My new favorite author, Erik Larson, will be the guest speaker today at the 25th annual Library Foundation Book & Author Luncheon Friday in Lakewood Ranch
The noon event, which I'm attending, is at the Polo Grill.
Larson has penned the best-selling, novelistic non-fiction works "Devil in the White City" (a Leonardo DiCaprio movie in pre-production) and, his latest, "In the Garden of Beasts" (Tom Hanks recently purchased the film rights).
Erik Larson knows darkness.Read more of my Larson feature that ran Sunday.
His bestselling "Devil in the White City," which earned him the 2004 Edgar Award for "best fact crime book," is about a Chicago serial killer.
He followed a couple years later with "Thunderstruck," another nonfiction book about a murderer.
But those horrors couldn't prepare Larson, the guest of honor at the Manatee County Library Foundation's annual author luncheon, for what he encountered when crafting his latest factual tour-de-force, "In the Garden of Beasts."
The book deftly places the reader with an American family in Hitler's Berlin. It's 1933 and history professor William E. Dodd finds himself appointed as the first U.S. ambassador to Nazi Germany, which initially enthralls his highly social, 24-year-old daughter, Martha. Eventually, though, it becomes clear to them they are surrounded by monsters.
"In no previous book did I have this experience," Larson said by phone from his Seattle home.
—Photo of Larson by Benjamin Benschneider/PUBLICITY PHOTO COPYRIGHT BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER