BOOK & BLOG
February 6, 2009
Books of the Week
I was lucky this week, with two excellent books, plus a great manuscript by Rob Thurman for a novel that’ll be out in September.
I really enjoyed Justin Gustainis’s BLACK MAGIC WOMAN, so I was pleased to get a copy of EVIL WAYS. Here’s the thing I think EVIL WAYS is much better, and BLACK MAGIC WOMAN was a good book. (I’ve got to comment that I think the cover is silly, but that’s just me.) Once again, investigator Quincey Morris teams with witch Libby Chastain to track down the killer of several white witches. The trail leads right to Walter Grobius, a billionaire (no one’s content to be a millionaire any more) who’s very unwisely hired a black witch to prolong his miserable life. The black witch, in turn, unwisely believes he can handle the powers he’s raising.
Morris and Chastain are lucky to have killer Hannah Widmark on their side. They’re also lucky that greed overwhelms good sense. This is a fast-paced book full of adventure, some of it very unpleasant and genuinely frightening.
Patricia Briggs has never failed me yet, and BONE CROSSED is no exception to the rule. I did wish I’d at least read the ending of the previous book before I started BONE CROSSED, because I would have been able to plunge in more thoroughly with trying to remember details. This is not the book to pick up if you haven’t read any of the Mercy Thompson series. If you haven’t read these books before, I envy you, because you have a lot of good reading ahead. Mercy, as always, is complex, determined, loyal, and a great mechanic.
She takes as much of a beating every book as my Sookie does, or Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden. Maybe they could take out a group insurance policy?
I’ve talked about Rob Thurman’s books before. I was delighted to get the chance to read TRICK OF THE LIGHT, which will be September paperback release. Put it on your calendars. This is the debut of a new series, with female protagonist Trixa Iktomi. Trixa is more than she seems, and so are her friends. The ending of this book genuinely startled me, and that’s not so easy to do.
A busy week on the home front. I spoke to a creative writing class at the local college, new dog Scrunch had her broken hip repaired (as much as possible), and Daughter went to view yet another prospective college. And that was just one day.
Most of this week was taken up with finishing a short story for the Mystery Writers of America anthology I’m editing. I had a good idea for a Dahlia short story, and I completed it on schedule . . . only to find that I’d read the specs for another short story I have to write, and I was two thousand words over. I tend to write short, so this was an unprecedented situation. I actually had a third of another short story to spare, if only I could have used it! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
It was actually fun to do the trimming, because I so seldom get to cut. Padding is more my norm. I took a nip here, a tuck there, cut out a plot development or two, and voila! Only 158 extra words, and since I’m the editor, maybe they’ll let me keep them.
Next I have to start my short story for the anthology Toni L.P. Kelner and I are assembling, DEATH’S EXCELLENT VACATION. I doubt I’ll run over on that one; but now that I’ve gotten the knack of cutting, I wouldn’t mind.
Speaking of writing long my moderators have recently become concerned that very long posts call all “conversation” on the site to a temporary halt. We’ve been emailing back and forth discussing the idea. We concluded that we’d ask posters will keep their messages short and to the point. Sometimes it’s impossible to make your case with brevity, but please give it a try.
As long as I’m talking about posting, I wanted to thank all of you for showing so much respect to each other. I’m proud of this website, and I want all my readers to know it. I hope this website never descends to the level of others I’ve visited, where one group gangs together to shout down the opinions of another. Respectfully disagreeing is the norm here, and I hope it stays that way. I’m glad you’re here, and I hope you visit often.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris