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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Try to Catch "Catch Me"

I have been out of town for about a week. While at a conference, I read the advance reader's copy of Catch Me by Lisa Gardner. I have to be in a certain mood to read Gardner because she tends to be fairly gritty. The summary of this book made me think it might be grittier than usual and it was but I picked it up and could not put it down again. The main character, Charlie Grant, a 28 year old police dispatcher, believes she will be killed on Jan 21st. She convinces D.D. Warren, one of Gardner's returning characters, that she just might be right. This book deals with child abuse in a major way and that is one of the reasons I was unsure about reading it but once I read the first few pages, I was hooked for good. The characters remain in your head days after you put it down. It is the type of book where you continue wanting to read it after you are done, you want to know what happens next. I highly recommend this book that will be out on Feb 7, 2012. The library has lots of copies so reserve it now. I'm hoping that we will see Charlie Grant in a future book by Gardner.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Southern Literary Suspense - is that a genre?

Bret Lott is known as an author of literary novels, short stories and as the editor of The Southern Review. He was born in California but has made himself into a South Carolinian. You wouldn't consider him as an author who writes thrillers, but back in 1997, he wrote The Hunt Club. In this title he follows Huger Dillard, a 15 year old young man who comes of age in the story. Huger helps his blind uncle run the Hunt Club where the wealthy come to drink and pretend to hunt. There is a murder and there is suspense but generally this is a tale of growing up. In many ways, The Hunt Club is more about family, characters and people in general..
Coming next week, Lott revisits the Charleston lowcountry area with Huger and ‘Unc” in  Dead Low Tide. Huger, now a young man, and 'Unc" find a dead body while out on a golf course. Unc likes to practice his golf swing at night when others can't see him. Huger who has become pretty much a slacker since his traumatic adventure in the previous novel, is spurred to action as the 27 year old is forced to care. Lott’s work in-between these two books were literary in bent but he obviously missed the plotting elements of suspense. Lott is still a character driven author but these two titles are good southern literary suspense novels.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

British Mysteries - An Aquired Taste?

British Mysteries – an acquired taste?

You have a choice this month between reading a British mystery by an English author (Robert Barnard) or a British mystery by an American mother and son team (Charles Todd).  Other than the fact that they both take place in Britain, they can be considered completely different in almost every other way.
Robert Barnard has written 40 mysteries under his own name. One of his series features Charlie Peace of the West Yorkshire CID. His title this month, A Charitable Body, features this detective. Barnard’s stories are almost cozies with intricate plots and witty repartee. This particular title, the ninth in the series, while not his best work, provides red herrings, upstairs-downstairs upsets, and an old-fashioned mystery that will appeal to those who enjoyed reading Agatha Christie. A manor house is turned over to the National Trust and a body is found in the pond. Who could it be? Charlie Peace is determined to find out and luckily his wife is on the board.
Charles Todd’s series feature an upper-class Scotland Yard detective, Ian Rutledge, who came back shell-shocked from World War I.  The entry in this series this month is the 14th, The Confession. This series is historical and suspenseful, they rely more on characters than plots although the plots are compelling and often moving. This time a walk-in man, Wyatt Russell, informs them that he is dying of cancer but killed his cousin 5 years earlier in 1915. Rutledge investigates his claim in his home village but two week later, someone kills Russell. Rutledge must now puzzle out who would kill and dying man while wrestling with his own demons. A really great read for those who enjoy historical mysteries. They (mother and son) manage to get just the right historical atmosphere.