Books of the Week:
- Inherit the Dead, edited by Jonathan Santlofer
- Serving Victoria, Kate Hubbard
I don’t ordinarily review books in which I have any part, but Inherit the Dead was written for such a good cause (the proceeds benefit Safe Horizon, the US’s leading victim assistance organization) that I want to recommend it here. As you can tell form the stellar lineup of authors (just to pick a few at random: Mary Higgins Clark, Heather Graham, Val McDermid, Lawrence Block, C.J. Box) Safe Horizon is a cause it’s natural to support.
Unusually, for a serial novel, all the chapters were written simultaneously, which entailed a lot of planning on the part of the staff who managed this effort. And Inherit the Dead, about a disgraced policeman-turned-private eye who is pursuing a missing heiress, is definitely a coherent novel. You would never mistake my chapter for John Connolly’s, or S.J. Rozan’s, or James Grady’s, but the story is consistent. This was an interesting experience for all of us.
Serving Victoria sounds like an erotic novel, but nothing could be farther from the truth. This entertaining non-fiction book is about (literally) coming to Queen Victoria’s court as a lady of the bedchamber, or a court physician, and what it was like to live under those stifling circumstances. Happily, there are photographs of these people. Hubbard provides an interesting variety of stories about Victoria (when she laughed, she laughed long and loud) and the protocol that determined every moment of every day for the people honored with her service . . . and many of them certainly did feel honored. Victoria was a puzzling woman. The queen comes across as not too bright or educated, very thoughtful in some ways of those around her, and utterly insensitive in others.
Audible, the books-on-cd company, is making a big announcement today. There’s going to be an anthology of short stories set in the Sookieverse. But none of them will be written by me! They’ll be written by great writers who’ve been kind enough to tell me they enjoyed my work. My friend Toni L.P. Kelner is editing the stories, and I’m giving them a once-over, too. Here’s the link if you’d like to pre-order:
When Audible first approached me, I was skeptical about the idea. I’ve never read fanfic, and I thought that this might be too akin to fanfic; other people, writing about my characters? But when I mulled it over for a few months, I began to see the possibilities. After I had another talk with Audible, I felt more amenable to the idea, and the project gradually took shape.
When writers like MaryJanice Davidson and Seanan McGuire take part – plus some writers whose names I’m holding back for later – you know the end product will be entertaining.
The world being the way it is today, I can already hear the accusations begin to pelt me. “You’re just trying to milk the success of your books as long as you can!” “You’ll do anything for a buck!” “No one will buy this! It’s exploitation!”
All right, I’ll take that. Though it’s not my motivation, it’s one interpretation.
No, I won’t do anything for a buck. If that were the case, I’ll still be writing the Sookie novels, and I would have Eric end up with Sookie and magically allow them to have little vampire babies.
Okay. Don’t buy it. Fine with me.
So there you have it; a future project which I can just sit back and enjoy. And I hope some of you do, too. I look forward to releasing the names of the other writers involved, and I’ve already peeked at one or two of the stories . . . and I laughed out loud.Charlaine Harris