HOME by Harlan Coben

Patrick and Rhys, two young boys from wealthy families went missing ten years before the night that Win, a relative of Rhys who prides himself on keeping his emotions under control but has no trouble with violence when provoked, spots Patrick in near the tracks at Kings Crossing, a seedy area where prostitution and drugs are rampant.harlan-author-photo-final_photo-credit-claudio-marinesco

Unsure of how to approach Patrick after all these years and wondering if he does so, whether Rhys will be lost forever, Win finds that the decision is already made when three dangerous looking men approach the young man. Wanting to save Patrick, he confronts the men and, though he subdues all three, Patrick disappears again.

“I had blown it,” Win tells himself, knowing that after all his years of fruitlessly searching, if the one lead that came his way was lost, he wouldn’t be able to help the boys’ parents who were trapped in a limbo of despair, crippling anxiety and unending heartbreak.

And so beings Home (Dutton 2016; $28), the latest mystery by author Harlan Coben, who has had ninehome consecutive #1 New York Times best sellers, reintroduces us to one of his most popular heroes, sports agent Myron Bolitar as he and Win try to find the boys and reunite them with their grieving parents.

Asked where he gets his ideas, Coben, whose books have sold 70 million copies around the world, says that anything can stimulate an idea.

“The hard part is knowing which ideas will work and being able to develop that idea into a workable story,” he says. “An idea is not a plot and it’s not a novel. Turning it into a story is where the real work comes in.”

Ifyougo:

What: Meet Harlan Coben

When & Where: 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 21, Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago; 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 21, Skokie Library, 5215 Oakton St., Skokie.

FYI: (847) 446-8880; thebookstall.com

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Nathan Hill: Author of The Nix

the-nix600 pages and eight years ago, Nathan Hill started writing a short story.

“I guess I gave myself permission to keep going,” says Hill, about The Nix (Knopf 2016; $27.95), his recently published—to rave reviews—novel that covers a lengthy time period and numerous geographic locations as he tells the story of Sam Andresen-Anderson, a disgruntled professor at a small college near Chicago. Unable to muster the energy to complete a book for which he was paid a large advance and fearing the publisher will sue to get the money back (it’s already been spent), he is also grappling with a plagiarizing student who might also sue him and pining for his childhood love. What’s a guyhill_credit-to-michael-lionstar_fotor to do? For Sam, it’s spending too many hours playing the World of Elfscape, a World of Warcraft-like computer game.

But Sam sees salvation when his mother, who long ago abandoned him, is caught on video throwing rocks at a politician. The video goes viral and Sam convinces his publisher to change out his unwritten novel for a bio of his mother. It’s also a way to learn who she really is—a radical feminist as the media portrays her or the girl who married her high school sweetheart.

A nix, in Norwegian mythology, is a spirit who sometimes appears as a white horse and steals children away. In Hill’s book, it’s anything you love that one day disappears, taking with it a piece of your heart.

“Hill has so much talent to burn that he can pull off just about any style, imagine himself into any person and convincingly portray any place or time,” writes the New York Times in a review. “The Nix is hugely entertaining and unfailingly smart, and the author seems incapable of writing a pedestrian sentence or spinning a boring story.”

Hill says the reason he took so long to finish the book is that he didn’t know what he was doing and didn’t know what the ending would be.

“I just lived with these characters for a very, very long time and the more I wrote, the cleared their story became,” says Hill, who grew up in Streamwood, teaches at a college in Florida and now spends summers in Chicago where his wife, a classical musician, plays for the Grand Park Symphony.

“One of the nice things about writing this book besides getting to know the characters so well, was spending long, long afternoons in the Chicago History Museum wearing white gloves and looking at old photos,” says Hill who is 50 pages into his next novel—a plus for those who love The Nix as it means they might not have to wait eight years to see it on the bookshelf.

Ifyougo:

What: Nathan Hill Book signing
When: September 15 at 7pm

Where: The Book Cellar, 4736-38 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL

Cost: Free

FYI: (773) 293-2665; words@bookcellarinc.com

 

 

 

YA SENSATION SABAA TAHIR TO VISIT CHICAGO ON SEPTEMBER 14th

A Torch Against the Night, Sabaa Tahir’s second Young Adult novel continues the saga of Elias and Laia as they journey north through the treacherous Martian Empire in their quest to save Laia’s brother from prison. Trying to elude the Empire’s Commandant Helen, their once great friend who is now following orders from the Emperor to destroy them, all three must deal with both their pasts as well as the present as they fight to stay alive.

a-torchReviewers of Tahir’s first book in the series, An Ember in Ashes, compared it to Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones for its intensity, suspense and her ability to create a realistic fantasy world.

“The book took on a life of its own,” says Tahir, describing the sequel as much more difficult to write. “I feel sometimes like I’m just writing their stories, that I’m a scribe. It’s funny that way. It might be useful for my plot if I could get control of them, if I could get them to follow me.”

So immersed does Tahir get in her writing that her friends and family describe her as impounnamedssible.

“I forget that I’m supposed to do things with friends, go to appointments, do things that other people are doing,” she says.

Her background in journalism—she was a night editor for the Wall Street Journal and her upbringing in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s eighteen-room motel where she avidly read her brother’s comic book collection as well as any Science Fiction novels she could get a hold of, helped prepare her for
deft, fast moving story telling.

Already at work on her third book of the series, Tahir says she hopes readers find her book compelling and enjoyable.

“I would also love that they read it and see that hope is more powerful than fear,” she says. “I think we can find a reason to hope, even in the darkest times.”

Ifyougo:

What: Talk and book signing

When: September 14, 2016 at 7:00 PM

Presentation and Book Signing at Anderson’s Bookshop

Where: Anderson’s Bookshop,  5112 Main St, Downers Grove, IL

Cost: Free

FYI: (630) 963-2665