This year's Brentwood CityRead program features a novel by a Berkeley writer whose story takes place right here on the Delta.
Beginning Monday, Sept. 15, 800 copies of Kirk Russell's Deadgame will be placed in book baskets in 14 locations around town. No library card is required. A reader can check out Deadgame using the honor system, return it to the library or pass it along to a friend.
Deadgame is the third installment of the John Marquez eco-thriller crime series that follows an undercover unit of the California Department of Fish and Game. Deadgame finds Marquez on the hunt for poachers capturing sturgeon in the Delta and passing the eggs off as high-quality caviar. As Marquez closes in on his suspects from the Russian mafia, his case is disrupted when his key informant goes missing.
This story is a change from the usual cops and robbers, said Leonard Roudman, senior community library manager. These aren't your regular policemen. This deals not only with people, but with wildlife as well.
Roudman said that even though this novel is the third in the series, readers will have no trouble jumping into the story.
Deadgame author Russell agrees. With a crime series, it's often better to start with the first book, but not always, Russell wrote in an e-mail. Since Deadgame' is set so close to Brentwood, I think it's fine to start with this one.
Russell grew up in Northern California and spent time on the Delta during his childhood. He has spent many hours observing the California Department of Fish and Game in action, and knows what he's writing about.
I love being outdoors, said Russell. I love the California landscape and when that feeling is running under the surface as I'm writing from the perspective of a game warden, it's a lot easier to take the protagonist down a Delta road, and hanging with the Special Operations Unit, the SOU, it was impossible not to admire how much those wardens put out, and for not a lot of pay. We're pretty lucky that team is out there.
The author said he was elated to learn that his book was selected for the CityRead program. You work so long alone to write a novel that's it's a great feeling to have it catch someone's eye later.
Russell will visit Brentwood Nov. 1 for the Brentwood library's free author program Writing a California Eco-thriller. During this one-hour presentation, Russell will discuss his book and take time to answer questions from the audience.
Roudman said all adult readers in Brentwood are encouraged to pick up a copy of Deadgame. When readers are finished with the book, they should initial the sticker on the back of the front cover and pass the book along. There is also a green bookmark in each copy so that readers can submit feedback about this year's CityRead selection.
Roudman said reader feedback is essential to his awareness of what readers find interesting. After the recent trend in CityRead selections novels with a romantic flair tailored to female readers Roudman hopes readers will be excited to read a different genre for this year's program. This is a neat way to do outreach to the community, he said. This program is designed to reach people who don't come to the library. This is a way to get them reading, and it's free, so that's a nice draw.
Copies of Deadgame will be located at coffee shops throughout the city until Oct. 25. For more information, call the Brentwood Library at 634-4101.
Copies of Kirk Russell's Deadgame will be available at the following locations:
The Brentwood library, 751 Third St.
Gabby's Grind, 729 First St.
Panama Bay Coffee Company, 4431 Balfour Road
Peet's Coffee & Tea, 5411 Lone Tree Way
Starbucks (four locations), 8610 Brentwood Blvd.; 2530 Sand Creek Road; 3150 Balfour Road; 14808 Highway 4 (Discovery Bay)
Willy's Bagels & Blends (two locations), 1155 Second St.; 390 W. Country Club Drive
The four Summerset libraries