Thursday, August 17, 2006

Murder on Black Friday & Seventy Times Seven

Doogie surprised me in bed this morning with eggs and toast. Sometimes kids are capable of such goodness it catches me by surprise. I know that the Lord knows everything, but I wonder if sometimes we make him smile with our unexpected goodness.

The whole family watched the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance last night, and hurray Benji won! But we were so disappointed in how the winner was announced. Heidi and then Donyelle danced, and Cat just dropped the bomb on them "America has chosen its favorite dancer, and I'm sorry to say, it's not you." Then they were given a bouquet of flowers and rushed off of the stage. What's up with that? There was no drama, no build-up, just sorry honey, you're out of here. Then the announcement about the final two was dragged out a bit too much. I know that there's a fine line that these shows have to walk when announcing their winner, but this time, they blew it. It felt like the two women were slapped in the face.

Murder on Black Friday by P.B. Ryan is the 4th book in the Gilded Age series starring Boston governess Nell Sweeney and her beau Dr. Will Hewitt. In this book, two acquaintances of the Hewitt family appear to take their own lives after suffering huge losses in the gold crash of 1869, but Will has some questions about their deaths, and he asks Nell to help him investigate the mysterious deaths. As always Ryan weaves the chemistry between Nell and Will throughout the tale, deepening their relationship while the mystery deepens. Of course, Will has to strike his brother Harry at least once, which seems to have become one of the trademarks of the series. Ryan keeps her books short, for which I am normally grateful, but in this case, she could have added a little more, just a few more clues and scenes with the ultimate culprits of the crime. Ryan’s post-antebellum Boston is a fascinating place, and I look forward to visiting it again soon. Make sure you check out Ryan's website, she's giving away autographed bookplates!

Seventy Times Seven by Brandt Dodson is the sequel to Original Sin starring private detective Colton Parker. This is a genre I don’t normally read, but in this circumstance, I’m so glad that I did. (And I’m going to pick up the first book to read that too!) Parker is hired by perennial loser Lester Cheek to find Cheek’s missing wife Gloria. But finding Gloria could not only endanger Colton’s life but his sense of well-being and self too. Colton and his daughter are still dealing with the aftermath of his wife’s tragic death. Dodson’s writing style feels a little like boxing; his sentences are short, punctuated with little detail and straight to the point. There’s definitely a bit of Raymond Chandler in Dodson, but at the same time he is able to convey a great depth of emotion in Parker without making him seem sensitive. In fact, in Parker’s dealings with his friends and family, he struggles to connect emotionally. Dodson has created a solid string of secondary characters, and the conversations about God and Christianity ring truer than many I’ve read in fiction. This book should appeal to fans of classic detective novels and Christian readers alike.

I'm currently reading Squat by Taylor Field, so far it's very compelling. More about it tomorrow!