Slow Readers Quarterly Reports
Titles in Red are books we have (or have had) in stock.
Titles in Bold Black indicate autographed books we have (or have had) in stock.
These reports have been posted on rec.arts.mysteries and, more recently, on the dorothyl list. Book titles in color are or have been in stock. Those in red are unsigned copies, those in bold black are autographed. See the List of Residents for details.
|Posted July 5, 2000||---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------||Back to Top|
|Probably one of the more interesting reads this last couple of months was Robert James Waller's Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend. Michael Tillman finds his once-in-a-lifetime love in "Jellie" Braden, who, unfortunately is already married to the dean at the University where Michael is a professor. The story, like The Bridges of Madison County, is a poignant story that also seems to completely disregard the institution of marriage. Rather, the stress is in the restrictions placed on them by social pressures. The story doesn't have the same power as Bridges. This could be that Bridges has already been told. After all, how many "once-in-lifetime-loves" can there be? In this story, the affair blossoms while in Bridges it becomes somewhat "martyred" as a unrequited fling. Nevertheless, I can't help but feel had Slow Waltz been issued first, it would have been every bit as popular as Bridges, and my sentiment about Bridges would have been, "It's been done" (though I believe that Bridges was done better). The point is the following question: What is really left to explore by writing another book on the same theme?|
|Robert B Parker's Sudden Mischief has Susan ask Spenser to help out her ex-husband who's being sued for sexual harassment. But he denies it, none of the woman involved with the case will talk, yet Spenser is being warned off the case. This is not only a "who-done-it", it's a "What'd- they-do".|
|T. Jefferson Parker's Summer of Fear was also another fine story. I'm really liking this guy. This time, a Crime Writer follows and get involved with a serial killer who calls himself the "midnight eye".|
|Lawrence Block's The Hitman is a whimsical look at the life and times of a "Hit man's hitman". It's almost a spoof on itself, treating as almost incidental what a hitman does for a living, while it explores his hopes, fears and career worries.|
|John Irving's Cider House Rules is a near epic story revolving around an orphan and his life and destiny with respect to abortion. It follows the life of Homer Wells, born at St. Cloud's Orphanage. He leaves at the age of 18 with a family who owns an apple tree farm (where apple cider is made). Over the years, his and the life of those at the orphanage and at the apple farm become intertwined, tugging on him and his opinions of abortion. It was a fine story and certainly well told, but I'm not into "message stories". This feels too much like a lecture. However, it was minimized and not at all blatant.|
pleasant surprise was Every Dead Thing by John Connolly.
Very dark. I've mentioned this one before in a separate
posting, so I'll skip details other than to say that his
writing is, at times, very poignant, which is unusual for
a hard-boiled, vividly disturbing serial killer story. In
that earlier posting, I said:
I'm in the process of reading this right now and there is no getting around it, this is a dark novel, extremely graphic and gruesome. But I am constantly stumbling across whole passages that are exceptionally well written (yeah, I know, what does that mean?) Well, it depends. These passages have many qualities, but usually one stands out. One is vivid, another insightful, and a third is poignant, but all three will have the other elements. As an example (I'll avoid a spoiler by saying that one guy is relating a story about a gruesome loss of a family member to someone else who had a similar loss). The man talking was saying that he used to see her, in his dreams, but she, "... don't come as often now...." The following paragraph is then inserted and after it the man continues his story:
What struck me is that this paragraph does nothing for the story. If it were removed you would not notice the void. We already know the man talking is still grieving; we already know the man listening is fighting off his own demons. There is nothing in there necessary to connect the previous paragraph with the next. In fact, the monolog the first man relates, holds up fine and, if taken by itself, one might think that interrupting it with anything would spoil the moment. But not only does Connolly interrupt it, the scene is even more powerful for it and we have a bit richer insight into both of these people.
|Finally, Martha C Lawrence is always a delight and Aquarius Descending is no exception. This time Elizabeth Chase - Psychic Investigator, tracks down a girl "absorbed" by a cult. The hook is that this lady is the former girl friend of Chase's current boy friend and it is he who asks her to look into it.|
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