Books & Blog: November 23, 2015

  • Charming, Elliott James
  • Follow Her Home, Steph Cha
  • Long Upon the Land, Margaret Maron
  • The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith
  • The Walk, Lee Goldberg

Elliott James’s book Charming is an interesting take on fairy tales. John Charming comes from a long line of men dedicated to protecting the world against evil by killing monsters. But John himself is considered a monster by his own organization, and finally flees to make a life for himself in Virginia. He’s outed there, and basically, must fight or glee. His decision is easier to make when he meets a beautiful Valkyrie.

Follow Her Home is a grim crime novel. Juniper Song, an LA gal, is steeped in noir novels. Phillip Marlowe is her hero. Since she doesn’t have enough work to fill her time, Juniper is ready to accept the challenge of her friend to get to the bottom of a situation. Luke thinks his wealthy dad is supporting a mistress, and he wants Juniper to find out if this is true. With few qualms, she accepts the challenge, but it lands her in very deep trouble, and forces her to face some facts in her own life she’d been dodging.

Margaret Maron has received almost every award a mystery writer can achieve, and deservedly so. Long Upon the Land is the last Deborah Knott novel, in an esteemed series that began with Bootlegger’s Daughter. If you have never sampled these fine books, start at the beginning and read all the way through. They are satisfying mysteries and also a wonderful story about a woman both enjoying and separating herself from a dubious legacy.

Is there anyone who doesn’t know that Robert Galbraith is J.K. Rowling? This is her second detective novel featuring the one-legged Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. Cormoran is hired to find missing writer Owen Quine. His wife is perhaps the only person who wants Quine found, since he is an insufferable ass and a terrible writer. But Cormoran persists, and despite the tumult of his personal life he manages to discover the whereabouts of Quine. It’s no surprise that the novelist has been murdered, and the field of suspects is rich. Robin wants to make her own mark in the case, and tries to reconcile her fiancé with fact that she’d rather be trailing a suspect than working in a nice office. An engrossing read.

The Walk is Lee Goldberg’s short novel about one man’s journey when the big earthquake hits Los Angeles. Marty Slack, a TV executive – one with a job no one can quite pin down – is caught on location in downtown Los Angeles when the worst happens. He has to get home to his wife, on the far edge of the San Fernando valley. It’s a journey fraught with danger and fear, and Goldberg makes us care about a basically rather unlikeable man and his success or failure.

 

Blog

I hope by now all your menu planning is done and your guest bedrooms are clean, if you are expecting company. Or maybe you’ve found a restaurant serving Thanksgiving dinner, which is something that seems more and more attractive the closer to the day I get!

This holiday seems a walk in the park to the baby shower I co-hosted this weekend. As I’ve said before, I’m a nervous hostess, and up until the minute the door opened and people started arriving, I was vibrating with fear. I know it’s senseless, but that’s what I do. It’s no big surprise that this first-time mother got some lovely presents for the baby girl to be, and that all the guests enjoyed their time in our home. Luckily, my co-hostess has the decorating gene that was left out of me, and we complemented each other very well in getting the job done.

Now all I have to do is go to the grocery, and cook. And cook. I’ll have a houseful: my mother in law, our daughter and her partner, our son and his wife and our grandchildren. Our middle son will remain in Los Angeles until Christmas, when he’ll join us. This is not a lot of people, really, and not a critical crowd! Also, my daughter and d-i-l will be cooking, too. I feel I’m home free! I’ll just enjoy the company.

I hope all of you have a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving.

 

Charlaine Harris