Anyone who has been following along with my Feast of Pages blog has probably picked up on the fact that, of late, I have really been enjoying reading mysteries and serial killer books. They are fast-paced, the good ones feature great characters whose storylines you become invested in, and are flat-out enjoyable. I’m not reading them because I think that they are great literature, a la James Joyce. I KNOW they are not. I read them because they are fun. This is an odd concept for many people when reading. I know quite a few people who are “judgey” about what they read — there are books they flat-out would not be caught reading in public, nor would they ever admit to reading them , ever. And why? If you are reading anything, at least you are reading. You are getting your fill through a wonderful medium, and a “low-brow” book is no different than watching E! television for an hour a day. Or, the Charlie Sheen 20/20 Interview, which I may have watched with rapt attention last night. So, whatever you choose to read, celebrate! You’re reading! Keep it up! Now, on to the ongoing reviews of the books I’ve read in 2011, thus far:
Crime School by Carol O’Connell — I am sad to say that this book has not made it to the “Off the Shelf Challenge” only because I have gotten these from the public library here in Chicago.
Crime School is the 5th book in the Kathy Mallory series by O’Connell, which has been FANTASTIC! O’Connell has created a character in Mallory that is so subversive and interesting that you can’t help but keep reading just to see what she does. I am oftentimes laughing and wondering aloud “what the HELL is wrong with her?” And yet I keep reading. In these books, I’ve actually found that the main storyline of the murder and race to solve it is secondary to Mallory’s character development and interactions with those around her. Crime School opens with a hooker from Mallory’s past found hanging, presumed dead. As the police race to find who attacked her, they realize that this crime can be linked to one nearly forty years ago. At the same time, the killer continues to stalk his victims and strike. Mallory must work against the clock to solve the crime and find the killer. This book was fast-paced (read it in about 2 days) and well-written. However, as I have said, it was the interactions between Mallory and her cast of characters — Riker (her PD partner), Charles Butler (her eccentric millionaire friend, wanna-be lover, and business partner), and Jack Coffey (the exasperated Lieutenant to whom Mallory reports). O’Connell has 9 books in the Kathy Mallory series, and it is uncertain if she is going to be writing more, but this is an author that is well-worth the time to go back and read.
Edge of Evil (Ali Reynolds #1) by J.A. Jance/OTSC #6 (yay!) — I bought this book on the recommendation of my friend Carolyne’s mother, who is an avid mystery reader. She highly recommended Jance as a fast-paced author that weaves a good tale.
Edge of Evil is the first in the Ali Reynolds series (there are several series she has featuring different female protaganists). Reynolds is a mid-40s television reporter in Los Angeles, who is fired for being too old as the book opens. Immediately after being fired, she learns that her husband is a cheating bastard, her best friend has died, and decides to head back to Sedona, Arizona, where she is from, to spend some time with her family. Once Reynolds arrives in Sedona, the shit hits the fan with family, mysteries and people coming after her. Yet another fast-paced read. What I enjoyed about the book was it was a twist as to what happened to the best friend — murder, not suicide (said in a breathy voice), and the murderers came out of left field (at least for me). Some of the writing was a little over the top, and some of the “I am woman, hear me roar” stuff grated on me, but it is the first in a series, and my general rule of thumb is I’ll give an author 3 books to develop the characters and writing style, unless I absolutely HATE the book). Thus, I have gotten have decided the second in this series from my local Borders that is closing (sad, but I’ll take 40% discounts any day of the week!), and am looking forward to reading it.
And finally, Deadly Decisions (Temperance Brennan #3) by Kathy Reichs/OTSC #7 — What can I say about this book, other than that I love the Bones television series, and I really like the books too.
Deadly Decisions focuses on a string of biker deaths that are the latest casualties in the biker war that is plaguing Montreal in the book. Add in a few old corpses of teenage girls, some of whom can be linked to North Carolina, where Brennan is originally from, and you’ve got one helluva good mystery. For me, though, it is Brennan’s relationship (or almost relationship at this stage) with Detective Andrew Ryan (model for Booth in the television show) that is the best part of the storyline. As I was frantically reading this book, I kept wondering what was going to happen to these characters in the future, in the same way I would be doing if I knew these people personally and had some actual investment in their welfare! That, I guess, is the best statement that I can make for the book and the quality of the story and characters. Oh, and that I was at Borders (same going out of business sale) and picked up the next 3 in the series, which are now sitting on my shelf eagerly awaiting being read.