BOOK & BLOG
September 26, 2011
Books of the Week:
I know, I know, it’s been a long time since I’ve written a Book & Blog, and I’m very behind. So let me fill you in on what I’ve been reading. Mostly, I’ve been catching up on favorite authors who are continuing their series: Jeaniene Frost, Jeanne C. Stein, and Jim Butcher fall into that category. Since Cat & Bones, Anna Strong, and Harry Dresden are among my favorite characters in urban fantasy, of course I read these most recent books and enjoyed them.
Since Jim Butcher and I have long had a contest to see who could treat their main characters most harshly, I have to say that I simply concede. Jim wins, hands down. I’m throwing in the towel. Ghost (the title says it all) is every bit as excellent as the other books in the series, and like all his other readers I’m simply waiting to see what happens next.
One Grave at a Time is not the strongest in the series, but Frost always thinks of interesting developments in Cat’s exploration of her new powers. The villain this time is an especially loathsome ghost, and there’s a neat twist that was quite unexpected. Cat’s cat (ha!) Helsing really earns his keep, and so does a new character, Tyler the medium, and his dog.
Anna Strong continues to do the unexpected in Crossroads. Jeanne Stein’s creation Anna, a human-turned-vampire, continues to try to keep her family safe, keep the secret of vampire existence exactly that – secret – and to assert her dominance now that she’s been named Chosen. Anna has a busy, busy life, and the obligations just keep piling on. A visit to a Navajo reservation turns into more of a learning experience than Anna has ever anticipated.
Lee Child’s Jack Reacher short story, Second Son, was available to download on my e-reader, which I use when I travel. Like everything else Lee writes, it’s just great, and reveals more and more about one of the dominant protagonists in crime fiction.
Reginald Hill has been writing very good mysteries for a long time. If you haven’t read a book by Hill, you really aren’t into crime fiction; but I hope you’ll take the plunge. His people are three-dimensional, his plots credible, and his intelligence obvious. I haven’t finished The Woodcutter yet, but it’s hard to put down.
My friend Dana Cameron just won the Anthony and the Macavity for the short story “Swing Shift,” written for the Mystery Writers of America anthology Crimes by Moonlight. Since I was the editor, I’ll gladly accept a slap on the back, but to Dana goes the credit for an amazing story. Another one of her stories is in Cape Code Noir, an Akashic anthology. I enjoyed “Ardent” very much, and I’m reading a story a day from this collection.
I have more to blog about today than I can shake a stick at (an old southern expression).
I could reflect on Bouchercon and all the old friends I got to see there. I could tell you how great it felt to be a guest of honor at the world mystery convention. I could brag about the Bowling for Vampires bowling team, who labored long at the bowling alley. I could describe the fun we had at the Charlatans luncheon, and thank all the people who made that happen.
Or I could describe how a misunderstood post of mine on Facebook caused a big kerfuffle, and reflect on the big shortcoming of internet posting: it doesn’t convey intonation and facial expression, which go very far in interpreting what you’re saying to the audience, whoever that audience may be.
I could rehash my event with Laurell K. Hamilton, a one-of-a-kind evening that raised a lot of money for the St. Louis Library.
I could detail our four dogs’ horror when Daughter brought home her new puppy Jackson, an English bulldog, and their delight when Daughter took Jackson back to her apartment.
And I could also tell you what a relief it is to have completed the editorial changes on DEADLOCKED and to have sent it back again to my editor.
I’ll just condense all this. I’m glad to be home, though I had a great time in St. Louis, a weekend I’ll never forget. I’ll also never post on Facebook again without very careful consideration. Lesson learned. I’m still pleased that Laurell and I were able to offer a unique evening, and do a good deed in the process. Our dogs are still terrified they’ll find the little bulldog around every corner and have to share with him. And I’m sure there’ll be further odds and ends to correct on DEADLOCKED.
But for now, all’s well; and I hope you all are content, too.
© 2011 Charlaine Harris