Wednesday, October 24, 2018

David Carlson, Guest Blogger

Today, David Carlson is my guest blogger and author. He's the author of three mysteries featuring
Christopher Worthy, a Detroit police detective, and Father Nicholas Fortis, a Greek Orthodox monk. I reviewed his second book in the series, Let the Dead Bury the Dead, in September 2017,

Now, as to David Carlson's guest post. A couple weeks ago, twelve authors wrote about the libraries they love for an article in The New York Times, Carlson wrote a piece for us about libraries. Thank you, David.


David Carlson

                I think it was Voltaire who wrote that entering a library always humbled him.  Since I was a boy, entering a library has given me a different feeling—excitement.  Perhaps if I’d thought more about it, I would have felt intimidated by all the knowledge stored on the shelves.  But as a boy, I felt a sense of adventure whenever I visited our town’s Carnegie library.  It didn’t matter to me if the adventure was fictional or factual in the books I read. 

                In grade school, I remember being particularly attracted to a series of biographies for young readers.  The covers were all a light orange, and the illustrations were all black silhouettes.  I think I read the entire series, but whether that is true or not, the most important lesson I learned from the series is that a person will likely have to struggle to attain a meaningful life, but such a life is the only one worth pursuing.  That was true whether I was reading a biography of Galileo, Lincoln, Madame Curie, or Helen Keller. 

                In middle school and high school, I dove into historical fiction.  Two books that I remember fondly are Thomas B. Costain’s The Silver Chalice and Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo.  The first is set in the first century of the Christian era, the second in early 19th century France.  Both books were thick and weighty, but that didn’t bother me.  When I opened those pages, I was transported from my northern Illinois hometown, where life seemed so predictable, to the Roman Empire or a dungeon on a Mediterranean island.  Now that was exciting. 

                In my youth, the economic realities of my family meant that traveling overseas wasn’t a possibility.  But that little tan library card in my wallet made it possible for me, using my imagination, to travel all over the world and jump back and forth in time.  Later, in my adult life, when travel became a possibility, I had no difficulty deciding where I wanted to visit.  I traveled to see some of the places I’d read about, and when I did, I felt that I wasn’t seeing those places for the first time but rather revisiting them. 

                When I look in my wallet, I know that I can get by without much that I store there.  Money and credit cards are important, but I have lived happily with little money and without a credit card.  But my library card?  No, I can’t live happily without that.  I feel a chill when I think how under different circumstances I might have grown up unable to read or far from a library.  That would have been a life with little wonder and adventure, a life confined to just the present moment in which I was living. 
I have no doubt that my love affair with books and libraries led me to become a writer.  Given that books were a kind of passport inviting me to travel and encounter new people and cultures from far and near, I began to wonder if I might be able to offer that same experience for others.  When I started to write, I was surprised that I wasn’t intimidated by the prospect.  The blank page didn’t frighten me or frustrate me; instead, I remembered that every book I’d ever read began with a blank page. 

                Were my first attempts at writing worth much?  No, but I felt a thrill just to be trying.  And the more I wrote, the more words and phrases seemed to magically come to mind.  What was the source of that magic?  I’m sure it was all the books I’d read from kindergarten onward.  It was like every word I’d ever read had been deposited in some language bank account, and when I began writing my own books, I could withdraw from that account.

                One of my proudest moments as a writer came in 2011, when Peace Be with You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World (Thomas Nelson) was selected by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2011 in the category of Spiritual Living.  Nothing pleased me more than knowing that, because of this endorsement, my first book would be in libraries across the country. 

                 Now, as I continue to write both fiction and non-fiction, I feel I am giving back to libraries a small portion of what they have given me over a lifetime.       

Thank you, David. And, that series of children's biographies. I read them, too. Yes, The Childhood of Famous Americans series was orange with black silhouettes in the public library I used as well. Wonderful books, weren't they?


The third book in Carlson's series is Let These Bones Live Again. Here's the description of
that book, as it appears in the Web Store for Poisoned Pen Bookstore.    

Allyson Worthy, daughter of the renowned homicide detective Christopher Worthy, always dreamt of living in Venice. Now, as a college student, she's landed a dream internship with the Venice police. She assumes she will be investigating minor crimes perpetrated on gullible American and English tourists. On the first day of her internship, however, Allyson is assigned to assist with a more bizarre case--the apparent suicides of two wealthy Americans in the city. Linking the two persons are their similar cancer diagnoses and strange incisions on their bodies.

The family of the second victim, a Detroit automaker, doubt the suicide verdict and hire Christopher Worthy to look into the death. Allyson's relationship with her father is tenuous, and she resents his intrusion into her dream summer.

After speaking at a conference in Rome, Father Nicholas Fortis is asked by the Vatican to look into the recent theft of relics, bones of saints, from Venetian churches. Father Fortis is happy to offer whatever advice he can to the case Christopher and Allyson Worthy are working on, even as the two Worthys are happy to advise Father Fortis on the stolen relics case.

An unexpected breakthrough reveals a dark undercurrent in the city of canals that changes approaches to both cases. As clues fall into place, Allyson is unexpectedly put in danger as she unknowingly agrees to rendezvous with the killer. 

Book 3 in the Christopher Worthy/Father Fortis Mystery Series.

David Carlson's website is

Let These Bones Live Again by David Carlson. Coffeetown Press, 2018. ISBN 9781603813938 (paperback), 190p.


Anonymous said...

Those biographies 😊We loved them.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

When I was a kid, our library started allowing us to take out a few books for the summer in June, so we didn't have to worry about returning them, which was good for those of us who went to summer camp (or otherwise went away). (You couldn't take new books.) I always looked for fat books to take, and my most successful and favorite choice was one that David mentioned above, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO.

Lesa said...

You're right, Anonymous. Did love those biographies.

Lesa said...

Oh, I like that idea, Jeff. When we went on vacations, my parents allowed us 15 books each, so my sister and I took books that the other person would like, too. But, nothing as fat as The Count of Monte Cristo.

Kay said...

I loved this, Lesa and am glad you featured David and his books. Yes, I'm another that loved those biographies and I remember the orange covers. Bet a lot of us read those books when we were kids.

I'm interested in David's series as well. Will take a look for it - where? Well, first at my library - ha!

Charlotte said...

I have downloaded a sample of David Carlson's first book of this series.
Like Kay, checking my library also.

Lesa, thank you for this interesting article today

Lesa said...

Those biographies were wonderful! They just don't have anything similar today, as far as I can tell. I hope you find his books in the library, Kay.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Charlotte. Good luck in finding his books in your system. Hugs! Talk tomorrow!

Charlotte said...

Lesa, the library didn't work in my favor. Hugs

Lesa said...

Well, darn, Charlotte. I'm sorry.