even the most committed couch potatoes racing. thepermanentpress.com
• "Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science" by David Harris (New York University Press). Contrary to what the public sees on procedural shows like "CSI," University of Pittsburgh Law School professor David Harris insists that police departments nationwide actively resist the best practices of forensics and crime scene science. The reasons for this reluctance to embrace science is as varied as it is fascinating, but Mr. Harris argues that fidelity to the discipline of gathering evidence is beginning to get the upper hand. This book should be required reading for every potential juror. nyupress.org
• "Far Away in the Sky: A Memoir of the Biafran Airlift" by David L. Koren. The 1968 blockade of Biafra, an impoverished sliver of rain forest in the eastern region of Nigeria, became shorthand for the difficulties of humanitarian intervention in a war zone. Millions of Biafrans faced starvation while the world debated what to do next. Instead of dithering, David Koren, a Pittsburgh native and well-known amateur astronomer now living in Butler County, volunteered to fly medicine and food into the blockaded country as part of an ambitious, but dangerous airlift relief effort. The former Peace Corps worker tells his dramatic tale in a memoir both riveting and nostalgic about the people he risked everything to serve for so many years. farawayinthesky.com
• Cambria County native Jennifer Haigh is getting well-deserved raves for her new story collection, "News From Heaven" (HarperCollins). Like her 2005 novel "Baker Towers," it's set in a small coal town called Bakerton, a stand-in for her hometown of Barnesboro. She will read from her work at 6 p.m. Thursday at Carnegie Library in Oakland (as part of Writers LIVE @ CLP; the event is free but register at pittsburghlectures.org) and will sign books at 7 p.m. Friday at Barnes & Noble in The Waterfront (Homestead).
First Published February 17, 2013 12:00 am