Books of the Week

  • The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey
  • The Cases of Susan Dare, Mignon G. Eberhart
  • The Twelve Clues of Christmas, Rhys Bowen

I did read a few more books, but one is a very early ARC of a book that I’m going to blurb, and I didn’t like another one. So here’s my pleasurable reading of the past couple of weeks. Rick Yancey’s first book, classified as young adult, has made a huge splash, and I have to add to that chorus of admiration. The 5th Wave is yet another dystopian teenage survival story, but I think the first fifty pages are some of the most gripping reading I’ve experienced in months. Later in the book, the point of view shifts several times, and the book lost a little of its traction . . . though I think this was a necessary strategy. There’s lots of death, but lots of courage, in this story in which young Cassie, living alone in the woods, decides she must set out to find her little brother. And the surprises are multiple. I highly recommend this book.


I reverted to my mystery roots and settled back with an old Mignon G. Eberhart. There’s a reason Eberhart was so popular and that her books continue to sell, though of course they seem very dated now. Eberhart is a master of conveying a sense of place. Susan Dare, a mystery writer, is sent into houses in which a murder has taken place (or will take place), and somehow the reader is willing to believe this could happen. Her friend and later suitor is a newspaper reporter, and his willingness to leap into action when she calls is nothing short of charming.


The Twelve Clues of Christmas is Rhys Bowen’s most charming “Her Royal Spyness” mystery yet. It’s set in an English country village, the telephone wires are down, there’s snow, it’s Christmas (of course), there’s a country house full of guests . . . well, the book’s just a barrel of fun. Lady Georgiana Rannoch’s love life takes a great leap forward, and she hasn’t yet fired her hapless maid, Queenie. I’m not quite at the end of the book, but I can certainly say this is my favorite of a series I’ve really enjoyed.


This will be a rambling blog, because my mind is too scattered to produce anything like a coherent essay on one thing. June and early July should have been more of a working time for me, but instead I’ve been preoccupied with visitors for happy occasions: our grandson’s baptism, his first birthday, the birthday of our second son . . . and of course, the Fourth of July, or (as I call it) the Day Dogs Spend in Hell.


It’s not surprising that more dogs go missing over the Fourth of July than any other holiday. Nine dogs out of ten are miserable when the fireworks start going off, and if ours weren’t contained by a fence they’d scatter to the winds to try to find a safe place to hide from all the noise. We don’t have enough laps to hold them all, and we’re always relieved when the explosions stop around midnight. I love to watch fireworks, and the noise doesn’t bother me, but it’s becoming hard for me to enjoy the show when I know how frightened they are.Now the reign of terror over, until New Year’s Eve, at least.


That means I need to start thinking about our trip to the UK, only a bit over a week away. It’s going to be cooler (yay!) and rainier (I’ve forgotten what rain looks like). I’m looking forward to the signings my English publisher has booked, to the Harrogate festival, and then to some sight-seeing time with my husband. We don’t get to vacation a lot, and we are really glad when we get to see something different. We’ve been to the UK before, and we’re delighted to be returning.


When we return, the book will be due, and that’s terrifying, because I have a lot left to write. Writing in the third person and from multiple points of view has led to some false starts and some back steps, and I think I’m getting the point where I’m ready to re-launch into new material. Unfortunately (only from a writing aspect) I’ll be in England. Well . . . it’ll get done. I’ve never written a book that wasn’t down to the wire or slightly behind it, and I’m afraid this one will be no exception.


I won’t be blogging again until I return, so stay safe over the summer.


Charlaine Harris