Books & Blog: March 3, 2016

Books of the Week:

  • You, Caroline Kepnes
  • Off Kilter, Hannah Reed
  • Chaos Choreography, Seanan McGuire
  • Otherworld Secrets, Hidden, Forbidden, Kelley Armstrong
  • Stiletto, Daniel O’Malley

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and I have a lot of books to catch up to. I’d never read Caroline Kepnes’s much-commented on You, and I was dubious the first chapter about whether I’d keep on or not. It’s a novel set in New York told from the point of view of a serial killer, an apparently normal young man named Joe Goldberg who manages a bookshop. Joe doesn’t just admire a girl; he pursues her relentlessly through the Internet and learns every little thing about her so he can plan his approach. And if her friends are advising her to keep away? Well, Joe has a plan to settle that, too. Of course this book is creepy, but it’s also compelling, and Kepnes manages the voice of Joe with convincing skill. I plan to read the sequel to You.

Off Kilter is a traditional mystery. Eden Elliot, budding writer and secretary/friend to a very famous romance writer, takes a long sabbatical after the death of her mother and a bad divorce. She’s always wanted to go to Scotland, so her employer recommends a quaint and remote town in the Highlands, Glenkillen. On the plane over, Eden sits by a bubbly woman, Vicki McBride, who is also going to Glenkillen. This chance meeting leads to a lot of trouble for Eden, because Vicki becomes a murder suspect in short order after their arrival. Though the suitor Eden acquires seems a little too good to be true, the story really has charm and enough twists and turns to keep a reader entertained.

Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite writers; she is incredibly talented, incredibly prolific, and keeps her bar raised very high. Chaos Choreography just hit the shelves, and it’s another winner. I love the InCryptid books, about a family pledged to protect the supernatural creatures in the world. Verity Price is a reluctant member of the Price family; she tried to be a professional dancer before she realized she had to take up the family business. Verity’s husband, formerly of the Covenant (who have pledged to wipe out the Cryptid world), has come over to Verity’s side. When she gets the call that producers of the program Dance or Die would like Verity to come back and try again (she came in second), Verity cannot resist the chance to dance again. But of course, since she’s a Price, nothing goes as planned. We get to meet Alice Price-Healy, the terrifying grandmother, who’s been anticipated for the other InCryptid books!

Kelley Armstrong is another writer I’ll follow, and I found there were several of her books I’d fallen behind on. Otherworld Secrets is an anthology of stories about several of her otherworld characters like Hope, Jaime, Zoe, and Paige, and there’s one about Elena and Clay, too. In Hidden, Elena and Clay are determined to have a Christmas alone with their twins in a cabin in the woods. Elena has not yet told the twins that she is the only female werewolf, and that her daughter may be the second. Of course, nothing goes as planned when Elena and Clay learn that people have been vanishing from the nearby town. Some of them turn up with bite marks. Wolf bite marks. In Forbidden, mutt wolf Morgan Walsh is on his way to ask Elena for pack membership when a stop in a small town proves disastrous.

If you follow my book recommendations, you may remember that The Rook was my favorite two years ago. It still ranks as one of my all-time favorites. Daniel O’Malley has finished the sequel, Stiletto, and his publisher very kindly sent me an advance copy. To my delight, it’s every bit as good as The Rook, but also quite different. O’Malley further explores the Checquy (where Rook Myfanwy Thomas works), and introduces the Grafters, a European group who has acquired powers by the addition of various bits of machinery and drugs. Myfanwy is trying to broker a peace treaty, but there is an element that will fight this bitterly, and with any means. Sadly, this book will not be available until JUNE, but pre-order it. It’s wonderful!

Blog

A brief line or two to tell you that I’ve been busy travelling on weekends and working during the week. The pilot of MIDNIGHT TEXAS is being cast – so far Arielle Kebber, Sarah Ramos, Dylan Bruce, and Francois Arnaud have signed up as Olivia, Creek, Bobo, and Manfred. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this pilot turns out to be wonderful, and that NBC picks it up. I’ll keep you posted when there are further developments.

Charlaine Harris