BOOK & BLOG
May 17, 2012
Books of the Week:
While I’m on the road, I use my e-reader, so these were read in that format. When I’m at home, I prefer to hold an actual book in my hands; but saving the suitcase room and weight is really convenient for me. I led off this tour with The Dig, which is a thriller about a touch psychic . . . that is, someone who can read the history of an object by holding it. Matthew Turner, a geeky young man who has recently made a lot of money by finding a buried treasure by this method, is called in to hold a strange artifact discovered by the unscrupulous Garett Rheese in Africa. The origin of the artifact is strange beyond believe, and the trouble unfolds in multiple layers. I was compelled to finish this book, which argues for Michael Siemsen’s storytelling ability. There’s an elephant episode that I still don’t quite understand, so if you read The Dig, tell me what you think.
Robert Crais is a huge favorite of mine. I had a totally fan-girl evening when bffpaula and I sat with Bob and his wonderful wife at a dinner. Forgotten Man is the story of detective Elvis Cole’s past search for his father and the man who is found dead in an alley who tells a police officer that Cole is his son, with his dying breath. This complex and touching novel covers a lot of emotional ground. Elvis is the central character, but there are others we know from other books: Carol Starkey, the bomb expert who loves Elvis, Lucy, who’s given him up, and Joe Pike, Elvis’s best friend. Any book by Crais is worth a reader’s full attention, and Forgotten Man, Elvis’s investigation of the man who said he was his father, is suspenseful, touching, and elegantly written.
Like many George R.R. Martin enthusiasts, I’ve been watching “Game of Thrones” on HBO. I was excited to get a jump ahead of the program. Let’s hope the series gets a re-up, because A Storm of Swords, the third book, is full of action, war, and death. Hoo-boy . . . a lot of death. And as you might guess from the title, these are not timely or gentle deaths, either. I resisted reading Martin for a couple of years, but now that I bowed to public wisdom and plunged in, I can’t stop. His world and voice are absolutely impeccable. I can’t say anything better than that.
The war in our yard began before we moved our dogs into our new home. We noticed some strange birds running across the ground and gradually realized that they were roadrunners – presumably, a male and female. They are remarkably fearless and bold, and they almost never fly. They certainly don’t look like the cartoon version who entertained us when we were small, but they have a certain elan that is really reminiscent of The Roadrunner who made Coyote’s life hell.
And these roadrunners are doing the same thing to our dogs.
Though we enclose a large area of our yard with a lovely iron-and-brick fence, it’s no barrier to the roadrunners. They are so slim they slip between the bars with ease, and since they’re not wearing a shock collar like the one we had to put on Scrunch, they dash across the yard at incredible speed . . . or they move slowly across, apparently trying to make our four dogs go insane. They seem to know when Rocky, Oscar, Scrunch, and Colt are inside, and they time their appearances accordingly. When our dogs are all but throwing themselves at the glass-paned door, we let them out, and they dash across the ground at top speed. (In Scrunch’s case, that’s pretty darn fast. Poor arthritic Rocky is slower.)
But they’re never able to catch the birds, though they’ve come close once or twice. The roadrunners pelt towards the fence on the opposite side and then they’re safe, while the dogs are barking at full voice, trapped. On a memorable day, one of the birds actually had to fly to the lower branches of a small tree to escape Colt, who was a couple of yards closer when he began pursuing the arch-fiends.
I haven’t noticed Oscar making out an invoice to send to Acme yet, but I feel that will happen any day. Then we’ll have to cope with the full range of Coyote implements of destruction. Until then, we’re putting up with the hysterical barking and the demands to be let out right now.
© 2012 Charlaine Harris