Category Archives: Recommended Reading

What I’ve liked

Recommended for high school students

For Lynn English High School students who have read and enjoyed Offside this summer—and really for all potential readers—let me suggest that you also try Cracking the Ice, my other Young Adult novel. It’s also set in the late sixties with some of the action taking place in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Cracking the Ice is Jessie Stackhouse’s story, taking place a year after Offside. He leaves home to attend an elite, formerly all-white prep school so he can chase his dream of becoming the second black professional hockey player. He soon finds, however, that the coach doesn’t want him there and neither do most of his teammates. They’ll go to almost any extreme to make him leave. Jessie must overcome not only the team in the other locker room, but the even more dangerous one in his own.

I think you’ll like it. Order it for your e-book reader or email me (dave.hendrickson@gmail.com) for a special price on the paper version.

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“I started Cracking the Ice and could not put it down. Jessie Stackhouse’s generosity, hope and intelligence touched my heart…I kept reading until the last page!” –Joyce Carol Thomas, National Book Award winner

Pentucket Publishing releases Offside for e-books

Pentucket Publishing has released my latest novel, Offside, in all electronic formats. The paper version will become available in early January.

Offside

Officially, it’s a Young Adult title because its hero is a teenager and the content is age-appropriate for readers 13 and up. Offside will also span both the Young Adult Sports and Young Adult Historical categories. Even so, I expect that, as was the case with Cracking the Ice, most of its readers will be adults and they’ll love it. Offside is truly a story for all ages.

Those who like football (and fans of the 1967 Boston Red Sox) will find extra things to appreciate, as will those who remain fascinated by the sixties and all the conflicts that existed in that era. But I’ve also had first readers who aren’t sports fans (and a couple who aren’t American so they aren’t into the historical angle), and they still loved the story.

It’s all about the story.

Here’s the description along with the links:

“Rabbit” Labelle loves football, but the tiny, rural Maine town where he lives isn’t big enough to support a team. After his father moves the family to the big, bad city, Rabbit finally gets his chance to play the sport he loves the most, but he must also confront the dangers of “Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin.” Since it’s 1967 and cities are torn by racial turmoil, this includes his father’s greatest fear: “the Negroes.”

Rabbit, who’d been the most popular kid in Plainfield, Maine, struggles to make friends and wonders if he’ll even survive. Only football can save him.

Find Offside here: KindleNookKobo, and Smashwords. $5.99

“Huram’s Temple” to appear in March/April Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

My story “Huram’s Temple” will appear in the March/April issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.  The issue will appear on the newsstands in late January, so keep your eyes out for it. I’m honored to have this story appear in such a prestigious publication.

“One-Night Stands for Love and Glory” appears in Fiction River

A new story of mine appeared a few days ago when Fiction River: Universe Between released. Fiction River is a terrific multi-genre anthology series that has gained great renown in little over a year. The Universe Between issue includes a rarity for me, a science fiction story, “One-Night Stands for Love and Glory.” What isn’t rare, at least I hope not, is that it will make you laugh; it may also make you cry.

Fiction River is available in electronic and paper formats, and by subscription or individual issue. I’ve been a subscriber since the very first issue and highly recommend it. Click here for further details.

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Rusch gives “Little Blue Fuzzy” rave review

In her January Recommended Reading List, USA Today Bestselling Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch said of “Little Blue Fuzzy”:

I love this story. I first saw it in a workshop under a different title. The story was funny then, and it’s funny now. David H. Hendrickson is one of my favorite writers. Use this piece as an introduction to his work.

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Available in all electronic formats. Download a sample and try it.

“Tiffany” included in Kris Rusch’s Recommended Reading!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all, you know about my intense admiration for Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I consider her the single best teacher I’ve ever had. The workshops run by her and Dean Wesley Smith have changed my life. She’s also one of my favorite writers. (And also a heckuva person, but that’s getting beyond the point.)

Imagine my euphoria when I read her June Recommended Reading list and found my short story “Tiffany Gets Her Boobs” included!  I wouldn’t be surprised if my cries of delight and amazement remained audible all the way from Massachusetts to Oregon.

I wrote “Tiffany” as part of a short story workshop with Kris and soon after, released it electronically under my pen name David Bawdy. Here’s what she had to say:

I thought, based on the title, that I would hate “Tiffany Gets Her Boobs.” But I had to read it: Dave wrote it for the short story workshop. The story’s an off-shoot of Bubba Goes For Broke, his novel, and that was the assignment: write a stand-alone story that works for people who haven’t read the other work.  Well, “Tiffany” works beautifully, and by the end of the story, I had fallen in love with this savvy, determined, and somewhat crazy woman.  Everyone who has read this story remembers it and likes it.  You will too.

Music to my ears!  You can read it for free here or on the NOOK or at Smashwords. Until Amazon lowers its price, it remains 99 cents for the Kindle.

Hope you like it! And if you do, check out Bubba Goes for Broke.

Congrats to Scott Carter

Congratulations to my friend Scott William Carter for winning the Oregon Book Award.  His terrific Young Adult novel, The Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys, won the Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature

Check out Scott’s work, both his novels and short stories. He’s an excellent writer.

Music For Another World

I just got my author’s copies of Music For Another World, an anthology of “strange fiction” short stories with a common theme of music.  My story “Blue Note Heaven” leads off Act I.  I hope you’ll read it.

Music For Another World

If you live in the USA, however, you’ll need to do a little more work to get a copy.  It’s a British anthology so it’s available through Amazon Europe but not Amazon USA (at least not yet).  Your best bet is to order from Mutation Press.

The first review is in and it says:

It’s a well-presented book containing a consistently high standard of writing…. The unifying theme of music has resulted in a delightfully wide range of styles and genres (slipstream, ghost stories, alternate history, fantasy and science fiction to name but a few), settings (ranging from deep space through gritty suburban streets to the Christian heaven) and emotional effects. 

June & July 2010 Recommended Reading List

Yes, I know it’s late August, but I’ve either had other writing projects I’ve been focused on or had other topics I wanted to get to first.  In September, I expect to begin posting this list on a monthly basis and also be more punctual.  That’s the plan, at least.

There are a few books I enjoyed but won’t be listing because they’re within my taboo topics of politics and religion.  Onward, then, to the good stuff.

Burke, James LeeHeaven’s Prisoners, Henry Holt, 1988. I’ve considered Burke a national treasure ever since reading him first a few years ago.  He’s one of my favorite writers so I’ve gone back and started reading his Dave Robicheaux series from the beginning. 

Heaven’s Prisoners, the second in the series, doesn’t disappoint.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to write like this master.  I don’t think there’s a better writer at capturing setting with expertly crafted descriptions involving all the senses.  Everything else works too. 

Another wonderful James Lee Burke novel.  I loved it.

Buzbee, LewisSteinbeck’s Ghost, Feiwel and Friends, 2008. I read Young Adult books because it’s one of the categories I write in and also because I enjoy them. When both Kris Rusch and Shelly McArthur (prominent writer and mystery bookseller, respectively) recommended this novel, that was good enough for me.

However, I intended to go back and re-read some Steinbeck (and fill in a few gaps) first.  Months went by.  While this may make me sound like a Philistine, if I have a choice between a current book and a classic, the current book almost always wins.

Finally, I said to heck with the prerequisites and dove right in. Buzbee has written a fun book about libraries and reading and friendship and all that good stuff.  You don’t need to be a teenager or have an extensive Steinbeck background to enjoy this book.

Card, Orson ScottShadow of the Giant, Tor Science Fiction, 2005. A fitting finale to the Shadow series, which followed and paralleled the bestselling Ender series.  I will say, however, that I wish I didn’t know Card’s politics because I hear him arguing a point at times instead of his character.  Perhaps that’s my failing, but it’s one more reason you won’t be reading my views on controversial topics.

Fink, MarkThe Summer I Got a Life, WestSide Books, 2009. This is a fun (and funny) YA novel.  Fifteen-year-old Andy Crenshaw’s summer vacation to Hawaii turns into a trip to… Wisconsin.  Making matters worse, eccentric Uncle Jim and Aunt Karen have lost their TV and Internet service (because their pig ate the cable). 

I won’t divulge any more of this tale other than to say it can be both hilarious and moving. Highly recommended.

Larsson, StiegThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Vintage Crime, 2009. I’ll admit that this book took off a bit slowly for me.  (VERY MINOR SPOILER ALERT upcoming.) There are two storylines and the one far less compelling opens the book and  closes it. It’s an odd structure, but I really liked this book anyway once I got into it.  The Lisbeth character is compelling and memorable.  I’m looking forward to reading the final two volumes of this series and am saddened that Larsson’s premature death means there’ll be no more.

Rhodes, Stephen, “At the Top of his Game,” Wall Street Noir, edited by Peter Spiegelman, Akashic Books, 2007.  I’ve only read a couple stories so far in this anthology but this lead story impressed the heck out of me.  It begins, On the day they conspire to put a bullet in my head, I experience an epiphany.  The story then takes you into the cut-throat world of Wall Street and never lets go.

Rusch, Kristine Kathyrn, “Recovering Apollo 8,” Recovering Apollo 8 and Other Stories, 2010.  I only got halfway through this short story collection by the end of July so the recommendation for the entire book will have to wait till next month but I’m singling out a couple stories now.

The first of them is the collection’s title story, winner of the Asimov’s Reader’s Choice Award.  It’s based on a world in which Apollo 8 reemerged from behind the moon just a little off course and never achieved orbit.  It’s everything I love in a Science Fiction story. 

Rusch, Kristine Kathyrn, “Substitutions,” Recovering Apollo 8 and Other Stories, 2010.  I loved, loved, loved this story.  The mood, the characters, the plot.  Everything. 

Sawyer, Robert J.Calculating God, Tor, 2000.  Okay, I did say at the top that I wouldn’t review books about politics or religion.  So what am I doing recommending a book that looks extensively at the existence or non-existence of God? 

This book doesn’t take sides.  Instead, it spends considerable time having an alien paleontologist named Hollus argue the topic with its human counterpart.  The alien is the one who believes there’s irrefutable proof that God exists.

In many ways, this book reminds me of Richard North Patterson’s novel Exile which similarly slows down the plot to discuss a Big Topic (in the case of Exile, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict).  Both novels discuss ideas at the expense of action and get away with it, in part because of the importance of the ideas but also because of the author’s skill.

April & May 2010 Recommended Reading List

Most of the reading I did in these two months was in preparation for Kris Rusch’s Mystery Writing workshop.  As a result, most of these recommendations come from that genre. 

Bruen, KenThe Guards, St. Martins Minotaur, 2003. Not only had I never read Bruen before, I’d never even heard of him.  This book, however, was part of the assigned reading for the workshop and I’m glad it was.  It’s the first in Bruen’s Jack Taylor series and one of the darkest novels I’ve read in a long time. 

If you like your heroes squeaky clean, you’ll have problems with Taylor, a former member of Ireland’s police force (aka “the Guards”).  He’s an alcoholic who may be witty as hell but sometimes behaves abominably.

Which works.  You feel his need to drink, his self-destructive compulsion. 

I loved this book and will be reading all of the Jack Taylor series, if not all of Bruen. 

Carter, Scott WilliamThe Last Great Getaway of the Water Balloon Boys, Simon and Schuster, 2010. This is the lone entry from this list that isn’t a mystery.  It’s a Young Adult adventure novel, one that begins:

If I’m going to tell you how I killed this kid, I can’t start on the day it happened.

Carter catches you with that opening line and holds you throughout the book.  You might wonder if a novel with that opening is appropriate for young adults.  It is.  You might also wonder if it works only for young adults.  It doesn’t.  I enjoyed it a great deal.

This is Carter’s first novel, but it won’t be his last.  I’ve been reading and admiring his short fiction for the last two years.  This won’t be the last you hear of him.

Crais, RobertL.A. Requiem, Ballantine, 1999.  I’d seen Crais novels in the bookstores for years but never bought one.  God knows why.  I’d just always grabbed other ones.  (I buy them faster than I can read them.)

What a mistake. 

This novel of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike blew me away.  When I finished it, I said to myself, “Oh God, I wish I could have written this.”  And promptly began analyzing it chapter by chapter.

I’m looking forward to reading a lot more Crais.  A lot more.

Franklin, Tom, “Poachers,” The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century, edited by Tony Hillerman and Otto Penzler.  I read this anthology a couple years ago, but since it was assigned reading for the workshop I went back and re-read this favorite. 

It’s my kind of mystery story.  I read for character, so mysteries that are merely puzzles bore me.  This story takes you into the swamps and brings alive three scary brothers in convincing fashion.

Lehane, Dennis, “Animal Rescue,” Boston Noir, edited by Dennis Lehane, Akashic Books, 2009.  I loved Mystic River. I’ve read the book and watched the movie twice each.  So when I saw Lehane had edited this anthology, it became a must-buy.  I only feared that he’d place his own contribution near the end and I’d be tempted to read the stories out of order.

It turned out there was no need to worry.  “Animal Rescue” comes second in the book and doesn’t disappoint.

Smith, Alexander McCallThe No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Knopf, 2003.  Here’s another winner that I’d missed when it first came out, an error rectified by its inclusion in the workshop’s list of required reading.  I loved this charming and delightful series of connected stories that chronicle the exploits of Mma Ramotswe, the only female detective in Botswana.  I look forward to continuing my way through the rest of the series.