BOOK & BLOG
January 18, 2010
Books of the Week:
I’m always ready to read a new Carrie Vaughn. Her latest Kitty Norville novel is quite a change of pace. In Kitty’s House of Horrors, Vaughn’s werewolf dj is talked into appearing in a “Big Brother” situation with other unusual people, like a magician she befriended in the last book, two vampires, a psychic, and another shapeshifter . . . plus one very irritating unbeliever. The format is predictable; they’ll all be lodged together in a big remote house and filmed while going through their paces. Of course, such is Kitty’s luck, this does not turn out to be the agenda of the filmmakers at all. Kitty’s husband Ben is offstage for most of this one, and Kitty proves even more resourceful than I’d expected on her own.
It’s no secret that Toni L.P. Kelner is a very good friend of mine. But that’s no reason for me to skip mentioning her excellent novel, Who Killed the Pinup Queen?, the second installation in Toni’s “Where Are They Now?” series. Tilda Harper is a freelance reporter who sells most of her articles to entertainment magazines. She’s an expert in the formerly famous, and research is her delight. Tilda loves to dig with a terrier-like enthusiasm. She can found out almost anything about anybody, and in this mystery her research into fifties pinup queens collides with her research into a western series that was a big hit for a few seasons. I really enjoyed this book, and Tilda’s terrible luck with roommates is an amusing extra touch.
Me and My Shadow is Katie MacAlister’s latest silver dragon book. I’ve enjoyed May’s adventures as she bonds with her dragon mate, Gabriel, as much as I did Aisling’s with her green dragon mate, Drake. Jim the demon is his usual irritating self, and Magoth, now in service to May, is always around at the most inopportune time. I think it would be better to read the preceding books in the series to get full enjoyment out of this entry, but don’t skip it. MacAlister is always great fun.
I’d never read Dan Vining before. Among the Living is billed as a cross between Raymond Chandler and Stephen King, and I’ve got to say that’s a very accurate description. This book contains two Jimmy Miles novels, “The Quick” and “The Next.” Jimmy is not exactly living, but he’s not dead, either, and in his world there are a lot of creatures in that situation. Some of them are benevolent, like Jimmy and his friend Angel, but some of them are definitely evil. Jimmy’s involvement with the living and his struggle to stay good in the face of the overwhelming grayness of his life are great reading, and these books are full of surprises.
Minneapolis wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be. I was there overnight to have dinner with some people I owe big-time; the buying staff of Target. I was able to present them with a certificate thanking them for selling a million “units” of Sookie Stackhouse. (They haven’t quite gotten there yet, but we figure they will, maybe this week.) It was a very good meal at The Capital Grill, where the service was excellent, the food beautiful and delicious, and the company excellent. As my connection at Penguin who organized the dinner said, “I bet you’ve never travelled this far for a meal.” And that was absolutely true, but in this case it was a pleasure.
At the end of this week, I go to my engagement at Columbia Library in Augusta, Georgia, another quick trip. I always enjoy visiting Georgia, and I’m looking forward to meeting and greeting.
In my own office, I’m working on editing and writing material for the Sookie Companion book. It’s leaping ahead, thank goodness. Several people are working on this, but I feel obliged to read all the articles going in it and I can’t resist editing a little, though I’m not the chief editor on this project.
Toni Kelner and I will be getting our ducks in a row for the next anthology soon, and we’re always giddy with excitement when we start another project. The anthologies have been a lot of fun, and Toni and I are still friends, both uncertain prospects when we began working together.
Then, of course, I’ll have to start the next Sookie. I’m amassing notes for this, and I’m going to try to work in a more orderly fashion this time. That’s what I say every time I start a book, and most often my good intentions fly out of the window when the book begins moving fast. I hope this time I can still to my resolutions! I’m always trying to write a better book.
That’s what’s happening at my house. We’re (temporarily, at least) peaceful and busy. I wish the same for you.
© 2010 Charlaine Harris