BOOK & BLOG
June 19, 2006
Books of the Week
This week I finished two books, wildly divergent in intention and style. The first was THE LAST TRUE STORY ILL EVER TELL by John Crawford. Its a first person account written by a young man in the Florida National Guard, who was sent to Iraq and deployed there long after he should have been shipped home. Crawford is not long on writing skills, I have to say, but his ruthless sincerity is scathing. Poorly equipped and poorly led, Crawford is finally returned to America floating on pharmaceuticals and bitterness. Its an eye-opening, saddening, book.
I also read my friend Elaine Viets MURDER UNLEASHED. Ive written about Elaine before; she actually takes the dead-end jobs she writes about, the jobs her flying-under-the-legal-radar protagonist, Helen Hawthorne, has to take. In this latest installment of Helens misadventures, shes working at a pet products and pet grooming store. Helen has a big secret to hide, and in UNLEASHED, the life shes built for herself in southern Florida is threatening to crumble unless she makes the leap of confiding in the new friends shes made. Elaines great at drawing little character sketches with a few words, and shes observed plenty of weird characters in her string of jobs. Though perhaps not the most tightly plotted book out of the series, UNLEASHED is a fun read. I always enjoy visiting Helens life and finding out what trouble shes run into.
Blogging seems to be taking over the world. Are our thoughts really that interesting? I think (probably) not. And yet, here I am, blogging on my own website and that of my newsletter group, the Femmes Fatales.
Many years ago, a writer named Deb Adams intelligently figured out that we could put out a newsletter as a group much more cheaply than as individuals. She gathered together a group of us who wrote traditional mysteries, and with a volunteer editor (Megan Bladen-Blinkhoff, a great woman) we began producing our quarterly newsletter. The Femmes set off a trend, and there are quite a few newsletter groups now, as well as blogging groups based on the same premise. Weve rocked along for years, though our list of members has changed a few times, as writers come and go. Our dear Elizabeth Daniels Squire went for good, and we still mourn her passing. Some of us retired, or got a new job we preferred, or just got pushed out of the writing scene by that awful random force that seems to rule the writing world.
Deb went, unfortunately, but I still keep track of her through friends, and every now and then I get to see her. I hear shes writing fiction again, which is a very pleasant occurrence. Marlys Milhiser and Toni Kelner are still with me, from the original list. Now the Femmes number among them Donna Andrews, Elaine Viets, Dana Cameron, Mary Saums, Kris Neri, and Julie Wray Herman -- fine writers and good friends, every one.
http://femmesfatales.typepad.com/ is where you can find our bloggings. Check in to see us every now and then, and find out what were thinking about. I hope its worth a moment of your time.
Somehow it seems like cheating to write a blog for my website about blogging Im doing elsewhere, but I seem to have done it anyway.
Just to give you a smattering of something else, Ill tell you how I spent my weekend: getting rained on. My daughter was playing in a fast-pitch softball tournament, and it rained, and then it poured, and then it rained some more. We came home weary and damp, and now we have our folding chairs and umbrellas and shoes spread out in the carport. Being dry is a wonderful thing. This is the second tournament that has been rained out. But such is the devotion of parents, next weekend look for me somewhere at a softball field in the south, clutching my big tote bag full of bandages, hair care products, contact lens solutions, and . . . an umbrella.
® 2010 Charlaine Harris