Reviews & Shout-Outs

I’ll admit it: I’ve been feeling a little spoiled with the attention coming my way lately.

In the new issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, critic Jon L. Breen gave my new collection The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense four stars and called me “one of the finest short-story writers to come to prominence in the twenty-first century.” You can see the full review below from the July/August issue—though sorry for the curved pages, I did my best to photograph it!

More recently, Michael Dirda gave the collection a shout-out in the Washington Post, putting my book on his summer vacation reading list—alongside some other distinguished authors and titles. That reading list is linked here, and a screenshot of the webpage is below—great to see my bookjacket so prominently displayed (though my book is neither the “scandalous memoir” or the “obscure literary journalism” mentioned in the headline).

Finally, on a more private note, I recently received an email from novelist and long-time friend John Gilstrap, with whom I’ve been in a writing group for the last decade. The email started out, “We’ve known each other for a long time, and I’ve always had great respect for you as a writer…”—which frankly left me girding myself for the “but….” I thought I heard waiting in the wings.

Instead, however, John wrote that as he was reading through the new collection’s title story, “I realized that you are not just a great writer, but that you are also an important writer—the kind that can change people. I was entirely caught off-guard by the simple complexity of that story. If comparisons to Harper Lee have not started coming your way yet, it’s just a matter of time. What a masterpiece!”

Having my story mentioned in the same sentence as Harper Lee’s? I’m only half-joking when I say, “Wait, why didn’t I ask John for a blurb?” But honestly, it means so much more to have gotten this unrequested, unexpectedly. And no, no one has brought up that comparison before….

As I said: Feeling spoiled.

Seriously, I can’t express how appreciative I am of the attention and enthusiasm that I’ve been receiving for the new book—in these three cases and from other readers who’ve reached out my way in emails and text messages and on Facebook.

All this—it truly means the world.