BOOK & BLOG
June 23, 2008
Books of the Week: ASHES AND BONES, Dana Cameron, NOTHING TO LOSE, Lee Child
I reread a book this week, my friend Dana Cameron’s ASHES AND BONES. This book won the 2007 Anthony for Best Paperback Original, and when you read it, you’ll understand why. Dana’s books about archaeologist Emma Fielding are uniformly excellent, and AAB is a super read. The beginning is puzzling, at first. Emma and her husband are on vacation in Hawaii, and Emma should be really happy. She needs the vacation. But instead, Emma seems on the verge of collapsing into a serious depression. Since Emma’s a real achiever intelligent, attractive, capable, happily married, professionally successful what could be wrong?
We gradually find out, as bad things start to happen to people Emma loves, befriends, or simply likes. Some of the things are annoying anonymous flowers sent to her mother in law, steaks sent to her father but some of them are much more serious and frightening. Emma’s friend’s baby is threatened. A favorite painting is stolen. A favorite aide is viciously attacked, and a security guard dies. But no one seems to believe Emma, even her husband, when she tells them who’s after her.
I’ve always had a particular horror for “no one believes me” books and movies. Maybe I just take the protagonist’s position too much to heart, because I suffer for them in an unpleasantly personal way. It took a lot for me to plunge again into AAB, but I have to tell you, it was worth the trouble. It’s a great read, and you’ll want to pick up all the other Emma Fielding books.
Anyone who visits my Book and Blog at all regularly will know that Lee Child is a favorite writer of mine. Not only do I have all his books, I never miss a chance to hear him speak, either. I have been to several panels featuring Child at various mystery conventions, and I have never been disappointed or bored.
NOTHING TO LOSE is Child’s latest Jack Reacher adventure, and as usual the big ex-Army MP is up against major evil. Reacher has a moral code (though it wouldn’t suit most of us), and he also has no fear. Add that to Reacher’s extreme capability and physical skills, and you’ve got formidable opponent. I don’t want to ruin NTL for anyone, but let me just say that it pits Jack Reacher against the entire town of Despair, Colorado. Gee, I wonder who’ll win?
Sometimes the business of being a writerm and the business of living, gets in the way of actually writing the books. This has been a week filled with business and very little of my true work. I lost Monday as a workday because my daughter and I were driving back from a tournament in Memphis. Her team won: thank you for asking. I made an impulse stop at a wonderful, wonderful jewelry store, Sissy’s Log Cabin, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Sissy’s may sound rural as all get-out; but let me tell you, if you want serious jewelry, this is the place to go. It’s like Aladdin’s cave. Everything glitters or gleams. It was lucky I had my daughter with me to keep me grounded. She told me after we left that if I’d looked at a $7,000 necklace one more time, she was going to clobber me. I couldn’t help it! The saleswoman held it up, said she only had one, and it glittered and it was gorgeous and . . .
SLAP! Okay, I feel better now.
Though I didn’t seriously consider buying the necklace, I did get my ears pierced again, though my mother tells me I am too old for that kind of foolishness, and I also (doubtless foolishly) got a couple of pairs of earrings for the new piercing.
After that distraction, I worked the next day on polishing a short story I’d had to write in a hurry because I forgot it was due. That took care of Tuesday; that, and big back-and-forth with my publisher about whether or not I could go to ComiCon to be on a panel with Alan Ball and Anna Paquin, in July. I finally found the date didn’t actually conflict with our daughter’s World Series, so I agreed to go, after several phone calls and a slew of emails.
Wednesday, I had a long-standing date to take a friend to the doctor in Little Rock. I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to her, though sorry the occasion had to take place under such circumstances. That effectively used up the day.
Thursday I worked, but the bug guy came, and I had to work a meal around my daughter’s practice schedule. Also, I got the first two episodes of “True Blood” via Fed Ex and had to watch them because the HBO people want to set up some interviews for the show.
Today, Friday, I’m mowing down smaller projects, having finished the changes on the short story, which will go out today.
Though I try not to work on weekends, that rule has pretty much gone by the wayside in the past couple of years. However, tomorrow is a big day in our household, since our son comes home, out of the Army at last. His service was spent in Alaska, and we are glad to have him home. Three times he was scheduled for Iraq, and three times it didn’t happen.
I hope this next week sees more actual work going out, and less distraction coming in. Frankly, I think this is far more typical of a writer’s week than the picture of the writer sitting every day in front of the computer, working solidly from breakfast to lunch, then from lunch to dinner, coming into the house to a fine meal and a game of backgammon with a trusty minion.
Not only is my sole minion in Wisconsin, I’m far from certain she can play backgammon.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris