Thursday, February 01, 2007

I'm behind again because I hit a streak of really excellent, involving books that pinned me to the couch until I finished. First of them was The Dead Hour by Denise Mina, who is just all around awesome. Seriously, I went to one of her readings and she was so funny and smart and interesting that I wished we could be friends and hang out all the time. Plus she had on great shoes. Anyway. This book is the second in her excellent Paddy Meehan series and it might even be better than the first one. The economic milieu is fascinating and a source of believable tension in Paddy's family as she struggles to hold on to her job during a management change at the paper. Meanwhile she wrestles with ethical concerns, her burgeoning love life, and, oh yeah, a horrible murder that the police seem to want to avoid solving.

Then I read Eat The Document by Dana Spiotta, which follows a woman who went underground after a protest action in the early 1970s interspersed with chapters about her and her son and various other characters in the 1990s. It presents an interesting juxtaposition of protest styles and types of activism and the consequences of those actions without being preachy or obvious about it. I loved the characters, especially Mary's music-obsessed son, and the writing was lovely. I definitely recommend it.

And yesterday I read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, which reminded me again that there is a definite difference between predictable and inevitable. Camille is sent by her Chicago paper back to her small Missouri hometown to cover the unsolved murders of two little girls, which forces her to face the truth about her own damaged past. At no time was I in doubt as to the identity of the killer or what really happened to Camille's sister, but the knowledge didn't make me impatient or detract from the ominous tone that builds as the novel progresses.

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