Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

My Photo
Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Barbequed Poodles

Take a decapitated pit bull head, clamp it onto the arm of a gun-wielding redneck, and mix in crocked crooked politicians, money grubbing televangelists, and bass fishing and you have a Carl Hiaasen novel. Double Whammy, to be specific. R.J Decker is a former photography and ex-con turned private investigator, hired by a pro bass fisherman (yep, there is such a thing, who knew?) to prove that the competition is cheating. This being a mystery, it isn't just fish that Decker finds floating in the waters of Florida. Rednecks and the South being good fodder for funny, the snark and funny is plentiful, along with a motley crew of over-the-top characters.

Probably not a good book if you're like my mom who "loves all dogs." Me, I find dogs are like children. Some are terrific, some could use a bullet to the head (or be cooked over an open fire.) Fun stuff if you're not possessed of delicate, girly sensibilities.

Even the books I bailed on this time around weren't all that bad.

First to get the bucket of bailing was Flo Fitzpatrick's Hot Stuff.
Okay, so as usual, I picked it up because the cartoony cover attracted me. I like the little devil on the cover. In my ongoing search for a readable romance novel, it didn't rank as horrible. I was just terribly distracted and it didn't have enough oomph to keep my attention. In its defense, the heroine had a brain and didn't bicker needlessly with the hero. The setting, India, was rather unusual, and the whole Bollywood thing was a hoot.

But the hero was two-dimensional and it just wasn't as funny as the cover and blurbs claimed. Not bad, just not for me.

Mick Farren's The Time of Feasting also got the boot. Like Hot Stuff, it wasn't horrible, just not spiffy enough to grab my flyaway attention span. The story felt rather typical: a group of urban vampires survives among humans by keeping a low profile, until internal politics--caused by them upstart "young" vampires--threatens to expose them, blah, blah, blah.

On a recommendation from NursePam, I gave J.D. Robb's Naked in Death a try. Whatdoya know, I liked it!

The story is set sometime in the future, so there are flying cars and other techno-gee-gaws, but none of that overpowers the story. The protagonist, Eve Dallas, is a hard-as-nails cop who doesn't irritated the shit out of me (unlike "Lost's" Anna-Lucia, who I'd like to see boiled in oil.) As this is a mystery, the requisite dead bodies are provided by murdered prostitutes, or in the lingo of the time, "companions." (Which gives me kind of "Serenity" vibe, but that's okay.) Partway through the story, Eve gets involved with a suspect, the sexy and suave Roarke. Not burdened by romance novel conventions, the story takes time to build a solid story and sexual tension. Eve has some serious i-shoes, but she doesn't expect the reader or other characters to hold a pity party for her. The mystery is nice and twisty, and continues to cast doubt on Roarke. Good stuff.

Perhaps I should be gravitating toward so-called Romantic Suspense rather than romance?

In the "it would be great if" category is Adam Stemple's Singer of Souls. In the tradition of Charles De Lint or Emma Bull, Stemple's story follows Doug Stewart, an American heroin addict who tries to kick the habit by moving to Scotland. A busker (street musician), Doug unwittingly makes a deal with the queen of the Fey and end up with "the sight," and finds himself able to see fairies and other beasties. The story is sort of rambling, with a meandering plot (again, calling to mind some De Lint novels, but that's okay because I like De Lint), but still enjoyable. I love that Stemple didn't bore me to tears--a la L. Hamilton et al.--with complicated Fey politics, history and taxonomy.

But the ending is dreadful. I don't expect a happy ending, but I'd like the characters to remain true to their...character. Downright frustrating because until the ending, I was thinking this book might make it onto the keeper shelf.

Currently reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander and...glurp...totally loving it. First, I hate time traveler stories, especially romantic ones, because the heroine is usually a ninny who bitches about the absence of Starbucks. Second, historicals bore me. But the unconventional approach to the lurve--Gabaldon actually builds sexual tension and doesn't have the characters fucking on page five and there are technically two heroes--is rocking my boat. Assuming it doesn't go the way of Singer of Souls and muck up the ending, it might be the first romance to make it to the keeper shelf. Hmmm.



Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005