BOOK & BLOG
June 9, 2008
Books of the Week:
MAD MOUSE by Chris Grabenstein
This was a great reading week for me. I have such a huge pile of TBR books that it always feels good to whittle it down and have a good time doing so.
I’m not sure where I got the Sheila Radley book. It’s one in her Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Quantrill books, and I remembered enjoying those in the past. Radley’s books are normally focused on the police investigation of a village crime, and they’re quite enjoyable because they follow the progress of Quantrill’s life, as well as the solving of the crime itself. CROSS MY HEART contains a book within a book, not my favorite format, but Radley can make this good, and she does. Quantrill, recovering from bronchitis, has to let Sergeant Hilary Lloyd take the lead investigating the disappearance of an elderly couple. The denouement comes as no surprise; the pleasure of the book is in the journey to get there.
Chris Grabenstein’s MAD MOUSE is the second in the series of John Ceepak/Danny Boyle mysteries set on the shores of New Jersey in a resort town. Danny Boyle, a part-time cop at the beginning of the book, has a serious case of hero-worship for Officer John Ceepak; and I have to say, Ceepak richly deserves the admiration. In their second outing, someone is gunning for Danny and his high school friends, and the two have to figure out who it might be and where he’ll strike next. I love this series.
THE INVISIBLE RING by Anne Bishop is one of her Black Jewels books. If you haven’t read this entry, pick it up. It’s really a prequel to all the others. This is the second time I’ve read RING, and I enjoyed it just as much the second time. Jared, a Warlord who’s been enslaved, is bought in the market by the infamous Gray Lady. He’s desperate to escape her, but finds himself bound by honor to protect and the ragtag group of slaves she’s also purchased. It’s apparent someone’s trying to kill the Gray Lady, and Jared finds himself again in the journey to her territory.
Steve Martin’s BORN STANDING UP is a non-fiction book about Martin’s history as a performer and his theories about comedy. If you’re a Steve Martin fan, you should read this book for the insight into his character and mind. I discovered I wasn’t interested so much in the theory behind the comedy as I am in the actual comedy, but I realize this book was written with a lot of depth.
Every summer in the past few years, I’ve been left standing and gaping as it zoomed by. I know I’ve commented before that summers used to seem infinite and lazy. Now they stampede through at top speed, leaving me wondering where the season went.
Our daughter’s schedule is partially responsible for this. She seems as busy in the summer as during the rest of the year, she just doesn’t have to get up as early. Yearbook Staff Camp, teaching catching lessons, softball practice, tournaments . . . then volleyball camp, more softball, and hanging with her friends.
My husband’s schedule more or less stays the same, except he has to cover for other people who are on vacation, and he gets days off to go to the tournaments.
Writing is pretty much a constant for me, especially since every now and then a short story I’ve forgotten raises its ugly head and demands to be written, as happened this week. Last weekend, I was busy with the page proofs for my short story for the Horror Writers Association anthology, BLOOD LITE. And the edited manuscript for Toni Kelner’s and my anthology, WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE, ran across my desk, too. It becomes frustrating not to be able to devote as much time to each of these things as I would on a more relaxed schedule, but that’s been my life the past few years, and I might as well buckle down and get used to it.
Getting a gentle reminder from Pat Elrod that my story for STRANGE BREW (her witch anthology) was due this month was a real shock to me. I’d had a feeling I was forgetting something lately, pretty much a sure sign of trouble, and then I got her email. (At least I know the source of that niggling feeling of anxiety now.) I had an idea for the story almost immediately, though I’m busy working out the details. As soon as I get the story whipped into shape, I’m back to as yet unnamed Sookie Nine. I estimate I have about 80 pages to go on it; not too bad, except this time last week I also had the same amount of pages to go. I spent the week plugging holes in what I’d already written. It wasn’t time wasted, but it wasn’t time going forward, either. No matter how much revision remains to be done, there’s something about writing “The End” that is incredibly satisfying. Now that pleasure has to be postponed for at least a week.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing short stories. I do. I really do. And it’s refreshing to dip into another character for the Elrod anthology. But it’s another sidetrack.
For the rest of the year, stop me before I say “Yes” to ANYTHING ELSE.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris