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First look: Alive in Shape and Color

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We’ll be honest. Short stories don’t often set the place on fire here at Crime Fiction Lover. Most readers are more interested in novels and our reviews of anthologies aren’t always very popular. But that wasn’t the case with In Sunlight or In Shadow, the short story collection compiled and edited by New York crime fiction author Lawrence Block last year. The concept was intriguing – 17 short stories, each inspired by a painting by the realist Edward Hopper. A brilliant book and you can read more here.

But first, why not check out Lawrence Block’s latest anthology, Alive in Shape and Color? Once again 17 crime authors are taking inspiration from paintings. This time, however, they aren’t all by a single artist. Instead, the authors were free to select any piece of art from the earliest cave paintings in the Lascaux caves through to the most modern abstract imagery. Participating writers include Lee Child, Thomas Pluck, Jeffery Deaver, Joe R Lansdale, Michael Connelly and Joyce Carol Oates.

We’re not going to spoil it for you and reveal the selections made by all the writers, but you can take a first look below to get a flavour of this brilliant follow-up. It’s out 5 December and you can pre-order a copy here for £20.99 as a hardback.


Nothing’s more fitting than Michale Connelly’s selection of Panel Three from Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. After all, Harry Bosch is named after the 15th century Dutch artist.


Carol Joyce Oates chose Les Beaux Jours as the inspiration for her contribution. Before you balk at the price of this novel, note that not many crime novels are printed in full colour.


We love the debossed type on the bright and glossy dust jacket, which depicts Magritte’s surrealist artwork Gaslight.


Lawrence Block wonders what could be done as an encore after In Sunlight or In Shadow.


The title page includes a bonus painting…


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