BOOK & BLOG
April 1, 2008
Books of the Week: DEATH OF A DOMESTIC DIVA by Sharon Short, CUTTING BLADES by Victoria Blake, PERSONAL DEMON by Kelley Armstrong
I thought of celebrating April Fools’ Day by reviewing books I simply hated, but I discarded that idea. Life is too short. Instead, here’s a taste of three books I enjoyed.
I’ve had DEATH OF A DOMESTIC DIVA in my bookcase for forever, because I’ve hung around with writer Sharon Short at several conventions and I’ve really enjoyed her company. I finally got around to reading one of her books, and I really enjoyed it. Her protagonist, Josie Toadfern, is a single woman living in a small town. Josie runs the local Laundromat and has self-educated herself to become a stain expert. When the residents of Paradise, Ohio, discover that their town’s been left off the map, Josie asks domestic guru Tyra Grimes to come to Paradise to film a show, reasoning that this exposure will help Paradise get back on the map. Unfortunately, Tyra decides to stay with Josie rather than at the run-down motel that’s all Paradise can offer. In short order, she rearranges Josie’s apartment and gets murdered. I really enjoyed this book, which is really funny and a very pleasant way to pass the time.
Victoria Blake’s CUTTING BLADES is much darker. This English mystery, set in London and Oxford, features private detective Sam Falconer. Her real name is Samantha, but I haven’t run across a female Samantha in recent literature who hasn’t called herself Sam, to the point where it’s almost a cliché. Sam has her own dark demons, and the cases she’s hired for tend to bring them back to her. Also, Sam’s father whom her mother told her was dead has gotten out of prison and begins showing up on Sam’s doorstep, leading to tremendous trouble in her already rocky life. Despite a few well-worn themes in CUTTING BLADES, it’s a well-written book about an interesting character, and I’d be glad to read about Sam again. Any book that features a bar where all the drinkers dress as characters from “Alice in Wonderland” . . . well, that book has a place on my shelf.
PERSONAL DEMON, Kelley Armstrong’s latest entry in her Women of the Otherworld series, is one of the better ones. Obviously, in a series of books about different women, some of them are going to resonate with you more than others, and I enjoyed PERSONAL DEMON more than I did, say, HAUNTED. Armstrong is a very careful writer with a very well-structured, tight, plot and distinctive characters, so she’s a pleasure for another writer to read just to admire to craft in her work. DEMON features Hope Adams, tabloid reporter and part chaos demon, and her on-again off-again lover, werewolf Karl Marston. The Cortez Cabal is once again at risk in this novel, and we get to see Paige Winterborne and her husband, Lucas Cortez. Their lives are going to change dramatically after this book, by the way. Since all Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld books tie together, none of Armstrong’s fans should miss this one.
Nothing much happened this past week, so nothing much bobs to the top of my head asking to be included in my blog. I have weeks like that, but consistency tells me to sit and write something for you to read, so here I am.
What did I do last week? I worked hard on the next Sookie, which right now has a couple of titles; my editor and I will have to pick one soon, because the title often shapes the book, in my experience.
I got my schedule for I-Con in New York, where I’ll spend the coming weekend. They’re working me hard, which is just exactly what they ought to do since I’m going such a distance to be there. I have a speech to prepare, questions to write for a panel I’m moderating, and a reading to practice. I wish I’d had longer to work on these things, but somehow I got off-track with the very courteous and obliging organizers and I didn’t realize I had to do those things until last Friday. I’m sure I dropped the ball somewhere along the line. Sometimes I get a little too enthusiastic when I clean out my InBox. Next weekend, maybe I’ll see some of you on Long Island. The legendary Harlan Ellison will also be there, and I’m of course interested in hearing him speak.
I also drove up to see my mother, having to plan my route to avoid the flooding. Seeing how high the Mississippi had risen was actually scary. My mother, my cousin, and I drove out to the levee to cross it to go to one of the fishing camps, and found the road blocked off to most of them. People had been moving their trailers and other goods to get them away from the river. Pretty nerve-wracking, and I’m hoping the water will ebb in all the places that have already flooded in Arkansas and Missouri. Poor people! A lot of homes are standing in water.
Now I’m wondering if my daughter’s school team will play their game here today, because it’s gray and overcast, and rain seems imminent. I’m in the mood to sit outside and watch some softball (despite the yellow coating of pollen on EVERYTHING), and I hope the game doesn’t get cancelled.
So that’s the state of things today in Charlaine-land. I’m sure I-Con will give me some fodder for blogging, and I’m sure you all hope so, too.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris