even more importantly, he gets Italy right.
He understands the nuances of Italian
manners and mentality as well as the
glorious national preoccupation with
★ Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil
Melina Marchetta. Mulholland, $26 (416p)
At the start of YA author Marchetta’s
stunning adult debut, Bashir “Bish” Ortley,
a cop on suspension from London’s
Metropolitan Police, travels to Calais,
France, to see
the bombing of
her tour bus.
Also among the
allegedly conspired to blow up a British
supermarket 13 years earlier. The authori-
ties suspect the bomb on the bus was meant
for Violette, but the public believes that
she planted it. Either way, the Brits want
Violette in their custody and out of France,
so they task Bish with bringing her in.
Violette runs, forcing Bish to work with
the girl’s family in order to find her.
Emotionally complex characters complement an intricate plot rife with dizzying
twists and devastating reveals. This visceral
read manages to capture the emotional
aftermath of a mass tragedy while sustaining
tension and delivering a scathing indictment of racial profiling, vigilante justice,
and the 24-hour news cycle. Agent: Jill
Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary. (Oct.)
Echoes of Sherlock Holmes:
Stories Inspired by the Holmes
Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger.
Pegasus Crime (Norton, dist.), $24.95 (368p)
King and Klinger’s strong third
Sherlockian anthology (after 2014’s In
the Company of Sherlock Holmes) features 17
stories from leading authors who draw
on Conan Doyle’s work for inspiration.
The end result is a rich variety of entries,
including Tony Lee and Bevis Musson’s
Where did your concept come from?
I was a burned-out screenwriter. I had
to make a living and writing a book
seemed like the logical thing to do.
As a kid, my favorite books were the
original Sherlock Holmes stories. I
was fascinated with
the character. Like
me, he was an introvert who didn’t fit in,
but unlike me, he defeated his enemies
and controlled his
world, and he did it
with only the power
of his intelligence. I
was a small kid in a
and that idea affected
me deeply. When
book, a Sherlockian
character was the only thing that
occurred to me. I grew up in South
Central L.A., so the inner city was
comfortable terrain and Sherlock in
the hood was born.
How hard was it to develop plausible
Sherlockian deductions for Isaiah?
It was very hard. It took me weeks to
work them out. I usually started at
the end point—what was the conclu-
sion I wanted Isaiah to reach? Then
I worked backwards, figuring out a
chain of revelations that would even-
tually lead him there. It might have
been easier if I were a logical person
in real life, but I spend so much time
inside my head, the real world eludes
me more times than not. I’m notori-
ously bad at going step by step or
following a diagram. There’s a saying
in my family that goes: “If your plane
crashes in the Amazon, and you needed
to survive? Joe is the one that you’d
kill and eat.”
How was writing IQ different from
writing a screenplay?
A background in
helpful, but only to
an extent. My first
attempts were terrible,
which was both startling and mortifying.
Writing the book was
also very freeing. I
could write anything
I wanted for however
many pages I felt like
writing. I could build
a character, alter him
or cut him out com-
pletely. I could go off
on tangents I thought were interest-
ing. The characters could make long
speeches or not speak at all. I could
play with language. I could write
without a producer or studio exec
looking over my shoulder. I learned to
love writing again.
What misconceptions about South
Central do most people have?
That all of South Central is economically depressed and that the people
are either poor, dangerous, or both.
Most of the area is comprised of ordinary working-class neighborhoods
populated with ordinary blue-collar
folks who go to work every day, care
for their children, don’t have criminal
records, and live peaceable, productive lives.
PW Talks with Joe Ide
Sherlock in the Hood
In Review (Mulholland; pub month, Oct.; Reviews, Aug. 8),
Ide introduces Isaiah Quintabe, an inner-city prodigy with
Sherlockian powers of deduction.