BOOK & BLOG
January 1, 2009
Books of the Week:
Many of the books I’ve been reading lately have been long ones. Rickman’s mystery is the longest of these three, and initially I was sure I’d get tired of it and put it aside after seventy pages . . . but that didn’t happen. I was really delighted to finish WINE, which was recommended to me by friend and fellow writer Marcia Talley. Rickman’s book features new Church of England priest Merrily Watkins, who’s come to take up her new parish, Ledwardine, a picturesque village that is in the center of apple-raising farmland. Ledwardine and its people are much more complicated than they seem, and while there’s a strong supernatural element in WINE, the story line is mostly pure mystery. Widow Merrily is accompanied by her teenage daughter Jane, who gets into a little more trouble than teenagers normally do, and of course there are the usual local characters to add color and suspense to the narrative. There are some very intense passages in this book, and it’s a wonderful read for mystery fans. If you like this one, there are more Merrily Watkins books you can get.
Kelley Armstrong is a guaranteed good read, and I don’t say that lightly. She can’t write a bad book. There are some of her works that I prefer over others, but I think that’s true of any writer. This offering features her werewolf thief, Karl Marsten, and Hope, the half-demon who loves him. Hope’s friend Robyn, a fairly recent widow, has been public relations woman for a celebrity, Portia Kane, who’s somewhat on the order of Paris Hilton. Portia is murdered when they’re out clubbing, and Robyn uncharacteristically panics. She sure looks guilty, and Hope and Karl become involved in trying to extricate Robyn from the mess she’s in. The villain of this book, Adele, is very disturbing, and though we’ve seen Hope’s unpleasant weakness before (as a half-demon of the chaos variety, Hope is thrilled by really awful things, quite involuntarily) her reactions still hold a certain ‘ick’ factor. LIVING WITH THE DEAD has a certain amount of grit; it’s well worth the reading.
THE MESSENGER is an atypical non-conventional mystery by the very respected Jan Burke. I have known Jan for years, and admired her very much. THE MESSENGER was a complete surprise to me. It’s a supernatural thriller featuring Tyler Hawthorne, born in the seventeen hundreds, still alive and still pursuing his mission: to convey the words of the dying to the living seated by their beds. Tyler is accompanied by his only companion to have survived the centuries with him, a cemetery dog named Shade. Tyler slowly becomes friends with a young woman who lives close to him, Amanda Clarke, who has a secret of her own she’s haunted by the ghosts of her parents. There are a lot of coincidences in the plot, but THE MESSENGER is satisfying and exciting in its unusual premise and its interesting characters. I wish Tyler Hawthorne had been around at moments in my life.
The first blog of the New Year! Who knows what’ll happen in 2009? I have some pretty good ideas, but I try not to count on anything as certain.
The biggest news in my professional life is that after years of procrastination, I’ve hired a personal assistant. Paula has been a close friend for years, so we both had some misgivings about changing our relationship, but frankly, she’s perfect for the job. Paula is really smart, loves to read, has come to understand the publishing business, and is well acquainted with My Little Ways. She likes me anyway.
The painstaking thoroughness with which Paula handled the Closet Sale convinced me that she would be great in the job and convinced us both that we could work together. So she’s hanging up her shingle. Her email address (email@example.com) will be the contact address here on the website, and she’ll field requests for signings, interviews, and other miscellaneous stuff. Most of these will simply be forwarded to whoever should handle them (my agent, my publicist) or brought to my attention.
This year will see the publication of DEAD AND GONE, an occasionally grim, but very exciting, entry in the Sookie Stackhouse chronicles. The next Sookie will be lighter -- at least, that’s my plan.
My publisher is hoping to get the Sookie Companion book off the ground this year, though the publication date has yet to be finalized, and the collection of novellas called MUST LOVE HELLHOUNDS will be released in the summer. In addition to my entry, which is about the Britlingens, HELLHOUNDS will include works by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, and Meljean Brook, all rising paranormal writers. And GRAVE SECRETS, the fourth Harper Connelly, will appear in October . . . if I ever finish it. Really, I will. Soon. For sure.
In “True Blood” news, we’re all hoping that the Golden Globe nominations pay off in wins. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks. Maybe those will pave the way for Emmy nominations for the fantastic cast, crew, and production staff. The DVD of Season One will be out in May, and Season Two will begin in June on HBO. I’m waiting with as much anticipation as any of you, and I know a lot of surprises are in store.
Do I have any New Year’s resolutions? No. I have hopes and fears for 2009, but I hate to make promises to myself that I may not keep. I hope all of you are as full of anticipation as I am, and I wish you all a wonderful 2009.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris