His first, BLOWN AWAY, was named the nation's best mystery debut by RT Book Reviews (which will feature him on www.rtbookreviews.com starting July 6) and has been translated into German, Turkish, Slovakian, and two forms of Chinese: traditional and simplified. The series continued with CUT TO THE BONE, and now, TORN APART.
Shane is chairman of ThrillerFest 2010, a founding member of International Thriller Writers, and a member of Mystery Writers of America.
He lives with Jerrle, his wife of 31 years, in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, where his series is set and is also home to noted crime-fighter Dick Tracy.
Shane invites you to visit him at www.shanegericke.com, where the words are hot and the drinks are cold. Albeit digital.
WONDER WOMAN LOSES HER CLEAVAGE
by Shane Gericke
Thanks for inviting me into your digital home, Kaye. It's a privilege to be here. Because of the erudition and intelligence of the people who read you, I thought I'd begin my essay with a detailed analysis of the past pluperfect gerunds found in Tolstoy's grand romp through the absurdities of Czarist politics, SNOW JOB, DA. Then, if I had space, I thought we'd all diagram this sentence from James Joyce's ULYSSES:
"In ward wary the watcher hearing come that man mildhearted eft rising with swire ywimpled to him her gate wide undid. Lo, levin leaping lightens in eyeblink Ireland's westward welkin. Full she dread that God the Wreaker all mankind would fordo with water for his evil sins. Christ's rood made she on breastbone and him drew that he would rathe infare under her thatch. That man her will wotting worthful went in Horne's house."
Fun! Particularly the "Christ's rood on her thatch" part, which sounds deliciously naughty but is surely a literary allusion to the Bible or Stonehenge or something.
But then I thought, "Aw, #$%^&, who am I fooling? We wanna talk about Wonder Woman!"
And so . . .
Did you hear they've changed Wonder Woman's looks? It's true. In the latest edition of the long-running comic-book series (No. 600, for those keeping track), young huntress Diana Prince--aka, Wonder Woman, shazam!--loses her cannonball cleavage and butt-huggin' shorts. Instead, she's remade into Corporate Woman, kablam! Complete with long, black tights, a blue-black jacket, contrasting yellow accessories, and sensible navy shoes instead of the thigh-high red boots of old. No more red-white-and-blue lingerie for the world's most recognizable female crime-fighter!
Not only recognizable, but long-lasting. The DC Comics superheroine first appeared in December, 1941--right about the time Japan bombed Pearl Harbor--in All Star Comics No. 8. She's one of only three DC superheroes to be continuously published since DC began, the other two being Superman and Batman. (For a fuller discussion of her roots and symbolism, click on this Wikipedia entry.) She's worn the same outfit since the beginning, so the change was overdue.
But I sigh nonetheless. I loved Wonder Woman growing up, and not just for the (lack of) clothing. She was a feminist long before Helen Reddy sang "I Am Woman, Here Me Roar." She kicked bad-guy booty all over the world. She was strong and tough and powerful and had that golden lasso that forced people to tell the truth. She was smart and gutsy and rolled with the punches. She talked back to authority. She took crap from no one. Everything that women of the era were not allowed to do.
Yeah, her getup was sexist--in a 2006 interview about her work on the series, the novelist Jodi Picoult said: “One of the first things I did was ask if we could give her breast-reduction surgery, because as a woman, I know you wouldn’t fight crime in a bustier. But I was somehow shot down by DC.” Uh, yeah, no kidding. It's comic books, not Proust! Nothing about comics is PC. Superman had that big ol' bulge Down There. Batman lived with his, uh, "young ward" Robin--boy wonder indeed! WW's attire grabbed millions of eyeballs, which sold lots of comics, which was the entire point of the drill. The great side benefit was that generations of children saw that girls could do great superhero-y things just like boys. And it was Good.
Bad lingerie included. Uber-feminist Gloria Steinem liked the getup so much--it symbolized Something Important, she said, though I don't recall what--that when DC tried to alter the costume back in the '80s, Steinem raised enough hell through her Ms. magazine that they changed it back to the Frederick's of Hollywood look we all worshipped.
But time marches on and sensibilities grow too urgent to deny. Thus, the makeover:
“She’s been locked into pretty much the exact same outfit since her debut in 1941,” J. Michael Straczynski, the new writer of the series, told the New York Times. He also altered her birth history, from Amazonian to something more modern. “If you’re going to make a statement about bringing Wonder Woman into the 21st century, you need to be bold and you need to make it visual. I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility.”
He's right, of course. This change is sensible, and good, and way overdue. We beat the Nazis and and Japan and the Commies so the red-white-blue scheme is a fossil (albeit sexy!) of Cold War muscle-flexing. And La Wonder will still kick bad-guy booty all over the universe.
But the little Shane inside me still sighs for the bowling-ball chest and tighty-tights.
MY NEWEST THRILLER: TORN APART
(and the gentlemen who were kind enough to blurb about it - Jeffery Deaver and Lee Child; two of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet).
The proprietress of this space has been very kind in telling folks on the Internet that that my new thriller, TORN APART, launches worldwide this week.
It's the third in my cops-vs.-psychos series starring tough cops Emily Thompson (my own little Wonder Woman, but in police blue, not red-white-and) and Martin Benedetti. I really liked how this story turned out. It's exciting as hell, and the romance between Em and Marty is balanced nicely by the crashing mayhem of the murders, explosions, car chases, kidnaps, aircraft crashes, bombs, bullets and knives. The bad guys are real bastards, and you'll enjoy how Emily and Marty deal with them. And, there's cop jokes! I put an excerpt on my website, www.shanegericke.com, and I invite y'all to come over and read. Buying links are there too, and I'd be pleased if you bought a copy at the recession-friendly price of $6.99. It's also available as an e-book: Kindle, Nook and more.
What Kaye didn't tell you because she's too modest is that I named a character after her. That's right, our own Kaye Barley is a crime-fightin' radio dispatcher. She appears in a number of important scenes, complete with that adorable haircut and those dangly-thingies she loves to put on her ears.
I did this to honor one of the world's most avid and erudite lovers and bloggers of books, one who is so supportive of us everyday writers that it tickles me to be mentioned in the same space as her. So Wonder Woman, this character's for you! May you kick bad-guy booty wherever you go.
To the rest of you, thanks for reading this essay, and I hope you like my book.
Now get cracking on diagramming that James Joyce sentence. Call me when you're done . . .
P.S. To celebrate the launch of TORN APART, I've created a contest starring our very own writer of fine Irish crime fiction, Ken Bruen! He's a dear friend, and as supportive of fellow writers as anyone could possibly ask. This is my salute to Ken and his marvelous style of writing: Prose so tight and lean that it fairly drips with poetry.
Here's how the contest works: I wrote one entire chapter in Ken's dark, highly poetic style. You can't miss it; the style is very different from my norm. (But fits the mood of the chapter perfectly.) I'll award an Advance Reader Copy of TORN APART to the first reader who sends me the correct chapter number. Then, I'll draw four names from everyone who sent in the correct chapter number, and send those four people ARCs too. It's a cool prize; only 100 of these full-color Advance Review Copies exist on Planet Earth. I had them printed special, for magazine reviewers whose long lead times require copies of the book months before my publisher hooks them on the printing press. When these ARCs are gone, there ain't no more nowhere except the ones in your hot little hands. So buy the book, find the chapter, send me the chapter number--it's right there on top of the chapter--and you could win something cool. I'll even sign to you personally. Send your answer via my website, www.shanegericke.com; my contact page is right there on the home page. Here's hoping you win!
Employees of Shane Gericke Worldwide are not eligible to enter. Which means, uh, me, since I'm the only one. Makes me sound important, though, that "Worldwide," doesn't it?