No mystery why Ridge author’s novels are a compelling read

December 31, 2012 Helen Klein
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A Bay Ridge crime novelist has helped turn her series of novels – most focusing on fire investigations – as well as her memoir into e-books.

Shelly Reuben’s seven volumes, most out of print, are now available to owners of Kindle, Nook and other e-readers for $2.99 each. These include Julian Solo, a neo-Gothic novel which is set in Bay Ridge, as well as Reuben’s fire-centered mysteries – Weeping, The Skirt Man, Origin & Cause, Spent Matches and Tabula Rasa—and the very personal volume of reminiscences, Come Home. Love, Dad.

“This gives people the opportunity to own them for very little money,” noted Reuben, who oversaw the conversion of her books from paper to digital format, and who is very enthusiastic about e-books, specifically because they, “Provide longevity for authors.”

Given the limited space in brick-and-mortar bookstores, she said, books often disappear relatively quickly from the shelves unless they are classics. It is for this reason that Reuben set about the task of converting her books.

The added bonus for Reuben, who re-read them as part of the process? “In effect, I was forced to look in the mirror and see my gawky young self,” she recalled. The good news? “I was surprised, but I liked all my books.”

Reuben, who is a fire investigator by trade, began her writing career when she came upon a news item about two boys who were being honored for having saved people from burning buildings “on more than one occasion.” Just before the award ceremony was slated to begin, the two boys, she said, had been arrested by fire marshals and charged with setting the fires. “I said, if that’s not a book that wants to get written, then I have never seen one. So, I started to research it.”

While that book was never published, it launched Reuben on her second career, to the delight of readers who are engaged by the tight plots and realistic details in her novels.

Now, she is hoping to engage a whole new group of readers in her meticulously constructed fiction. Converting her tales into e-books, Reuben stressed, “Gives extra life to books that would otherwise disappear. They provide a whole new audience and medium for hard-to-find books.”

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