Friday, January 23, 2009

Thrillers & chillers

Finished Twisted, and I'll keep it. I had thought to move on to Mistress of the Art of Death, one of the books I got through Paperbackswap, but after a few pages, I realized I am still in a junkier reading phase. Historical fiction wasn't working for me. So, I pulled up Deja Dead, by Kathy Reichs.

It's kind of funny, but even though I like police procedurals and I like stories with graphic violence and/or serial killers, there are some authors I never got around to. I decided to give them a try on the swap program, because all in all, the average book I get through there costs less than $2.50 - what I spent to mail a book to someone else.

Reichs is a gamble. I only tried her because the wife and I occasionally enjoy an episode of Bones.

So far, it's fine, I like the descriptions of the science of forensics. But the story is bending toward the "don't do in there, it's DARK!" sort of backseat reader reaction. You know, that's where you are watching a movie or reading a book and you think, "Holy crap, if that was me, I'd have called 911, the FBI, the CIA and I'd be hiding in the closet with a baseball bat and my cell phone!" Or, "Gee, I wonder if going to the abandoned mansion on the night of the full moon without telling anyone where you were going is such a great idea..."

I will always take a certain amount of this. After all, lead characters acting stupidly is sometimes the best reason why there IS a story. "I heard a mysterious noise and called 911 and the police came and arrested the peeping Tom" is not going to make any sales. Going out to investigate, no matter how stupid it seems, is the story. OK, I will go along for a while.

But I like it when the characters get to know better. The kids in the Harry Potter books go off on adventures and get into danger and they don't tell the grownups because...they're KIDS. Later on, Harry has an epiphany as he realizes what he wants is a grown up to advise him, one who cares about him, who is wise and can help. The first time he actually goes directly for help the minute something bad happened, I felt good about the growth of the character. Also, the story gets more complex when what leads to danger and dread isn't the fact that the lead character acts like a moron.

Mrs. Pornographer read this one first and complained that the lead character doesn't seem to learn from her mistakes and keeps the wrong secrets. I am just about halfway through and I have just realized this super smart scientist is about to kill her friend by not letting anyone know that her kooky friend feels like someone is stalking her.

OK, for the record...if I think someone is stalking me? I got the cops on speed dial. I'd tell all my friends, I'd tell my *neighbors* - and I don't talk to my neighbors. (That's the wife's job.) If a friend tells me she thinks she's in danger? I'd believe her. And if for some reason, I am involved in the investigation of a creepy guy who is known to hang out where my friend does you know...I'd mention something about that to my cop friends.

Just saying.

We'll see. Maybe she gets smarter in future books. But first, I will get through this one and decide if I want to give another book a try.

Right now? I think the show is better.


Debra Hyde said...

Hi Laura,

Funny, but I'm reading The Mistress of the Art of Death right now and really enjoying it. But I understand the urge for binge-reading satisfaction -- carry on!

Liz said...

I've recently been on a Reichs kick. I started with a recent one - happened to find it at the library. I can kind of take her or leave her, but she's good when I'm in the mood.

Give Deadly Exchange a look. You got your espionage, your running (escape), your high-tech stuff, your spies, your action, your intrigue, your romance, even. Great read! You know how Alfred Hitchcock was great at putting an unsuspecting character into danger (think "North by Northwest")? The main character in this book, Jennifer, is that character. Off she goes into intrigue.