May 8, 2013

Books of the Week:

  • The Vampire Tapestry, Suzy McKee Charnas
  • Under the Hill: Bomber’s Moon, Alex Beecroft
  • Blood Oranges, Kathleen Tierney
  • The Last Policeman, Ben Winters

Suzy McKee Charnas wrote The Vampire Tapestry in 1980, and I’m sorry to say I read it for the first time last week. I thank Paul Goat Allen for publishing his list of vampire novels that everyone should read, because this book came straight from that list. An unromantic and detailed account of one segment of the life of Dr. Edward Weyland is probably truer to what the “real life” of a vampire would be like. I don’t want to spoil any of this book for the reader, but I really admired it.

 

Alex Beecroft’s Under the Hill: Bomber’s Moon is the first part of a story, though I don’t know how many subsequent books he plans. His main characters, Ben Chaudry and Chris Gatrell, meet when Ben is attacked by elves. He is pretty sure no one will believe him, so he calls the Paranormal Defense Agency. Chris, retired from the RAF (on grounds of insanity) arrives to defend Ben, and the two feel an immediate attraction. Through a complex plot, their adventure continues, and there are other characters to meet who add to their story. Ben is not the only one in danger; there’s a plot to take over the world! These are pretty scary elves, and this is a really interesting book.

 

Blood Oranges is another book from Paul Goat Allen’s list, and it’s the story of junkie Quinn, who has a talent for killing supernatural creatures and an equally great talent for lying. Through a series of misfortunes, mostly set in motion by herself, Quinn becomes both a vampire and a werewolf. This is not a happy combination, though it does make her extremely notorious in the supernatural world. This is not a desirable thing, but Quinn is determined in her bad-assery.

 

Ben Winters won an Edgar award for The Last Policeman, which has the novelty of being a PRE-apocalyptic novel. Newly made Detective Hank Palace knows that an asteroid is going to hit the Earth in mere months; everyone on Earth knows that. So why does he keep on investigating crimes in a society that has largely disintegrated? This is a high-concept book, obviously, and it’s the first of three about Hank Palace. The premise is riveting and the writing is excellent.

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It’s hard to know where to start. The past two weeks have been tumultuous, but I’m beginning to emerge from the roller coaster ride more or less back to normal. (By the way, I hate roller coasters.) I’ve seen lots of ugliness, and even more kindness. I’ve seen lots of irrationality, and lots more sense. Some virulent hatred, and much more love.

 

I’m going with the love.

 

I’ll be happy to put this behind me and go back to doing what makes me happiest: writing the best books I can. This has been my pattern for 32 years, from way before the Sookie books, and I hope it’ll be my pattern for a few more.

 

Being alone with a computer (or a typewriter, or a pad and pencil) can ill-equip a writer for the strong and widely-assorted reactions of readers. I think I’d written four books before I ever met anyone who’d read one of them! It astounded me. It still astounds me.

 

I’m turning away from the controversy to face the remainder of a very busy year.

 

There are two family events, a graduation and a birth, that are more important than any professional developments. There are new writing projects that demand my attention and my focus. There are always books to read and recommend.

 

Yep, going with the love.

 

Charlaine Harris