...The first is "The Contrary Blues," (St. Martin's Press) by Portola Valley-ite John Billheimer. It's a detective novel with a unique twist on character.
In most detective books, the central figure is someone who makes things happen. Billheimer's Owen Allison is a man to whom things happen.
I'm a big fan of the detective novel (Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Block, Walter Mosley), and Billheimer's debut has all the right elements--good characters, sharp dialogue and an intriguing mystery at the heart of it all.
Billheimer's book can be found in local stores.
mmmmmmmmmm...San Francisco Chronicle