Overlooked Books: Gregg Hurwitz Recommends Marcus Sakey and Jesse Kellerman
Posted by: David Pitt
As part of our ongoing Mystery Month coverage, we’re consulting the experts, asking authors who have been well reviewed by Booklist to recommend books by other writers that didn’t get the attention they deserved.
Gregg Hurwitz, whose most recent novel, They’re Watching, was a starred review and Booklist Online‘s Review of the Day for May 4 , steers us in the direction of a couple of his favorite writers.
Marcus Sakey — The Blade Itself and The Amateurs (my favorites of his). He’s a brilliant plotter and does a magnificent job portraying relationships and dynamics swiftly, without slowing down the pace. He also gets us inside characters artfully, and writes those key, smaller scenes showing how certain levers — once thrown — can push a character over the edge. He makes motivation believable, and given that his characters commit questionable acts, this is impressive indeed.
Jesse Kellerman is another favorite, and he writes a different sort of morality tale than Sakey. Kellerman is a . . . master of the language, and he can paint a scene or a character with precisely the right words and level of detail to make it pop. His work is infused with philosophical questions — The Executor is a violent meditation on the question of free will — so at times, you feel like you’re reading James M. Cain by way of Kafka. Trouble was a brilliant exploration of obsession. The Genius was stunning as well. I delight in his work, savoring every sentence.