Books: Amateurs

Four nonprofessional delights

Practically everyone thinks he has a novel within him, if only there were time to get it down on paper. Mercifully, most would-be authors never get beyond the stage of boring friends, acquaintances and airplane seatmates. Of those who do write, rather than just talking about it, few possess the tale teller's gift, the capacity to invent or recall events in a way that makes them seem significant to outsiders. Fewer still have the discipline to master a new craft. But four worthy current novels, all thrillers or mysteries, display just such painstaking effort by men better known for nonliterary achievements....

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