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Between the lines with Reed Farrel Coleman (Q&A w/ book giveaway)

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Hartford Books Examiner and Tyrus Books will be giving away a hardcover copy of Reed Farrel Coleman’s The Hollow Girl. For your chance to win, simply email HBE at HartfordBooksExaminer@aol.com by 11:59 PM EST on Friday, May 23rd, and include “Giveaway” in the subject line. One recipient will be chosen at random.

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Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes Reed Farrel Coleman.

Coleman is the author of the highly lauded Moe Prager mystery series, which debuted with Walking the Perfect Square in 2002 and comes to a close with The Hollow Girl (Tyrus Books), which was published yesterday in hardcover and trade paperback editions (and is also available on audio). The author is the former executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America; NPR’s Maureen Corrigan branded him a hardboiled poet while the Huffington Post called him a noir poet laureate. Reed Farrel Coleman makes his home in Long Island, New York.

The Hollow Girl is the ninth and final Moe Prager novel; advance praise has been enthusiastic. Booklist gave the title a starred review, noting, “This is Moe’s final hunt, and he’s going to leave behind a slew of grieving fans, but his story is wrapped up perfectly here, filled with raw social commentary, nostalgia, and guarded hopefulness. Expect those attracted to The Hollow Girl by the reality entertainment elements to be hooked by Coleman’s airtight writing in this literary heavyweight PI series.” Further, Dennis Lehane exalted, “In Reed Farrel Coleman’s hands, the Moe Prager novels are turning into one of the great series in PI literature. These are soulful, beautifully written investigations into an American Dream that slipped through our fingers when no one was looking. The series would make the greats—Chandler, Hammett, Ross and John D. McDonald, and James Crumley—very proud indeed.”

From the publisher:

The final novel in one of the most critically acclaimed PI series in the annals of crime fiction!

"Few writers working in any genre offer tales with such moral complexity, dark humor, and, most of all, heart." --Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me

Drunk, alone, and racked with guilt over the tragic death of his girlfriend Pam, Moe Prager is destined for oblivion. But destiny takes a detour when a shadowy figure from Moe's past reappears to beg for Moe's help in locating her missing daughter. As a reluctant, distracted Moe delves into the case, he discovers that nothing is as it seems and no one involved is quite who or what they appear to be. This is especially true of the missing daughter, an early internet sensation known ironically as the Lost Girl or the Hollow Girl. The case itself is hollow, as Moe finds little proof that anyone is actually missing.

Now, Reed Farrel Coleman reveals a few pages from the book of his life …

1) As a child, did you wear your literary lust loud and proud or were you a closet bibliophile?

I’m not sure I should confess this, but I didn’t love books as a child. I was more of a jock and was way more into movies, TV, and music. I grew into a love of books and reading the way an awkward kid grows into his body.

2) What book(s) were you likely to be caught keeping company with under the covers?

I did like sci fi and was particularly fond of short story collections edited by Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock. And, of course, biographies of sports legends.

3) What are you reading currently & what is your initial impression?

I am reading Philip Kerr’s new stand-alone novel Prayer. I am loving it, but I am a total Kerr fan. He is so much a writer of theme, but so skilled at not preaching to that theme that he knocks me out. And I met him last night for the first time. He was everything I hoped he would be in person: super-intelligent, eloquent, polite. Next in the queue is Megan Abbott’s The Fever.

4) What one book do you always recommend when asked?

That’s an impossible question for an author to answer. I tend to recommend authors more than a single book. And my recommendations usually go like this: Daniel Woodrell, Philip Kerr, Megan Abbott, Peter Spiegelman, SJ Rozan … It’s a long list. Each of those authors has at least one or two books that I would recommend as rising above most other novels.

5) Which of your own books would you suggest to readers & why?

Man, you do like asking impossible questions to answer. I’ve written almost twenty novels and except for the first two, I have reasons to recommend any one of them. But if pressed I would say The James Deans from my Moe Prager series. The novel received 6 award nominations including the Edgar and Shamus. It won the Shamus, Barry, and Anthony Awards. And as a stand-alone novel, I would recommend Gun Church, which won the Audie for Best Original Material. It took me five years to write. It was by far the most daring, edgiest, and most ambitious thing I’ve ever tried.

6) Is there a book or author that readers would be surprised to know you’ve read and liked?

No, I don’t think so. Good writing is good writing is good writing.

7) Who is the one author that would, or did, make you weak in the knees upon meeting?

That’s easy. Daniel Woodrell. I made a total fanboy ass of myself. I lost the ability to speak English. He is kind enough not to taunt me about that.

8) Has there been an “I’ve made it” moment in your career?

Several. The nature of any artistic career is very much like a roller coaster. There are times you’re sure you’ve made it only to have the bottom drop out. Me, I’ve had many ups and downs. But now that I’ve signed on with Putnam and the Estate of Robert B. Parker to continue the Jesse Stone series, I think I’ll have a few years of believing I’ve finally made it.

9) What is your greatest literary ambition?

Same as it’s always been: to write the best damn book I can write.

10) Fill in the blank: Hartford Books Examiner is _____.

… the coolest publication I’ve done an interview for in quite some time.

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With thanks to Reed Farrel Coleman for endeavoring to answer the impossible and to Bethany Carland‐Adams Publicity Manager at Tyrus Books, for helping to facilitate this interview.

Don’t forget: For your chance to win a copy of The Hollow Girl, simply email HBE at HartfordBooksExaminer@aol.com by 11:59 PM EST on Friday, May 23rd, and include “Giveaway” in the subject line.

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