A Mix of the Old and New

Reading for me is a mixed pleasure. And I mean that in a good way. Discovering new authors brings me pleasure, but discovering new works by authors I’ve come to know and appreciate brings me equal pleasure. This post is about both.

Tana French — You remember my raves about “The Likeness” and “In the Woods,” right? Well, “Faithful Place” delivers just as the others did. Her character development and her ability to bring a location, environment and culture to life are simply wonderful. I also love the fact that she takes a supporting character from one novel, and catapults that individual to hero or heroine of another novel. I always feel like I already know someone in the story, am already connected, and immediately give over to where she wants to take me because I usually already care about them. Her latest, “Broken Harbor,” is next on my list.

Robert Crais — I jumped right from “Taken” into “The Two Minute Rule” — both of similar genres (crime solving with a federal/local investigative twist, legal or not), but, unlike Tana French, no characters crossed over into the new novel. But the characters he developed in “The Two Minute Rule” were beautifully, if not tragically, written. I’m looking forward to discovering more from him.



Anne Rice — I know, I know. Really? But, yes! Really! Years ago, her Vampire Lestat series were mesmerizing. I mean, come on, she brought the genre to the mainstream years ago. Tom Cruise wanted the lead role in her movie, for gods’ sake. And that was BEFORE he want insane on Oprah… But, I digress. Her latest, “The Wolf Gift,” (yes, you guessed it, a werewolf tale) takes her back to her super natural roots and away from the Christian fare she was delivering for the last decade or so. While this novel was a bit tedious, self-righteous, and tethered to a moral discussion on evolution, free agency, and good versus evil, the actual werewolf bits reminded me that she still has it. This book clearly set her up for additional story lines, so I’ll be curious to see how quickly she delivers. Not sure I’ll be so quick to make the purchase…

Jodi Picoult — Now this is an author who is so mainstream that I have avoided her. (And yes, I see the irony in that statement, given my other choices… shut up.) Blame it on Oprah. I saw a segment on Oprah where she had this group of people around a table with glasses of wine and candles and they were discussing one of her book recommendations, and it was all so pretentious and nauseating that I swore off ANY book Oprah recommended for literally 7 years. Now that she’s off the air? I’m free to read authors she liked. Thus, Jodi Picoult. I chose the book because of my love of wolves, but the irony here is that “Lone Wolf” tells the story of a family torn apart by an unyielding father so rigid in his devotion to studying and living with wolves that his ability to communicate at a base level with his family was obstructed. Enough said. I loved the book.

Heather Killough-Walden — I admit it. The fact that her book only cost me $2.99 on NOOK was the reason I chose her. But I wasn’t disappointed. I was looking for an author who could deliver another sci-fi/fantasy series that would deliver the escape and quick read I was looking for, and this woman may be it. The fact that her entire “Big Bad Wolf” werewolf series was available for $3.99 cinched it.  I downloaded it immediately. Books 1 – 4 at that price? Come on. Wouldn’t you?


Stef Penney — His novel, “The Invisible Ones,” was challenging but rewarding. Based on Gypsy lore and history, it’s  a crime mystery told through the eyes of 4 – 6 different characters. Tracking through each of the characters was a bit tough, but the story-telling was beautiful. It’s a book that you need to be able to spend solid chunks of time with to absorb and appreciate. Given I was reading it on my iPhone during my 15 minute commute to work and back, I probably didn’t give it its due. But I still recommend it, and the author. I’m waiting for his previous novel, “The Tenderness of Wolves,” a murder mystery set in the late 1800’s in the Northern Territory, to become available for download. Yeah, I’m stubborn, but I refuse to go buy the paperback or hard cover of a novel published in 2008 when his 2012 novel is already available online. See what I’ve become?


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