Books & Blog: August 17, 2015

  • Pretty Girls, Karin Slaughter
  • Magic Bleeds, Ilona Andrews
  • Tempt the Stars, Karen Chance

Karin Slaughter’s work is increasingly exciting. She’s always been a very good writer, but as last year’s Cop Town proved, now she’s a great one. Pretty Girls is very different, but just as good. It’s about three sisters – one missing and presumed dead, two living in very different circumstances – and the unexpected tie that binds them all. I don’t want to give away any secrets, but I hope you’ll all put this book on your list of must-reads. It comes out in SEPTEMBER.

I’ve been reread Ilona Andrews, and now I’ve just finished Magic Bleeds.

These books stand out from the pack of paranormal writing. Kate is a tough killer, and nobody’s fool, but she’s a person with lots of other attributes. And Curran is not exquisitely handsome to the eye, at least at first. As happens in real life, the more Kate gets to know the werelion, the more attractive he becomes. And the story, which is the real point, is rip-roaring, the world-building interesting and internally logical.

I’m also rereading Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer series, and Tempt the Stars was my most recent trip down memory lane with Chance. The break-neck speed of her books and the amount of punishment, both emotional and physical, that Cassie endures, is what makes these books remarkable. Cassie Palmer’s world is complicated and fascinating, and I’m enjoying it all over again, though I confess that the plot turns get so convoluted that I have trouble following them. But I’m having a great time trying!

REUNION

There’s nothing that makes a writer shudder like the prospect of reading all her old work. From 1990 to 2003, I wrote a series about a Georgia librarian, Aurora Teagarden. This year, I signed with St. Martin to write two more. Since I’ve written a lot of books both during and since I worked with Aurora, I set aside this time to read all the books in the series.

It’s like going to a class reunion. You see a lot of passages you were fond of way back when. You recognize a lot of ideas that seemed good . . . at the moment. And you shake your head. Overall, there’s a glow of affection for time gone by.

Since I’ve read the last four books back to back, certain themes or phrases pop out at me that certainly didn’t when I was working on telling Roe’s story. Roe wears fall colors a LOT. Especially tobacco brown. I don’t recall being obsessed with tobacco brown, but evidently I felt that Roe was. (She still looks best in fall tones, by the way.)

And bruising her face. In every encounter with a bad person (and I do have bad women as well as bad men) Roe gets a black eye or another facial bruise. I must have felt strongly that the evil she encountered should be visible to others. Was I trying to elicit sympathy for Roe? Force a protective attitude from the men she’s involved with? I don’t remember where I was going with that.

Some aspects of the books haven’t aged well. Every woman wriggles into pantyhose and hates the process, in Roe’s world. Well, I was a forerunner there. Women hated pantyhose so much that most women discarded them. And lots of women wear dresses every day, another tradition that’s pretty much been done away with. Also, it never crosses Roe’s mind that Martin should help around the house, though I think maybe that’s just Martin. I’ll bet Roe’s second husband will be more generous with his time.

To my delight, and contrary to my memory, there are cell phones in the last two books. Great! Starting up again won’t be the huge leap in technology that was scaring me. Though Roe is suspicious of computers, and no librarian now can be that way. Most libraries are havens for computer users, now.

So much updating to do! But having reread the books I wrote so long ago, I’m actually looking forward to living in Aurora Teagarden’s world again.

Charlaine Harris