In the Mail: fiction edition

–> [amazon-product region=”us” text=”Perforated Heart” type=”text”]1416534091[/amazon-product] by Eric Bogosian

Publishers Weekly

Playwright and actor Bogosian presents in his Rothian third novel the diaries of a once-prominent author embittered by his declining fame. The diary of Richard Morris begins with the writer losing a major award to a lesser talent, his latest book a failure and his agent busying himself with more marketable clients. Death and the prospect of being forgotten hound him, and heart surgery leaves him with a metaphorically convenient scar. Housebound while recovering from the operation and hiding from the affections of his young girlfriend, Richard becomes engrossed in his diaries of 30 years earlier, when he was new to New York City. While these notebooks “reveal what a total idiot” the young writer was, the elder Richard fails to notice how very little has changed. Richard remains a man who mistakes self-destruction for authenticity and is utterly incapable of seeing himself as others see him-which is aggravated when his literary fortunes take a welcome, belated turn and faces from his past show up in the present. Richard is a grade-A bastard, and his rise and fall and rise again exemplifies the often arbitrary and opportunistic machinery of the literary world and operators within it.

–> The Last Testament by Sam Bourne


Israel and Palestine are about to sign a historic peace treaty. When a seemingly unmotivated series of killings puts the treaty in jeopardy, U.S. government peace negotiator Maggie Costello is tasked with finding out what’s going on. She is shocked to learn not only that the victims have been carefully chosen but also that they are being killed to protect a secret that, if it were revealed, could alter the very history of Christianity itself. The book bears a slight similarity to Kathleen McGowan’s The Book of Love (2009), about the purported discovery of a gospel written by Jesus, but this one has stronger political overtones. The avalanche of thrillers involving religious conspiracies—thank you, Da Vinci Code—continues apace, and they range from the excellent to the execrable. Rate this one somewhere nearer the former than the latter, although many readers might find themselves, not long after they finish the book, trying in vain to keep it straight from all the others of a similar ilk.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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