Mike Shea

Articles by Mike Shea

David Liss

Jun 30, 2009 By Mike Shea

The San Antonio author has exhibited an impressive sense of worldliness with his literary mysteries, the settings of which range from seventeenth-century Amsterdam to twentieth-century Florida. The Devil’s Company, his sixth novel, returns to eighteenth-century London, where pugilist-turned-PI Benjamin Weaver—who first appeared in A Conspiracy of Paper and later…

The Crack in the Lens

Jun 30, 2009 By Mike Shea

It took four novels for Steve Hockensmith to steer his sleuthing ranch hand brothers, Gustav “Old Red” and Otto “Big Red” Amlingmeyer, to Texas, but the budding town of San Marcos circa 1893 proves a fine fit for The Crack in the Lens and its unpretentious brand of…

Zac Crain

May 31, 2009 By Mike Shea

The former music editor for the Dallas Observer was just another Texas teen when metal rockers Pantera emerged from Arlington in the nineties and went on to sell millions of records and concert tickets worldwide. In BLACK TOOTH GRIN: THE HIGH LIFE, GOOD TIMES, AND TRAGIC END OF “DIMEBAG” DARRELL…

Ignore Everybody (and 39 Other Keys to Creativity)

May 31, 2009 By Mike Shea

In the West Texas town of Alpine, Hugh MacLeod writes Gaping Void, a cheeky blog he launched in August 2001 with the deadpan tagline “Cartoons Drawn on the Back of Business Cards.” Now a 13,000-word essay from the Web site has spawned his first book, Ignore Everybody (and…

The Exchange-Rate Between Love and Money

May 31, 2009 By Mike Shea

First published in England in 2008, The Exchange-Rate Between Love and Money is the kind of inventive, intelligent fiction that now deserves to make a splash stateside for Dallas-bred Thomas Leveritt. Set in Sarajevo circa 2002, it is a sly, tragicomic exploration of commerce, politics, and romance in…

How to Sell

May 31, 2009 By Mike Shea

Rookie novelist Clancy Martin displays a veteran’s savvy when he grabs the reader on the opening page of How to Sell: “The first time I considered jewelry was the morning I stole my mother’s wedding ring. It was white gold. A hundred-year-old Art Nouveau band with eleven diamonds.”…

SQUINT: My Journey With Leprosy

Apr 30, 2009 By Mike Shea

An interview with José P. Ramirez Jr. After being diagnosed in 1968 with Hansen’s disease—more commonly known as leprosy—at the age of twenty, Ramirez was taken from his hometown of Laredo to a leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, then the only such facility in North America. In SQUINT: MY JOURNEY WITH…


Apr 30, 2009 By Mike Shea

One year before moving into a small cabin near Walden Pond, 26-year-old Henry David Thoreau accidentally started a fire in Concord Woods that destroyed nearly three hundred acres. In his debut novel, Woodsburner, Austinite John Pipkin identifies that 1844 conflagration as a likely catalyst for Thoreau’s retreat from…

Nobody Move

Apr 30, 2009 By Mike Shea

Having won the National Book Award for 2007’s fever-dreamed Tree of Smoke, former Texas State professor Denis Johnson does a 180 with Nobody Move, a slim but engaging caper novel. Where his previous effort was literarily complex and fraught with geopolitics, the current offering is straight-up crime fiction.

Rupert Isaacson

Mar 31, 2009 By Mike Shea

After their two-year-old son, Rowan, was diagnosed with autism in 2004, the author and his wife, Kristin, struggled with the challenge of finding effective treatment for an incontinent, uncommunicative child given to intractable tantrums. The Horse Boy: A father’s quest to heal his son tells of their journey to…