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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Grimes, Martha: Foul Matter

  Amazon  

3 stars

Best-selling author Paul Giverney is switching publishers, and most any acquisitions editor in New York would gnaw a limb off to sign him. While Paul isn't interested in self-mutilation, he does make an unusual demand of the house whose multi-million-dollar offer he's decided to accept: Mackenzie-Haack must drop one of its most valued authors--Ned Isaly, a better writer than Paul who sells far fewer books--as a prerequisite to signing Giverney. Unfortunately for Ned, "Mack-Haack" is not in a position to rip up his contract. It's far easier for the publisher to hire a pair of hit men to take Isaly out--thugs who turn out to be more discerning than your average performers of "wet work."

Foul Matter follows the sometimes comic results of Mackenzie-Haack's determination to sign Paul Giverney, and it follows Ned Isaly and his writer friends as they struggle variously with their novels. The book's premise, if implausible, is intriguing. Unfortunately, the book seems to be short a chapter or two. Grimes does finally answer the question readers have been asking themselves since the book's first chapter--why is Giverney gunning for Isaly?--although the payoff isn't really worth it. But the author leaves unanswered a more important question about Ned that develops in the book's course. Ultimately, then, Foul Matter is an unsatisfying read, though there is some fun to be had along the way.

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