Books by Henry Kisor

Henry Kisor is the book editor and literary columnist of the Chicago Sun-Times as well as the author of three nonfiction books and two mystery novels. He is also the co-author of one children's book. He is the author of What's That Pig Outdoors: A Mem

Released: Dec. 16, 2015

"In this fifth Martinez procedural (Hang Fire, 2013, etc.), Kisor's measured yet relaxed style is a very good match for the multidimensional case."
Sheriff Steve Martinez of Michigan's Upper Peninsula tackles a complex case that involves a cluster of competing law enforcement groups plus some mobsters from Detroit. Read full book review >
HANG FIRE by Henry Kisor
Released: April 19, 2013

"A confident and engaging whodunit. Kisor's prose is as refreshingly clean and balanced as the hero's investigative style."
Implacable Sheriff Steve Martinez (Cache of Corpses, 2007, etc.) investigates a series of musket murders. Go figure. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2007

"The subplots in Steve's third case (A Venture into Murder, 2005, etc.) are forgettable, but the central mystery is inspired, and Kisor's prose remains at a high level. "
Who's salting Michigan's Upper Peninsula with dead bodies? Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2005

"Chicago Sun-Times books editor Kisor's second Martinez mystery (Season's Revenge, 2003) has the same strengths and weaknesses as the first: strong characters, warm, confident prose and a rambling plot."
Upper Peninsula lawman Steve Martinez solves murders rooted in an old local secret. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

"Kisor (Flight of the Gin Fizz, 1997, etc.) effectively evokes his setting and the attractive pace of life there, though sometimes at the expense of tension in his plot."
An Upper Peninsula deputy juggles a handful of small-town cases and unravels a modest mystery. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 10, 1997

A deaf editor-writer learns to fly and pilots a Cessna cross- country in a nostalgic search for self and the grass-roots camaraderie that he says is waning in society but still survives in general aviation. Having begun to experience a sort of midlife doldrums, Chicago Sun-Times book-review editor Kisor (What's That Pig Outdoors? A Memoir of Deafness, 1990, etc.) purchased a small 30-year-old Cessna 150 in which he retraced the transcontinental path of a celebrated early aviator, Cal Rodgers. Rodgers was himself a victim of hearing loss when he made the trip, in 1911, in a canvas-covered plane built by the Wright brothers. Eighty-some years later, as the Simpson trial enthralled the world, Kisor barnstormed from airfield to airfield in dogged pursuit of Rodgers's spirit. Telling two stories in one, Kisor intersperses the narrative of his own day-to- day experience with parallel descriptions of Rodgers's travels, which included numerous crashes, emergency landings, and breakdowns. Kisor can't hear, but he can lip-read, and he can speak and thus transmit radio messages. His deafness adds an element of complexity and danger to a journey that, today, is an otherwise fairly mundane exercise, but his own story, by inevitable comparison to Rodgers's, though it does offer some interesting aviation folk, lacks an urgent sense of drama. There's a bit too much description of airport FBO (fixed base operations) facilities and hosts; routine flight plans filed, completed, and closed out; and mostly friendly airport and service-industry personnel whom he meets during frequent stops along his course. For Kisor, a self- described political liberal of conservative behavior and friends, who resists being labeled as handicapped, flying is, ever and always, an exercise of independence. A relaxing armchair entertainment, and an empowering tale for readers who face any kind of physical deficit. (16 pages b&w photos) (Author tour) Read full book review >
ZEPHYR by Henry Kisor
Released: March 1, 1994

Kisor (What's That Pig Outdoors?, 1990) records his adventures on the California Zephyr, the legendary transcontinental train from Chicago to L.A. Kisor loves the train, the crew, the chefs, the porters, and the lore of the train that ranges from an odd sexual encounter in the baggage car to the effect of altitude on Alzheimer's, from train crashes and criminals to the history of dining cars. Kisor is especially knowledgeable about food, from the way it is gathered, cooked, and served to the way people are seated in the dining car. And there is much about toilets, the ``tidiness'' of those who can afford sleepers and the problems of plumbing. The author also has much to tell about mating rituals, the predatory nature of women especially, the charged atmosphere of the lounge car (``Casbah on Amtrak''), and sexuality in general from harassment to homophobia, including the obscure autobiography of a lesbian ``brakeman'' that Kisor narrates to a lesbian novelist who's his dinner companion and one of the few to be spared his judgmental—or his uncharitable and stereotyping—social observations. There is the ``rat-faced man'' who assumed a fraudulent identity, the ``human hedgehog'' adolescent with the Mohawk haircut, Mildred ``of the detachable virginity,'' and a transvestite dubbed ``Tootsie'' who plays a part in an ``amusing'' anecdote about trying to find a suitable dinner companion for Kisor. A chapter is devoted to the author's plans for writing a murder mystery and another to explaining why, as a lip- reading deaf person, he had to take along a translator. Presented as a microcosm in the tradition of Ship of Fools, this seems, rather, a petty and misogynistic take on the worthless passengers riding a great train served by a caring and conscientious crew. Read full book review >