Author

Jordan Foster

Jordan Foster has 43 articles published.

Jordan is a freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon, after spending six years in NYC for college and graduate school (where she earned her MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia) before realizing that her heart belonged in the Pacific Northwest. She (hopefully) puts that degree to good use writing for BookTrib and Publishers Weekly about the vast quantity of books she reads. While Jordan’s literary diet is largely crime fiction—as she was raised, often literally, in Portland’s only mystery bookstore—she’s perfectly content to read novels and nonfiction that lack a murder because good writing transcends labels. Follow her on Twitter @jordanfoster13.

#FridayFlashback : The JFK Files, What’s Left to Know?

in Non-Fiction by

As we await the release of the remaining documents on the JFK assassination investigation and peruse the few pages that have been released, we have gone back through the BookTrib archives and found an interesting piece that asks the one question everyone is hoping the files will reveal: “What is left to know?” This piece from 2013 is certainly fitting for a #FridayFlashback and interesting to boot. “Once upon a time” is how fairy tales begin. Most of the time they end with the prince (maybe he used to be a frog or a particularly arrogant member of the royal family) and the princess (sometimes she had an unfortunate penchant for fruit or severe sleep issues) living happily ever after.…

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Books for TV Addicts: Last stop, Harlan County

in Fiction by

Just because FX’s Justified recently wrapped after six seasons, there’s no reason to pack your bags and leave Harlan County, Kentucky. When people like Raylan Givens, Boyd Crowder, and Ava Crowder—not to mention the show’s fantastic supporting cast of miscreants and gunslingers—come into your life, they’re here to stay. Justified, based on award-winning crime writer Elmore Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole,” follows the exploits of U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant) as he doles out justice in his hometown of Harlan County, deep in Kentucky. His nemesis—and sometime ally—is Crowder, who commits nearly every crime one can imagine, and then some. Ava is the woman who loves them both and that they both, at various times,…

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The truth really is out there

in Fiction by

For legions of fans, all it took to keep the faith alive was a poster, growing dusty and tattered over the years, with a now-iconic image of a UFO and the familiar phrase: “I Want to Believe.” Now, 13 years after going off the air in 2002, renegade FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully—the believer and the skeptic—are coming back in six new episodes of The X-Files. Sure, there were two forays on to the big screen, 1998’s The X-Files: Fight the Future and 2008’s The X-Files: I Want to Believe (most true X-Philes actually want to forget about that second one), but fans have waited for over a decade to see Mulder and Scully back where they belong—chasing…

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I’ll have a peanut butter and pickle sandwich, please!

in Non-Fiction by

From a cyanide-laced cocktail to a soothing cup of teeth and a biscuit (the British kind, of course) after a long day at the office, food, drink, and crime fiction are intertwined. Miss Marple, one of the genre’s most recognizable heroines, is estimated to have consumed a whopping 143 cups of tea over the course of 12 Agatha Christie novels and 20 short stories. This is just one of the delicious factoids you can learn in The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, edited by Kate White, and featuring a selection of dishes—and drinks—from some of the biggest names in the mystery world. And if that doesn’t quell your appetite, be sure to check out Cooking with Crimespree, edited by Jon…

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How novels have scored with Oscar voters since the beginning

in Fiction by

With Oscar night fast approaching, the usual questions fill the air as film junkies scramble to fill out their mock ballots. Will Boy(hood) or Bird(man) triumph on Sunday? The real votes are already cast so only the Academy (and those people with the steel briefcases from Price Waterhouse Cooper) know for sure. But sometimes it’s fun to look back at Oscar history to try to gauge trends, particularly for people who, when they’re not watching movies, can usually be found reading books. Since the Oscars began in 1927, 36 Best Picture winners have been adapted from novels, short stories, or novellas. Now, before you start arguing about specifics, here’s how that count was determined: plays (sorry, Shakespeare), musicals, and any…

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John Burley draws us inside a hospital for the criminally insane in The Forgetting Place

in Thrillers by

If you’ve ever watched an episode Law & Order and wondered, “Hey, where does that guy end up now that he’s been found not guilty by reason of insanity?” one answer is Menaker State Hospital, the setting for John Burley’s creepy new thriller The Forgetting Place. In the novel, Dr. Lise Shields, a Menaker psychiatrist, is tasked with unraveling the story of Jason Edwards, a new patient who mysteriously arrives at the hospital with no paperwork or court history. Burley spoke to BookTrib about his own medical background, how he researches a book, and even what he’d pack for a trip to asylum. BOOKTRIB: How did your background as an emergency room physician contribute to the writing of this book? John Burley:…

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6 ways to get your Sherlock fix while waiting for the new season

in Fiction by

It’s been a long time since the brainy bromance of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman’s John Watson graced our television screens. And, unfortunately, the world’s most famous detective and his long-suffering assistant/best friend/partner in crime(-solving) won’t be back until, at the very earliest, the end of 2015. Filming is underway for a Sherlock holiday special that’s rumored to air on the BBC this Christmas, but for us poor Americans (unless, like the similarly festive Doctor Who episodes, it’s simulcast around the world), we probably won’t see any new exploits until next year. There is, of course, always Elementary on CBS, another contemporary take on the Holmes and Watson duo. Beyond the obvious fact that the two leads are…

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The Girl on the Train: Is Paula Hawkins’ debut the new Gone Girl?

in Fiction by

“With great power comes great responsibility.” Wait, that’s life advice for Peter Parker (and Spider-Man). For authors, particularly debut authors like Paula Hawkins in The Girl on the Train, it’s more like “with weighty comparisons to bestselling novels come often insurmountable expectations.” Even if you’re not a crime fiction fan—and this is surely part of the book’s enduring appeal almost two years after its release—you’ve probably read (or at the very least know) the basic gist of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Girl meets boy in New York. Girl and boy get married. Girl and boy live seemingly happy life for a few years. Girl and boy move to Missouri. Girl and boy are about to celebrate five-year anniversary but girl…

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4 Essential P.D. James books

in Fiction by

Since 1962, English author P.D. James—who passed away on November 27 at age 94—delighted readers with a new kind of crime fiction. Despite the fact that they share a home country, and rampant popularity, James actually has little in common with Agatha Christie, to whom she’s too often compared. Never one to mince words—I had the pleasure of interviewing her in 2009 and she was as feisty as ever—James considered Christie, who created Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple, “such a bad writer.” The normally staid, locked room mysteries of Christie and her Golden Age contemporaries didn’t interest James—her tales are darker, the crimes bloodier, the murders more than plot contrivances. The deaths that confront her protagonists, from her long-time series…

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The holidays can be murder

in Fiction by

You’re not alone in thinking murderous thoughts while listening—often against your will—to Christmas carols in the increasingly long lead up to the holiday season. Christmas really can be murder, as evidenced by the myriad holiday-themed mysteries, both old favorites and new reads, which flood the shelves every winter. Whether you like your crime on the light side with plenty of crafting thrown in, or you’re looking for a slightly darker tale to read instead of another rendition of The Polar Express, here are five holiday mysteries to get you through to the New Year. Some of them might even be the perfect stocking stuffer for the crime fans in your life. Duck the Halls by Donna Andrews The 16th installment in…

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The Imitation Game: Benedict Cumberbatch sheds light on a tortured genius

in Non-Fiction by

Before there was Steve Jobs, there was Alan Turing. Credited with inventing a machine that would one day become the computer that most of us use every day—Turing’s creation was known as the Turing Machine—Turing is ripe for a biopic. Not only is he considered the grandfather of modern computing but the Cambridge professor was also a renowned code breaker who, along with others at the Bletchley Circle in London, helped break the Nazis’ Enigma Code during World War II. These two career achievements more than qualify Turing as a worthy film subject. But he was also, unbeknownst to most of his colleagues, gay during a time when homosexuality was a crime in the UK. Prosecuted in 1952 for “homosexual…

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The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart heads to the big screen: Political drama Rosewater

in Non-Fiction by

On the one hand, it might seem like an odd choice for a satirical comedian with his own cable show to tackle weighty material like the hotly contested 2009 elections in Iran between the conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his liberal challenger, Mir-Hossein Mousavi. On the other hand, anyone who’s seen Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show will know that its creator delivers harder hitting news on Comedy Central than most talking heads do on CNN, MSNBC, and most certainly Fox News. Stewart makes his directorial debut with Rosewater, which he adapted from Maziar Bahari’s 2011 memoir, Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival. Documentary filmmaker and Newsweek correspondent Bahari tells the story of his incarceration…

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Stephen Hawking the man behind the science and The Theory of Everything

in Non-Fiction by

It’s not often that phrases like “theoretical physics,” “quantum gravity,” and “cosmology” ignite the passions of your everyday filmgoer. But all that changes when you add Stephen Hawking—undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest living scientists—to the mix, and sprinkle in a pair of young up-and-coming British stars who, together, have great screen chemistry. Director James Marsh, who’s best known for his critically acclaimed documentaries Man on Wire and Project Nim, brings Hawking’s difficult, yet wholly amazing, life to screen in The Theory of Everything, which opens November 7 and has already garnered positive film festival reviews. Hawking, diagnosed at 21 with a motor neuron disease similar to ALS (remember the Ice Bucket Challenge?), is one of the few contemporary scientists…

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From stage to screen to poetry with Israel Horovitz

in Fiction by

Adapting a piece from the theater to the silver screen isn’t so unusual. Making the move when you’re 75 isn’t quite so typical. Award-winning playwright Israel Horovitz certainly knows the material: he’s making his directorial debut with the dramedy My Old Lady, an adaptation of one of his own plays. The film, starring Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas and Maggie Smith, tells the story of a thrice-divorced, washed up playwright Mathias (Kline) who travels to Paris to claim the one remaining connection to—and asset of—his estranged father: an apartment in the Marais. The only small hitch in the plan is that there’s already a tenant, namely Mathilde (played by the indomitable Maggie Smith). Most of us would think twice before…

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The everlasting detective: When gumshoes return from the grave

in Fiction by

We take fictional deaths hard. From classic literature (we’re still coming to terms with Lennie’s death in Of Mice and Men and Jay Gatsby’s demise in Fitzgerald’s masterpiece) to modern bestsellers (we won’t spoil it for anyone, but X’s death in Mockingjay and Y’s death in Allegiant shook us up), readers mourn for figments of an author’s imagination. But sometimes dying isn’t the last page of the story. Some heroes are resurrected—to readers’ mixed reception. In several instances, it’s the choice of the author to bring a seemingly dead character back to life (Sherlock Holmes and “The Reichenbach Fall,” anyone?). Other times, the resurrection comes long after the original author’s death. Putting aside the larger issue of whether the dead…

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The sibling ties that bind, and gag, in This is Where I Leave You

in Fiction by

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So begins Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and the principle certainly applies to the Foxman clan in Jonathan Tropper’s hilariously heartbreaking 2009 novel, This Is Where I Leave You. Upon the death of patriarch Mort, the four Foxman children—Paul, who runs the family sports store and carries a huge chip on his shoulder; Judd, our narrator, who’s recently estranged from his wife; Wendy, the harried but direct mother of three; and Phillip, the charming, perpetual screw-up—gather at the family home with mother Hillary to (reluctantly) sit Shiva [the week-long mourning period in Judaism]. It’s the longest uninterrupted time they’ve all spent together in decades, and the results are…

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