Books & Blog: February 19, 2018

  • Hater and One of Us Will be Dead by Morning, David Moody
  • Killman Creek, Rachel Caine
  • Lake Silence, Anne Bishop
  • The Traitor’s Story, Kevin Wignall
  • Unwifeable, Mandy Stadtmiller

 

David Moody’s books are about unloveable people in terrible situations – at least these two books. In Moody’s world, a virus causing people to snap and turn into bloodthirsty killers (Haters) is ripping society apart. It seems odd to me that the victims of this virus are not called “Fearers,” because that’s much more accurate. They fear that everyone they see will kill them unless they strike first. Haters is the original book, and the protagonist is one of them. One of Us Will be Dead by Morning is set on a remote island where a corporation has scheduled its group retreat, by a ghastly coincidence. These are atmospheric and sparely written.

 

Rachel Caine’s Stillhouse Lake was a wonderful thriller, and Killman Creek is a wonderful sequel. Gwen Proctor is still trying to save her children from her serial killer husband, but they’ve been outed to the little community where they’ve settled. Almost no one believes Gwen’s protest that the evidence for her complicity is manufactured. Luckily, Gwen is steely enough to bounce dimes off of, and her resolve to defeat her ex remains undaunted. But she sure doesn’t have enough help . . .

 

I can’t tell you how excited I was to receive an advance copy of Lake Silence, Anne Bishop’s newest book set in the world of the Others. Vicki DeVine, the protagonist of Lake Silence, is a far cry from Meg Corbyn, the young prophet of Written in Red. Vicki is more like Everywoman, and she has no supernatural talents at all. But Vicki wins our hearts by being a survivor of a bullying marriage, by being a whimsical and kind woman, and by being remarkably quick on the uptake. When Vicki’s former husband resorts to underhanded means to reclaim the property he thought was worthless and ceded to her in the divorce, Vicki’s allies help her fight back. And some of her allies are truly scary. You’ll enjoy this book tremendously.

 

Kevin Wignall has a talent for making his characters sympathetic, no matter if they’re hitmen, thieves, or money launderers. The Traitor’s Story opens with popular history writer Finn Harrigan discovering his lover has left him, and that the teenager, Hailey, living in the apartment building has gone missing. Her parents, who think Finn is a former spy, ask him to help find their daughter. This is just the beginning of a very tangled web, which Finn has to unravel to save his own life, and Hailey’s.

 

I was astonished to be asked to blurb Unwifeable. And it made me feel old. Many Stadtmiller is a famous blogger, but unknown to me because I mostly read book fiction. At first I was bewildered as to why I’d been asked, until Mandy herself wrote me the most incredibly charming letter telling me I’d helped her through some dark times. There’s no greater compliment. I learned from her book just how dark those times were: drinking, drugs, reckless behavior, eating disorders. It is a true relief to follow her through these terrible times and into the safe harbor she’s found.

 

Blog

 

As those of you who check my Facebook page already know, two big things happened the same week this February. “Midnight, Texas” was renewed and I could talk about it publicly, and my gallbladder went bad. I was vaguely aware I had a gallbladder, but as far as I knew it was just sitting quietly inside doing its job.

 

Then it wasn’t. One horrible Friday night, my dear husband drove me to the emergency room. We were both pretty anxious. I was in horrible pain, the kind where you make little noises because you have to. After a not too terrible wait, we were in a room, and the admissions nurse, who was nicer to me the more I was nice to her, gave me morphine. It was also my first experience with morphine.

 

(Which, by the way, deserves its reputation for being an aggressive painkilling drug. But you can feel it moving through your body every centimeter, which is scary, and if you fall asleep, your dreams are horrendous. Just saying.)

 

An ultrasound showed the gallstones, but they weren’t blocking . . . oh, well, no need to go into the grisly details. I was sent home to see my surgeon Monday morning. Whether they suggested I stay or not, I am not sure. But in hindsight, I should have.

 

Went to a surgeon Monday, was wheeled from his office right over to the hospital, admitted, operated upon the next morning. Just in the nick of time, apparently.

 

So I’m recuperating, and it’s a slow process. I attribute that to my age, my unfitness, and the fact that I was really, really sick. I’m super lucky that I have a great husband and a church family. But I am creeping along, and that’s what you can expect for a while. Thanks for understanding, and keep in touch with odd things happening in your body! Don’t ignore them.

 

Charlaine Harris