N.C. Events: Robert Crais & Fred Chappell… Plus R.I.P. Robert B. Parker

Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books welcomes thriller writer Robert Crais on Wednesday evening, January 20, at 7:30 p.m. to read from his new book, The First Rule, the latest in his series featuring Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. As Patrick Anderson of the Washington Post pointed out in his review earlier this week, Pike takes the lead in the new book, and while Anderson was ultimately mixed in his assessment, other critics — including Paula L. Woods of the L.A. Times — have been more laudatory. Oline Cogdill talks with Crais in an interview reprinted in the News & Observer. Check that interview out, or just see Crais in person Wednesday night.

Later this week, on Sunday, January 24, at 2 p.m., McIntyre’s Books at Fearrington Village hosts poets Fred Chappell and Mark Smith-Soto reading from their recent works as part of the store’s monthly N.C. Poetry Society Seriesn. I’ve sampled Chappell’s latest, Shadow Box, which somehow manages to be both playful and weighty. Fine stuff.

Finally, today brought the sad news that Robert B. Parker, MWA Grand Master and author of the Spenser novels, died Monday. For complete coverage of news and tributes, visit Sarah Weinman’s site here.