Monday, April 10, 2006

Dark Assassin and Unhinged

This weekend Mom and I hit two church rummage sales. There is nothing quite like a good church rummage sale for fun. We were in front of the doors at 7:15 am for their opening at 8. My little brother Jake says he's never going to another rummage sale with us again. We got two shopping carts and two boxes full of great stuff. I got a pair of Skechers for myself and a pair of Strawberry Shortcake light-up tennies for Mia for a quarter a pair! We picked up lots more books, and I can just say that I'm glad I wasn't there when my step-dad saw Mom unload the car! :)

Molly's home sick from school today; her stomach is upset. She's so good about not missing school, it was easy to let her come home. Last night Jesse and I watched Love Actually and the first half of Memoirs of a Geisha. It's rare that we get to watch movies alone together. We're going to finish MOG tonight. So, on to the reviews.

Dark Assassin by Anne Perry is the fifteenth (I think) book in the William Monk series, and it delivers another wonderful mystery with lots of action and careful characterizations. I was glad to see more of Hester and William working together in this book, I had missed their interactions in the previous book. Perry's done a wonderful job of bringing in new secondary characters full of intrigue and interest. While on duty, Monk witnesses a man and woman plunge from a bridge together. Even Monk can't figure out if it was murder, suicide, or an accident. Investigating further brings him back into the realm of his long time adversary Runcorn and into the underground world of toshers and navvies. London is building is new sewer system that will leave the city forever changed. It's into this world of upheaval that Perry brings the reader with such care. Her ear for dialogue is unmatched and the details of this Victorian world are amazing. If you live in a large city, after reading this book, you won't take the ground under your feet for granted again! My two concerns for this book are the long list of secondary characters that are starting to overwhelm the plot. Scuff, Sutton, Runcorn, Rathbone: all are wonderfully intriguing, but there's only so much book and I fear for future entries. My other concern about this book didn't even occur to me until I started writing the review. The mystery is so cleverly crafted, the characters divine, the scenes thoroughly detailed, but the culprit and his motive seem weak, perhaps even unbelievable. The strength of this book and Perry's writing show that despite this, the book still shines. Don't start reading the Monk series with this book, start at the beginning. You're in for a treat!

I also read Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild by Michelle Malkin this weekend. Unhinged is what happened to my jaw while reading this expose on the bad behavior of liberals. While many books on the market are focusing on the hypocritical behavior of famous liberals, this book also shines a light onto the many crimes of not-so-famous liberals like college students and campaign workers. Malkin does a good job of presenting a fairly balanced accounting of these horror stories, although she occasionally uses the same kind of inflammatory language she accuses others of. The most shocking of the stories to me was the terrorist and guerilla tactics used by campaign workers during the 2004 Bush/Kerry election to stop Republicans from voting. There are far too many stories about drive-by shootings at campaign offices, destruction of vehicles, and harassment of workers. And these are stories that just don't make the news. With the 2008 elections fast approaching, our politicians need to make a bipartisan effort to stop these kind of vicious attacks. Political debate is to be welcomed, profanity, violence, and personal attacks should be avoided. Not just avoided, but quashed. Politicians on both sides of the fence should read this book, take a good look in the mirror and make a pledge to themselves and their constituents that they will not tolerate this kind of behavior in the upcoming campaigns. This shouldn't be a liberal vs conservative issue; screaming profanities and using violence is always wrong, no matter what side you're on. Michelle Malkin has written a powerful book, and I look forward to reading more of her work.

It's a beautiful day outside today. I'm ready to tear the plastic off the windows and bring the fresh air inside. If only it didn't get so cold at night yet. But it's supposed to be 70 for Easter! Finally an Easter when I can wear dressy shoes and not worry about them getting covered in mud or snow!