BOOK & BLOG
July 27, 2006
Books of the Week: HIT PARADE, by Lawrence Block & TWELVE SHARP, by Janet Evanovich
I read two good books this week, books I could hardly wait to open. Lawrence Block is one of the most consistent writers I know. Hes been writing for decades, and he never fails to deliver. His latest, HIT PARADE, is his third book about hit man Keller. Kellers inner pathology is not obvious; in fact, in the first Keller novel, he seemed like the sanest person Id ever met between the pages of a book. But Block is revealing Kellers damaged emotional system bit by bit. Keller is sane, and he is a likeable guy. But theres something dead right in the middle of him.
Keller is first and foremost a problem solver, and he solves a number of them in this book. The Keller books are episodic, but each group of stories has a theme. Block is so smooth you dont see him dancing, but dance he does.
The second book of the week is Janet Evanovichs latest, TWELVE SHARP. I always enjoy Stephanies adventures, though I have long wished she would get a little more competent at her job; I get tired of the men in her life laughing at her. In TWELVE Stephanie seems all too aware of her shortcomings. Even her sidekick Lula remarks on what poor bounty hunters they are, and Lula is capable of a lot of self-delusion. And Grandma Mazur, who started out a delightful character, is getting more and more unbelievable. However, Ranger and Morelli are still the two guys you most want on your speed dial, and I like the new couple running Stivas. Its fun to hate the loathsome Joyce Barnhardt, too. Ill always read a new book by Evanovich.
Ive been doing two things lately; working and . . . working some more. ALL TOGETHER DEAD is due on my editors desk quite soon, and this is after I got an extension on my deadline. I hate being late, and I hate writing in hurry, and this month I get to do both. A number of things have contributed to my lateness; my tour, my other travels, my mothers ill health, and so on. Real life, in other words. I have never liked being late for anything airplanes, classes, movies, weddings, you name it. This past three years, though, Im getting used to the situation.
I appreciate my family and my readers helping me out more than I can say. This past week, I expected a reporter at my home to do a story for a newspaper. When I looked at my home, I found this frankly terrifying. It wouldnt bother a lot of people after all, hes coming to do a story on me as a writer, not as a housekeeper. But I must have a wide old-fashioned streak. I was horrified.
There were snowdrifts of papers and junk piled up at points around the house. The house wasnt dirty, but there was this deep disorder. I asked the kids to help, and they did. Things got put away, and the stuff that remained was put in order or thrown in the garbage. I went through a lot of assorted papers before I went to the office to work in the morning, and my daughter and son straightened a lot when they were given a specific task. Even my hard-working husband pitched in when he had a little time. Okay, I held a gun to head, but . . . no, really, he helped.
My readers have been forming a fan club, and they have helped tremendously in keeping the website running and in good order; saying the things I get tired of saying, like Please check the FAQs, or This topic has already been discussed, just check the Search function.
In the end, the house was in much better shape, and I was, too. I didnt realize how the disorder had nagged at me until it went away.
And in the end, his truck broke down, and he had to cancel. My kids were really bummed out, because theyd done so much work, but I just felt glad it had gotten done. Hell reschedule, or he wont. In the meantime, Im enjoying the results of our hurried house-cleaning.
Hey, I can see my desk. I knew it was made of wood . . .
® 2010 Charlaine Harris