Up All Night

The trio of authors on stage at "Up All Night" (Event #27) were serious welterweights. By the calculations of Ian Weir, the evening's moderator, Scott Turow, Jo Nesbø and Lisa Moore have sold some 50 million books between them. A number that no doubt increased by a bump after their insightful and candid time on the Performance Works stage last week. 

But the night wasn't spent talking about their bestseller status. Rather the discussion veered towards the authors' own relationships with being pegged as a thriller or mystery writer. 

Moore for example, talked about how with her latest book, Caught, she found herself "writing against the suspense" of the story before she inevitably relented and decided to tell the story the way it was meant to be told: as a thriller. For her, the shift from Canlit powerhouse to thriller writer doesn't bear any examination. It's all one and the same. "People will not turn the page unless tehy want to know what happens next," she told the audience. 

For his part Turow  (described by Time as the "bard of the litigious age") admitted he used to wince whenever people described his books as "legal thrillers". Now, not so much. He eschews high-art low-art distinctions. 

Meanwhile Nesbø never wrestled with being pigeonholed ever, something he credits to the tradition of Scandinavian crime writing in the 1970s that elevated the genre from low to high brow. From the get-go the sparse and deadpan Nesbø knew he wanted to write crime. He explained his work thus: "With a crime novel you work like an illusionist. You make the reader watch your left hand while you do the tirck with your right." 

The take home message? There are two. The first, suspense: It's not a dirty word. The second, if you do want to be kept up all night look no futher than these authors' latest. Every reader is in great hands with these three. As Nesbø told the rapt crowd: "Sit closer. And trust me. I have a really godo story to tell you." 

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