Sylvia on Mysteries, Thrillers, and More

Conspiracy of Silence by Gledé Browne Kabongo

Conspiracy of Silence by Gledé Browne Kabongo

From the beginning, Gledé Browne Kabongo’s Conspiracy of Silence grips you with a big question: What is Nina Kasai hiding? Why would this beautiful, successful executive—an Ivy League graduate—deceive her loving husband and her best friend? And what is the real identity of the blackmailer who threatens to upend Nina’s life if she defies his

Art Immersion: Photographs of Chihuly Artwork

Art Immersion: Photographs of Chihuly Artwork

After spending my time writing most weekday mornings and early afternoons, I find myself craving physical reality. When I can pull myself away from my desk, I like to head to Marshalls or TJ Maxx to touch the clothes, the furniture, the delicate, colorful porcelain, towels, soft blankets, and the kitchen gadgets. When I have extra cash in my pocket, I’ll treat myself to a little personal something.

The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins

The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins

When the Moonstone, the legendary yellow diamond and crowning jewel of the Hindu god of the Moon is gifted to young  Rachel Verinder, and stolen that same night, the first detective in western literature, Sergeant Cuff, investigates the theft.What makes this seemingly unsolvable jewel heist different from any other? By contrast to his literary heirs, Christie and Doyle, Collins

Light in August (1932) by William Faulkner

Light in August (1932) by William Faulkner

After suffering through As I Lay Dying in college I had decided that I would never again read William Faulkner (WF). For years after, whenever I chanced across a WF novel I would wonder why people read him. I thought he was just too malevolent. Three or four years ago, I happened upon an old copy

The Valley of Fear (1915) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Valley of Fear (1915) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 Why post about The Valley of Fear (VoF), the fourth and last Sherlock Holmes novel, and not A Study in Scarlett, his first. Or The Hound of the Baskervilles his most famous? Simply because VoF is so scary, with a hunk of a main character, (not Holmes), with such spectacular twists, that I want you

Death Comes As The End (1944) by Agatha Christie

Death Comes As The End (1944) by Agatha Christie

Foolish patriarch, Imhotep, is ka-priest of the Meriptah tomb in ancient Egypt. When his young concubine, Nofret, turns him against his grown children they rise up against her. Multiple murders follow. Who is doing all the killing and why? The love story that unfolds alongside the “investigation” adds to the mystery and provides the reader

Time Envy

Time Envy

I’m not an envious person. I don’t pine for others’ bigger homes, fatter bank accounts, or personal beauty. I don’t even envy other writer’s book deals, or the success they’ve had selling their books. I figure the world is mine to win. If I want something, I just have to work hard to get it.

The Sixth Man by David Baldacci

The Sixth Man by David Baldacci

Private detectives Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are called to Maine by King’s mentor, attorney Ted Bergin, to consult on a case involving serial killer Edgar Roy who is being held in the “only federal maximum security institution for the criminally insane in the country.” Sean and Michelle—both formerly in the secret service —soon find themselves embroiled in

Classic vs. Modern Fiction

Classic vs. Modern Fiction

Much of my fiction reading until recently had been centered on classic novels. Why? My sensibilities are old school in that things like depravity and true malevolence hit me hard. The trend in fiction since the 1960’s seems to be toward the depiction of more and more malevolence. Crimes against women and children, for example, are written about

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Before you tackle this heart-wrenching and chilling book I suggest you inoculate yourself with a little pep talk that sounds something like this: “This is not the way most people live. Most people are good. Most kids turn out fine. Living is a gift to be cherished.” Etc. etc. Based on the Columbine killings of

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Mystery thriller The Woman in White was written by one of my favorite writers, Wilkie Collins (1824-1889).  The Woman in White (1860) and The Moonstone (1868) are Collins’ best known works. The poet T.S. Eliot famously said that The Moonstone is “the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels…in a genre