I grew up reading (and being read aloud to) Patrick McManus’s stories and essays about his (hopefully highly embellished) childhood, with such wonderful names as The Night the Bear Ate Goombah and Real Ponies Don’t Go Oink. When I saw that he’d written an actual book – a mystery novel – I had to give it a try.
It was disappointing. A small-town sheriff hunts for the missing owner of a hunting lodge. It’s a little bit too sexist, a little bit too “aw shucks ma’am I’m just doin’ my job,” and weirdly detailed in places while missing lots of detail in others (to pad the word count but not spoil the reveal, maybe?). There was one fun thing that I’ll spoil because you shouldn’t bother reading this: the avalanche of the title is actually the murderer’s alibi. He set dynamite on the ridge to make sure the road was impassable, skied over to the next town, killed a guy, and then skied home. But he couldn’t possibly have done it, because nobody could get through on the road! Now that is a big plan. Covering your tracks with literal tons of snow – you gotta admire the chutzpah.
I picked up Quantum Moon at a used bookstore because it was about a lycanthrope detective. A werewolf solving crime! That has to be cool, right? Wrong. She’s not really a werewolf! Her lycanthropy is more like a brain disorder, where she has seizures and can see in the dark once a month. The mystery she and her partner are trying to solve is way too complicated, weirdly fatphobic about the murder victim, and the world-building is just odd. It takes place in some kind of near-dystopia where everybody’s poor and the government monitors your environmental footprint and you have to trade scraps for light bulbs and stuff. But that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anything. Plus, there’s a doctor who’s obsessed with studying the detective’s condition, and I couldn’t ever tell if he was supposed to be a love interest or alarmingly creepy and inappropriate.
I’m in the middle of a move and most of my books are packed, or either of these could have been a DNF. Getting a library card in my new county is definitely a priority.