Tag Archives: Kristy Kiernan

E-freading

“E-freading” as in, “Read a free e-book.” The free Kindle edition of my first novel We All Fall Down is up right now, just waiting to snuggle into your handheld device or properly app’d laptop. I’m keeping it gratis until early next week, so if you’ve been holding off on reading a crime novel that’s been praised by the New York Post and the Star-Ledger, here’s your shot. You want to hear what other writers said about it? J.D. Rhoades called the novel “fast-moving and twisty,” and Kristy Kiernan called it a “hugely promising debut.” Shucks, I’d want to read the book myself, if I hadn’t already written it. Here’s your link. Have fun.

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So I wrote this novel . . .

Here’s that literary news I threatened you all with last week — my first novel, We All Fall Down, available right now through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and in the near future via Kindle and a number of other e-book formats.

Some of you may have read We All Fall Down here in its larval form a while ago, but now it is revised and even slightly expanded, just waiting to be unleashed on some unsuspecting beach this summer. It’s a crime novel, a police procedural, and a character study of a very tough, very vulnerable woman cop, all rolled into one. I like her, and if enough people find her interesting I’ll probably write the other two novels about her I have plotted out in my head.

Personally, I think We All Fall Down is pretty hot stuff, but fortunately you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s the estimable novelist and blogger J.D. Rhoades, no slouch himself in the crime novel department, as anyone can tell you who’s read Breaking Cover, Good Day in Hell, or Safe and Sound. He graciously agreed to look at an advance copy of We All Fall Down and here’s what he said:

A small time crook breaks into the wrong house at exactly the wrong time and soon finds himself in more trouble than he ever dreamed possible. A young, tough female police officer on the trail of an alleged cop killer faces the dug-in corruption in her own department and her own demons, and it’s soon a breakneck race to see which one will take her down first. Fast-moving and twisty, Steven Hart’s We All Fall Down delivers one electric jolt after another. It’ll keep you up at night.

Whoot! I could dine out on that review for years, but here’s another advance notice from another novelist, Kristy Kiernan, whose opinion I sought because her stories of domestic drama and friendship are as far as you can get from the crime genre. Here’s what the author of Matters of Faith and Between Friends had to say:

Hart keeps the stakes high and the action fast right from the get-go in this hugely promising debut. The characters are complex and winning, the plot tight, and especially rewarding, the writing itself is excellent. Set aside some time — I predict you’ll want to read We All Fall Down in one sitting.

Boo-yah! I hope to get a lot more reactions, but those two sure put a smile on my face. This morning I saw my first reader review, which calls the book “a first rate crime novel.” So my smile is now a little wider.

If you order the book, please be sure to post your response on the Amazon and B&N pages. Here’s a link to the publisher’s web site, which features a couple of other must-reads. E-book editions will be coming along soon.

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Approved authors 1

For the next week or so I’ll be offering passages from some of the books I’ve read and enjoyed this year. Most of the books were published this year. Most of the books are by people I’ve had some contact with, whether e-mail or in person, but there are also authors who wouldn’t know me if they tripped over me in a doorway.  In short, they’re here because I enjoyed their books and I think you will, too.

kristykiernan4MATTERS OF FAITH by Kristy Kiernan, Berkley Books, 2008.

The turning points in my life have always arrived disguised as daily life. I never get the opportunity or have the sixth sense to stop and examine them, to time-stamp them on my soul, to whisper to myself that this, this thing, this simple boat ride in the Everglades, this phone ringing, this drive home twenty minutes late, was the thing that might do me in.

They never appear important enough to stop the things I’m already doing — like sparring with my husband over the developing nothingness of our marriage, like mixing the right amount of red into a fire sky painting, like sitting down at my computer and reading an e-mail from my son.

“He’s coming home for spring break,” I called down to Cal through the open window, scanning Marshall’s message for more information. “And he’s bringing someone with him.”

“I can’t hear you,” Cal yelled back, the hollow, river rush of water beating against the house for a moment. I read the rest of the e-mail, committing the pertinent facts to memory as a flutter in my stomach began to make itself known, before I headed downstairs andout the kitchen door. The edge of the screen caught the back of my heel before I could get out of its way.

Cal, shirtless and browned, his shorts riding low enough to expose a strip of white skin, squinted at mne as he hosed off two bright blue coolers. “What’s up?”

“Marshall’s coming home for spring break,” I repeated, surveying the sparkle of fish scales caught in the crisp grass at the sides of the driveway like diamonds in straw. “And he’s bringing company.”

“The Dalai Lama?” Cal asked, flipping a cooler over and sending a rush of tepid water over my bare feet.

“A girl,” I said, and was rewarded for my timing with a squiret of water up my calves. Cal turned to me in surprise, a smile flashing quick and white across his face. I grinned back, raising my eyebrows, a joke, half-formed, about to spill out, before I remembered that we weren’t joking much these days.

“Really? A girl?”

“Ada,” I said, the unfamiliar name hard on my tongue, a good complement wrapped in the downy softness of Marshall. “She’s pre-law.”

“What else is she?” Cal asked, turning back to his coolers.

“He didn’t say.”

“That’s new. And you didn’t ask?”

I didn’t answer the criticism, not nearly as subtle as his word ssuggested. The method our son took to find himself was a never-ending fracture, but it was a method I was open-minded enough to indulge, and one Cal barely abided. The possibilities of Ada’s religious affiliation skated through my mind as I watched him move on to the next cooler, sluicing the remains of his second fishing tour of the day across the drive.

“What should I do about the sleeping arrangements?” I asked.

“Put her in your office and let them sneak around.”

“Nice. I’ll ask Marshall. Good trip today?”

He shrugged and flipped the second cooler over before turning the hose on himself, talking behind the water cascading down through his hair and across his face. “Couple of idiots from Minnesota. Talked about ice fishing the whole time. They want to go out tomorrow, but they wouldn’t put on any sunscreen, so I’m pretty sure I’ve got the day off.”

His words dimmed out, as Cal’s stories about paper-white Yankees were destined to after twenty years of marriage. I imagine he barely heard my talk about warping Upson board or paint loss on a Highwayman painting these days.

I envisioned a girl named Ada. She would be sturdy, blonde, and no taller than I. Trying to fit Marshall beside this Ada in my imagination was harder work. He’d never brought a girl home before.

Boys, there’d always been boys. Interesting boys he sought out when he was tired of being Jewish, or Buddhist, or Methodist. Earnest-looking boys who wore various amulets and indicators of their faith, who Marshall engaged in fascinating theological discussions over dinner. Fascinating to me, anyway. Cal, his fire-and-brimstone minister father never far from his mind, would leave the table, taking his plate to the living room, where he’d turn up the television loud enough that those of us left in the dining room would fall silent, intent on our food.

I was proud of Marshall. He was curious, about this world and the possibility of the next. Curiosity was an admirable trait, one my own parents cultivated in me. Meghan, our daughter, was as curious as Marshall and I were about the world. And she was due home any second.

This opening is a really good, efficient bit of scene setting. After only three pages, we know everything we need to know about the family situation and the tense, fraying marriage, and we’ve been shown some of the larger issues that will drive the story. Starting with something as simple and homey as a child with severe food allergies, Kiernan creates a tightly structured, engrossing drama about the limits of forgiveness and religious faith.

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