Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dead Time

Yesterday I was feeling really down. I'm not entirely sure why; I guess my love tank is a little low. When that happens, I'm not always the most pleasant person to be around (my family thinks this is a major understatement), so I try to hide in the bedroom until I feel up to facing the world again. Of course, five-year olds don't understand that, so Mia was her normal bouncy, attention hungry self. I'm ashamed to admit that I snapped at her more than once by bedtime. At eight, she climbed into bed next to me to say her prayers. She asked me Mommy, can I pray like this? and lay down on her face on the bed, like I'm bowing before a king? I told her that of course she could, so she stayed on her tummy with her face in her hands and said Dear God, I love my mommy very much, thank you for giving her to me. Immediately every harsh word I'd said throughout the day slapped me in the face, and my eyes filled with tears. She finished up by thanking Him for her Bumpa and asking for Baby Gwyneth to gain some weight and then wanted me to add some prayers of my own. All I could squeak out through the lump in my throat was thanksgiving for the time we spend together. Why is it that I can read 100 books about prayer, but I learn more from my five-year old daughter's simple wisdom?

Dead Time by Stephen White is the most recent entry in the Dr. Alan Gregory series, and let me be the first to tell you that White is back on his game. Alan and his wife Lauren are struggling to cope with all of the revelations from the previous book, Dry Ice, as well as their new adopted son. Lauren and Grace, their daughter, go to the Netherlands to find the daughter Lauren put up for adoption years before. Jonas, the new son, is going to spend a few weeks with his mother's relatives in New York, so Alan takes an apartment in NYC to be near him. Merideth, Alan's ex, calls Alan and asks him to investigate the disappearance of the surrogate she's hired to carry her baby. There are multiple storylines that weave in and out of each other, but White handles them all with style. Sam and Alan's relationship is unsteady after the events of the previous book, and through their detective work, they come to a new and deeper friendship. White's books about Alan were starting to get a little stale. He and Lauren were a little too happy, and nearly every book involved some kind of danger for Lauren and Grace. While I wasn't thrilled with Dry Ice, it should be seen as a pivotal book in this series, because it's turned everything around. Alan is no longer predictable, flirting with alcoholism and infidelity, and even Lauren is hiding some secrets. The series suddenly seems fresh and full of possibility.

Remember to enter my contest to win one of two copies of Phil Callaway's Family Squeeze. Just drop me an email at clockstein at centurytel.net (replace at with @) before midnight on Thursday. Good luck!