Author Archives: D. H. Schleicher

About D. H. Schleicher

I am an independent novelist, blogger and film enthusiast from the South Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia.

What Have YOU Been Reading This Summer?

Summer is a great time for catching up on reading.  This summer has seemed endless to me, as have some of the novels I’ve devoured during these lazy, hazy days.

Check out what I’ve been reading:

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/my-summer-with-graham-kurt-and-william/

…and feel free to share what you’ve read this summer–other than Harry Potter!

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The Twists Keep Coming

Last month, my novel The Thief Maker was featured by “Book of the Moment.”  The novel was yet again praised for its shocking plot twists and multiple-point-of-view style of storytelling:

full of twists and turns, July 3, 2007

By  book.of.the.moment “reviewer” (USA) – See all my reviews

I finished reading “The Thief Maker” about an hour ago, and since then have been turning over in my mind ways to go about adequately summarizing and reviewing this book…its a twisted complex story and therefore, tricky to effectively summarize in a brief way.

The characters in this story intertwine in a way that leaves me at a loss for words. Like I said, its complex, and very twisted. Through the whole story I kept shaking my head…I knew there was a kick coming, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. And when it did come, it was like a slap in the face, and suddenly all the actions and motivations of all the characters became crystal clear.

“The Thief Maker” is a story about losing your identity and struggling to find redemption and revenge in a cold harsh world. The characters are fatally flawed and at the same time, tragically endearing. While they possess characteristics that are far from admirable, a reader can’t help but identify with them — be it through sympathy, empathy or downright admiration. I enjoyed this book from the first page.

The story is told through alternating characters, and sort of jumps back and forth in time. Through the alternating time settings we are filled in on the childhoods and pasts of the present day characters we are following. The chapters in the past help set the tone for the characters’ overall personality and motivations–and will leave you shaking your head at times. While the story is told in both alternate times and through alternate perspectives, it is an easy one to follow, and you’ll soon be caught up in its pages.

Learn more about BOOK OF THE MOMENT by visiting:

http://www.myspace.com/book_of_the_moment

Purchase The Thief Maker from Barnes and Noble

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POSTED BY D. H. SCHLEICHER

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com

 

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Reviewer Magazine Lives through The Thief Maker

 

The Thief Maker A Novel by D.H. Schleicher (iUniverse Press)

Review by Kent Manthie for Reviewer Magazine

It’s been said that the events of September 11, 2001 forever altered America in profound ways as well as the individual psyches of its people. Most Americans, but especially those who were directly affected, can chart their lives as “before 9/11” and “after 9/11”, using it as an ugly milestone to put other, tangential things in perspective.

Some people had their lives turned upside down and were forever altered by 9/11 and others who were thousands of miles away were also affected, those images having been seared onto the consciousness of millions of TV viewers.

Now that we’re a ‘safe’ distance from the actual event, six years on, there have been a couple movies, lots of non-fiction books, websites, tons of commemorative this and special issues of that as well as that horrible made-for-TV travesty last year, not to mention the legions of conspiracy buffs who’ve made their neuroses a cottage industry.

If anything positive emerged out of the mountain of dreck that 9/11 spawned it was the third novel by one D.H. Schleicher, entitled “The Thief Maker”, an inventive, stylistically nihilistic novel that uses the events of September 11, 2001 as a backdrop and even then in the latter half of the book. It’s only on the peripheries that the realities of that day interpolate, making bad situations worse or complicating matters further, but nonetheless it’s an essential element of the novel.

“The Thief Maker” jumps back and forth, from the mid-1980s to the 1990s, up to the present and even into the future – as far forward as 2008. It may sound confusing but when one is immersed in the novel it actually works quite well as a literary device.

Seemingly disparate sets of highly complex people are introduced and their character traits are developed in front of our eyes only to slowly morph into something unexpected; there’s a thread that connects these people, they all seem to be intertwined in this intricate web of humanity. The characters in the novel are all so vividly portrayed and developed so well that you come to not only visualize them in your head while reading the book but you begin to feel like you know them.

There is William Donovan, the con man whose past is never far behind him; Felice Morrison, the cold as ice lesbian psychiatrist who grows up to hate humanity and for whom love and hate are interchangeable, Frank Morrison’s a man with a secret past and a dark future. Looming above it all, haunting everyone in the story is the recently deceased Marie Gail, a hopeless young junkie with AIDS whose hate was so strong that it contaminated those around her. She died in a lonely, dark rage from the pneumonia not uncommon to those with AIDS. Marie left behind Rex, a young son who was initially taken away from Marie in her days of heroin addiction and general bad craziness, which leads us to the foster parents that take care of Rex for a few years until shortly before her death, Catherine and Rodames Fowler, two psychologists who are doing a long-term experiment with their deaf children in psycholinguistics and into which Rex had been enveloped. Marie had gotten clean and with Felice, her lover, won back custody of the boy and together they lived as much like a normal family as they could for the short time they had before Marie succumbed to her disease. Just before she died, Marie had asked Felice to take care of Rex, to raise him as if he was her own. Felice willingly accepts this responsibility and agrees to adopt him as a final act of love for Marie before she dies. This is all so complicated and I’m afraid there’s much more but instead, you’d better just read the book.

Towards the end all bets are off and suddenly the “post-9/11 world” has turned into Bedlam and realities are getting destroyed left and right; things aren’t as they seem, they never are. The climactic buildup is a shrieking anxious ride that gets thick with complexity and before you know it you’re being hit in the head with a dynamite denouement. I won’t spoil things by describing it any further, but let me just say that you’re in for some rollercoaster-style twists and turns.

You know, originally, I wasn’t really in the mood for having to read another book – I’m already juggling three books as it is and so, when they gave me “The Thief Maker” to review I didn’t look forward to reading it. I went into the book with an unenthusiastic drudgery and I wanted to hate the thing just for being made to read it. Nevertheless, I kept on and while I never thought Schleicher’s writing was without great style or that the clarity and precision wasn’t there I was just – oh, I don’t know…I mean, at first the book wasn’t what I’d call a “page-turner” but when I got to the midway point the excitement was turned up a couple notches and pretty soon I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I can’t tell you exactly what sort of action makes it pick up because that would spoil much of the plot – I probably shouldn’t have even said that; therefore, you’d better just go buy the book to find out.

I thought D.H. Schleicher wonderfully captured a lot of nuances surrounding modern-day American living spot-on. He brings these characters to life; I found myself really identifying with characters; I really felt emotional about them, amazed by some and hating others, empathizing with some of them too and disgusted by others. Schleicher draws the reader into this smartly crafted parallel universe – one that is remarkably like our own world. The action takes place between Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey and even [banjo music playing] takes a detour down to North Carolina for a spell.

It was hard to tell at first where the story was going to go; whether it’d be to a boring, clichéd neighborhood from which you’d want to exit ASAP or a fabulous world where you want to stay around as long as you can. The latter was the case for “The Thief Maker”; in fact, I purposely took my time reading this novel. I didn’t want to flip through this too quickly; it’s only 214 pages, easy to read, not at all verbally confusing or convoluted in its prose. Mystery man, Dave Schleicher, who graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in psychology in 2002, seems to have found his voice, developed a style of his own; it’s not an ostentatious one, though; the book reads quite easily, smoothly, not too rough or stilted, making the storyline roll along with no bumps or obstacles, no extraneous riff-raff built up throughout the paragraphs either, making the basic story stick out that much more. Schleicher’s currently living in Voorhees, New Jersey, where he takes time out to smell the roses between writing binges. He also keeps a pretty regular web log at http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com – check it out, there are plenty of things to read: reviews, opinion pieces and so on.

What with the hot season coming up, “The Thief Maker” would be a great addition to your summer reading list. Check out the publisher’s website:. http://www.iuniverse.com – KM.

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Reviewer Magazine has been covering the cutting-edge of the music scene, idependent film, and books since 1996 from their home offices in San Diego, CA.  They have a circulation of over 10,000 in the U.S. and Canada.  For more, check out:

www.reviewermag.com

Purchase The Thief Maker from Barnes and Noble

Purchase The Thief Maker from Amazon.com

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Buzz Building for THE THIEF MAKER

I am reposting the following from my official blog:

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com

I am including it here at the Book’s Den as an invite for anyone with a book club in the Philadelphia/South Jersey region that enjoys mysteries/suspense/pyschological thrillers.  I, David H. Schleicher, would be willing to entertain any offer to come meet with a local group in this area to sign copies and discuss my novel The Thief Maker.  Feel free to contact me through the Book’s Den or my official blog.

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HOT NEWS!

Upon just arriving home from vacation (stay tuned for an upcoming travel log), I’ve learned that THE THIEF MAKER is now “in-stock” at some additional Barnes & Noble locations in the greater Philadelphia area.

In addition to being in stock and on the shelves at the Marlton and Moorestown, New Jersey locations, steady sales mean my novel will now also be in stock at the Deptford, New Jersey location and also in the Philadelphia and Valley Forge locations in Pennsylvania.  If you go to any of these locations to pick up a copy and they are out of stock, tell them to order more.  It means a local author is selling and they should jump on the bandwagon.

Thanks to all who are helping my grass-roots campaign to turn THE THIEF MAKER into a success!  If you are among those who live in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area and have not been able to purchase a copy because you prefer not to shop on-line, now you have no reason not to get a copy!

A Novel

An ambitious, intricately structured novel that resonates with emotion and suspense,” heralds Daniel Jolley, an Amazon.com Top 50 Reviewer.

“Schleicher has done a good job of creating a mystery that is mysterious, thought-provoking, entertaining, and sometimes shocking,” hails Joe Graham from ReaderViews.com.

Purchase Now from Barnes and Noble

Purchase Now from Amazon.com

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Another Rave Review for THE THIEF MAKER

Daniel Jolley, an Amazon.com Top 50 Reviewer, calls The Thief Maker, “An ambitious, intricately structured novel that resonates with emotion and suspense.”

An ambitious, intricately structured novel that resonates with emotion and suspense, April 18, 2007

Reviewer: Daniel Jolley “darkgenius” (Shelby, North Carolina USA) –

See all my reviews

D.H. Schleicher has given us quite an intricate story of mystery and intrigue with The Thief Maker. This is not a whodunit, and it does not follow the kind of straightforward narration of your typical mystery. Actions and events are not the true focus of this novel; they merely reflect and determine the natures of the personal relationships established among all of the important characters. The author has really taken a psychological approach to telling this story, showing us different pieces of the puzzle from many different angles. Adopting a multiple viewpoints approach, Schleicher provides the reader with glimpses of the world through various eyes caught up in a series of events that seem fated to end badly.

The novel is ostensibly about William Donovan, a con man stooping so low as to rob Alzheimer’s patients inside a nursing home. With the help of his girlfriend Alice, who works at the nursing home, and the purchased silence of security guard Lucas Tolliver, it is almost as easy as stealing candy from a baby. That story is only a small part of the novel, however, and I wouldn’t even call William the main character, although the demons he has fought ever since the utter breakup of his family when he was a child prove a driving force in everything that transpires. For me, though, the heart and soul of The Thief Maker is a child named Rex Gail. In one sense, Rex represents all of the main characters, individuals trying to make sense of lives that have become far too complicated and have included more than their share of trauma. Rex was born with AIDS to a mother who gave him up after birth. He spent his earliest years with psychologist foster parents communicating through sign language instead of his own voice. Then his mother Marie cleans up her act, gets custody of Rex, and takes him to live with Felice, her new lesbian partner. When Marie dies of AIDS, she leaves Rex with Felice for all the wrong reasons. William eventually enters the boy’s life and becomes something of a foster father to him (albeit a pretty unreliable one), ultimately introducing even more chaos in to the young lad’s unfortunate life.

If you were to draw a diagram of the links between all of the major characters in this book, you might end up with something looking like modern art. These are sets of seeming strangers who have profound links to one another that gradually surface – sometimes in rather shocking fashion – as events unfold. You have, for example, a young lady who discovers, as a young adult, that her sister and mother are not what they have always claimed to be. Then there’s a family that falls apart, against the backdrop of the 9/11 attacks no less, when a deadly emotional bombshell is dropped at the feet of the mother. The husband and daughter, as it turns out, are intimately connected with William’s past, playing a crucial part in his childhood separation from the rest of his family. Mucking up the waters even more is a detective who sort of plays two sets of characters against one another and becomes a major part of one of the novel’s most shocking surprises (and this is a book full of shocking surprises). With so many links emerging among so many characters, and with the author telling the story in a nonsequential manner, you really have to pay attention to what you’re reading. I sometimes had to pause and go over the cast of characters in my head in order to truly understand the consequences of certain revelations. This may sound like a wild daytime soap opera, but rest assured that Schleicher keeps everything real and gritty, leaving you awestruck by the depth of the misfortune that these people have had to endure.

Needless to say, you won’t find the words “and they lived happily ever after” on the last page of The Thief Maker, although a measure of peace does finally prevail in the end. The conclusion is a tight and fitting one, and I think Schleicher deserves some real literary kudos for pulling that off. With most mysteries, you get the big “reveal” scene at the end, and you basically forget about what you just read as soon as you put the book down. The Thief Maker, though, hangs around in your mind, percolating with its pathos and all of its insights into human relationships.

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Ready to meet your Maker?  Steal a copy of The Thief Maker…

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In Humble Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” – Kurt Vonnegut (November 11, 1922-April 11, 2007)

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2007/04/13/novelist-kurt-vonnegut-dies-at-84/

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To Cross or Not to Cross?

To cross or not to cross? That is the question for today. Bookcrossing.com has become one of the more popular “sharing” sites for books.

According to thier website, bookcrossing is defined as follows:

bookcrossing
n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

(added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in August 2004)

They actively promote a program called ‘The Three R’s.”

The “3 Rs” of BookCrossing…

  1. Read a good book (you already know how to do that)
  2. Register it here (along with your journal comments), get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number), and label the book
  3. Release it for someone else to read (give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, “forget” it in a coffee shop, etc.), and get notified by email each time someone comes here and records a journal entry for that book. And if you make Release Notes on the book, others can Go Hunting for it and try to find it!

Many authors and publishers fear losing royalties if too many readers practice this.  They imagine a world where hundreds of readers are passing along one copy of their book, instead of each of those individuals going to a store and buying a copy.

As a self-published author, I know the key to success is to build strong word-of-mouth, and what better way to do so then through giving away free copies of your book?  I personally have registered and released a dozen copies of my novel The Thief Maker into the wild, and encourage friends, family, and readers to do the same.  I have also donated copies to local libraries and used book stores.  The idea that this type of practice robs us of royalties is ridiculous.  For me, it’s about finding readers and connecting with their minds, not their wallets.  Plus, it spreads good karma, as Bookcrossing says…and who knows…some of those who find the free copies you release and like the idea or like the book might encourage others to go out and buy it.

Releasing a book into the wild does involve a little bit of strategy on your part.  Leaving a book behind at a Barnes & Noble cafe table is probably a better idea than releasing a book on a park bench in the dead of winter.  You have to get into the mind of a potential reader.  Where might readers be congregating, and where might a “lost book” catch someone’s attention? 

The one catch to Bookcrossing.com is that the person who finds the book has to register on the site to be able to leave an entry stating they found the book, and some people might not bother doing that.  This means people could be reading and passing along the book without your knowledge.  It makes it difficult to measure the true success of such a practice.  So far, there’s only been one confirmed “catch” of The Thief Maker.  I personally like the “mystery” aspect of the process and enjoy imagining others finding the books and simply never registering.

What other ways can you spread word-of-mouth and build “the karma of literature?”  Are there other sites like Bookcrossing.com that promote similar practices?  Are there other revolutionary ideas out there that could help writers find an audience?  Feel free to respond and share!

www.bookcrossing.com

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David H. Schleicher, author of The Thief Maker

http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com

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