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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Introducing J. Michael Orenduff

You've just finished a great book and now you feel a little sad. What will you read next? You're favorite author A. won't have another book out for a year B. is long dead and you've already read her books...twice.

I love discovering new authors, especially those who have written books that deserve the same attention as the best-sellers out there but are still under the radar for some reason or other.

I've read the authors I recommend, so you won't have to pick up a book cold and wonder if you're in for the ride of your life or another wasted afternoon. It's my little gift to you.

That brings me to J. Michael Orenduff. I discovered his "Pot Thief" series through another fine author I know, MM Gornell. For those who are worried about content, the pots referred to in the titles are artifcats, not marijuana.

Each book centers around pot thief Herbie Shuze. Herbie's technically a thief because the Archeological Resources Protection Act turned treasure hunters into law breakers. Herbie doesn't have the nerve to be a real thief...unless it's for a good cause.

Orenduff also weaves a scientific theory into each book. The first novel is "The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagorus", and the second is "The Pot Thief Who Studied Ptolemy".

Before you shriek, "Science, ewwww!", Orenduff weaves each theory throughout the story in an entertaining way that is the envy of high school science teacher's. You won't need a dictionary to make it through the book. I promise.

His characters are fun, and he resists making Herbie's best friend, permenent college student Susannah, into a love interest. Wise move. We get to enjoy their clever interplay without worrying if sex will ruin the series. (Remember when Moonlighting stopped being funny?)

I interviewed Orendoff for Writers in Residence and you can read it here.

Both books in the series were great reads, and I look forward to the release of "The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein".

If forced to catagorized them, I would say his books are traditional mysteries with humor. You won't be grossed out. You won't be bored. You might be hungry and find yourself longing to see the beauty of New Mexico.

If you want to get a feel for his writing style (and I always check that out before I buy a book) his website includes excerps from his released books and those waiting for release.

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