BOOK & BLOG
October 1, 2012
Since I’m heading for Bouchercon, the world mystery convention, later this week, I read a lot of mysteries in preparation for my visit. It’s absolutely no surprise that I read A Wanted Man very quickly, since I’m a huge Lee Child fan. While this is straight-up Jack Reacher, I have to confess that I simply did not get the bad-guy plot. Color me confused. However, any Lee Child book is a good book, and now that his protagonist is aging, he is resonating even more with me. It’s like Reacher is becoming unwrapped.
Since Denise Swanson is a long-time friend of mine, of course I had to read her latest Scumble River book, though I have yet to get down to her new series, which got buried in a landslide of my TBR pile. Murder of a Cat’s Meow was on top, so I was forced (right!) to gobble it down. You’ll be glad to know that Skye is actually about to marry the police chief; they’ve set a date! In this episode of Skye’s story, Bunny Reid schedules a cat show/dating game in her bowling alley, and that’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. Bunny is not my favorite character (I want to slap her upside the head), but Skye is always fun.
Chelsea Cain pretty much exploded on the mystery scene with her first novel about task force leader Archie Sheridan and the serial killer he’s obsessed with, Gretchen Lowell. To call Archie and Gretchen’s relationship unhealthy is to understate the case by about a hundred. It’s pretty damn sick. I have not read the first two books in this series, but in Evil at Heart, the two have struck a bargain of sorts. Gretchen is free, Archie is in a mental hospital and refuses to leave, but when people start turning up dead Gretchen-style, Archie is forced back into action. These books are compelling and suspenseful.
Brad Parks’ latest books about Carter Ross, investigative report in Newark, NJ, is engaging. The subplot is intricate, and Carter himself is a likeable, if occasionally clueless, man. In Eyes of the Innocent the reporter is saddled with Sweet Thang, the daughter of a friend of the publisher, who longs to be a reporter herself. Sweet Thang is hopelessly unsuited to the job, but amazingly, Carter discovers there’s more to her than he’d ever expected. When they’re investigating the fire death of two children, they discover the mom, alive and distraught, in the ruins of the house, and the story begins to unfold. Fast-paced and engaging.
Alison Gaylin’s and she was is solidly plotted and moves at a great pace. Private Investigator Brenna Spector is burdened with a rare neurological disorder. She can remember every moment of every day of her life. Unfortunately, she can be cast back into these memories unexpectedly and miss a bit of what’s going on currently. Spector, divorced and a mom, is a very real character with very real problems. I really, really, liked this book, and there were lots of twists and turns in this story of a suburban wife whose rash words to a little girl have unexpected consequences forever. I highly recommend this book.
Success came late in life to me, and I may savor it all the more keenly for that. After years of making no money, barely hanging on to being a published writer, I finally achieved a measure of job security. I don’t take it for granted.
I’m often asked – in various ways – “What’s the most wonderful thing about being a best-selling writer?” I don’t even have to think twice about the answer.
In all honesty, I can tell you the two things I love the most. Here they are: I get to buy any book I want, and I get to meet other writers all the time. These are two cool things. I enjoy the hell out of both of them.
And because of the all the writers I meet and like, there’s a never-ending stream of new books to read. I’m always behind. I like it that way. I have nightmares about being stuck in a long-term situation with nothing to read. What if my elevator sticks? What if I’m on a Ferris wheel and it stops turning? What if I finish my book and my plane has to circle for forty-five minutes? I can only read “American Way” so many times.
That’s why I carry an ereader when I travel. I simply can’t run out. I save the airline magazine for take-off and touch-down, and in between I work my way through the complete works of Mary Roberts Rinehart, or something much more current.
I didn’t come to this decision easily. But since I can’t make other writers fly with me to entertain me with their intelligent remarks and observations, and I can’t pack enough books to safely buffer me from the horror of running out of print, I was forced to purchase an ereader, in self-defense. My alternative was hiring someone to carry a suitcase full of books around with me. Since my poor assistant/best friend/ travelling companion Paula already has enough to do, the ereader was the answer.
Now that I can go meet with other writers quite often, and get an influx of new reading recommendations, and I have the means to carry almost infinite reading material in my purse . . . well, life couldn’t get any better. Besides, when I return home, my bookcase is waiting. And it’s full.
© 2012 Charlaine Harris