Books & Blog: July 16, 2015

Books of the Week:

  • Ghostman, Roger Hobbs
  • Trailer Park Fae, Lilith Saintcrow
  • The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss, Max Wirestone
  • Tin Men, Christopher Golden

While I indulged myself during my previous travels by reading books I’d read before, this time I did read some new things. I moved further into rereading Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey books, and I followed an impulse to reread the first Karen Chance books about Cassie Palmer. I love the quick pace and colorful world Chance has created for these books, though I confess I get a little confused about what time Cassie is in (she can time-travel) and what the effect of her meddling has been. But the people are so vivid and entertaining, I often don’t care.
 

Roger Hobbs’ Ghostman created quite a stir when it first came out two years ago. It’s definitely a thriller, about a man who lives as anonymous a life as is possible because he’s a career criminal, a bank robber. Since he owes another criminal named Marcus a favor, because of a collapsed job in Kuala Lumpur, Jack is asked by Marcus to investigate a heist planned by two of Marcus’s henchmen. This heist has gone terribly wrong. One of the robbers is dead, the other one’s bleeding and missing, and the money is missing, too. The situation goes from bad to worse to worst. This is a mile-a-minute novel, and really excellent entertainment. It’s been optioned for a movie.
 

I hadn’t read Lilith Saintcrow in a while, so I was glad to spot Trailer Park Fae. An excellent title and an excellent cover give this book a big boost at the starting gate. Jeremiah Gallow has been living in the world of humans since his human wife died, and Robin Ragged, half-human, has been living in the fae world. Her life is not easy, and neither is his. Then their paths cross, and the defender in Gallow awakens to keep Ragged from being killed. This is not a rainbows and unicorns kind of book, unless you like your rainbows dark and ominous and your unicorns murderous. And there’ll be more books about these two to come.
 

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss, in contrast, is a hoot. The unemployed Dahlia, who is both quirky and geeky, is living with her friend Charice and going to dispiriting interview after dispiriting interview. Out of the blue, she is approached to investigate the theft of a virtual spear from an on-line game, “Kingdoms of Zoth.” All too soon, her employer is killed with same spear. But wait — wasn’t it virtual? This book is a barrel of fun, and it will be out in OCTOBER. Mark your buying calendar!
 

My friend Christopher Golden’s new book, Tin Men, is a fictional book about serious issues and concerns. But it’s also about issues of the heart. The Tin Men of the title are remote soldiers: that is, they’re inserted into tanks at headquarters and their consciousness guides the actions of the metal bodies they inhabit during their shift. In the future, Tin Men posits, the United States will have soldiers stationed almost everywhere in the world there’s unrest. The US will have assumed the role of international peacekeepers. But many, many countries will not like that assumption of big-brotherdom. For every (say) Afghani who’s glad their country is safer, there will be another who wants the Tin Men out of their sight. And these haters have banded together to figure out a way to disable the remote soldiers; but it will disrupt the way the rest of the world works, too. I really couldn’t put Tin Men down. It’s extraordinary.

Blog

After two more weekends, I’ll be at home for a while. And I have plenty to do. I’m writing my chapter of a “mosaic” novel proposed by Chris Golden, and since my first work is falling in the middle of the book, I’m both blessed and cursed. I can see my path clearly, but I’m constantly tempted to throw a nail strip under the vehicle!
 

After I finished my allotted pages, I have to implement the suggestions offered by my agent to improve NIGHT SHIFT. It is not a perfect book, and the ideas he had to improve it seemed right on the nose. The first draft is only the beginning of a long process. You’d think writing a book would get easier after all these years, but it doesn’t. Bewilderingly, sometimes even though you can see the narrative is not that bright and enticing, sometimes you just keep on blundering along hoping it will turn sunny in a moment. And sometimes that happens.
 

When NIGHT SHIFT goes to my editor, I’ll start working on the plot for the next Aurora Teagarden. It seems so strange to write those words, after all these years. And even stranger, I’ll have the same editor I had all those years ago, Kelley Ragland. Here’s what’s even more weird – Kelley looks the same as she did then. I, alas, do not.
 

My work calendar is full for the next few months, and I’m looking forward, as always, to doing something different. I think it keeps me on my writing toes.
 

Dawn is working on a new look for the website, and after this weekend, maybe I’ll have the time to make some judgment calls. I want to streamline a site that seems a bit cumbersome now, and generally make it friendlier and more accessible. So bear with us while we’re in transition. You may not even notice the changes all at once.