April 25, 09.13
One of the (few) benefits of having a daily tube journey is it allows me to keep a finger on the pulse of public reading habits.
The first thing to report from the last couple of weeks is that the Dan Brown moment is over. The days of every third passenger reading the Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons - the other books, which I have heard are dreadful, never reached the heights of Underground popularity as the two Vatican-baiting thrillers - have passed and diversity has returned.
In the last couple of days I have seen three people reading PJ Tracy books. PJ Tracy is the mother-daughter team of PJ and Traci Lambrecht that brought Minneapolis-St Paul to life for millions of readers who had previously thought the Twin Cities were nothing more than a frozen wasteland with a giant shopping mall - somewhere to fly over between Boston and San Francisco.
I bought one of their books, Want To Play, published in the US as Monkeewrench from a bookshelf in a pub for 50 pence. At that price the book seemed worth a look, whereas I hadn't been prepared to pay ful whack for a thriller written by a team, as that sounded like a recipe for disaster.
Having spent seven years as a journalist I have some experience of tag team writing and know just how difficult it can be, defining who does what, meshing different pieces of text together and (more often than not) worrying about whose byline goes first - that might sound childish, pedantic and vain but trust me, it can be a real problem.
But somehow PC and Traci make it work for them - here is their explanation of how - and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even to the extent that it vaguely made me want to go to Minneapolis, even if I haven't picked up another of the books, although I intend to get around to them.
Cross Bones (p317)