A happy and blessed Thanksgiving to all who observe! Here is my list of readings that I got to in November that didn’t merit a longer review…
The Golden Cage***
Part 1: Ma’am, wyd?
Part 2: Good for her!
Part 3: Good for…her? Also, kinda sad.
Epilogue: Good for her!
This is a good, trashy beach read. I just wish there had been less on Faye’s shady past- which wasn’t filled in well-and more on the machinations to destroy her husband’s business. Also, I’m not sure this needs a sequel; it’s a perfect standalone. I read it as a standalone and it’s good enough. I probably won’t read book two but I may read Camilla Läckberg’s other series.
Things We Do in the Dark****
Jennifer Hillier’s fast become one of those writers whose catalog I need to explore in greater detail. While I’m not usually a fan of these kinds of thrillers, what makes hers so good is how she explores the characters. These folks aren’t here to advance the plot, they are nuanced, textured, allowed to be imperfect for more than the sake of stories. Hillier might write the typical female-focused thrillers but the people in them at least feel real, and thus the stakes feel real. Many say this is her best work and I’m sure I’d agree if I had read more than Little Secrets. Now I’m on a mission to find out if that’s true.
The Lost Village***
Well as a Lutheran, I certainly appreciate a deranged version of A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.
Anyway, this is a rare one where the history scenes are better than the modern day ones. I failed to really connect with the characters in Now but was fascinated with those in Then and wanted to know more about their community and how they came under the…(redacted). It’s fine, interesting in spots, and certainly readable. But I wish Camille Sten had left the whole story in 1958.
The Hot Beat***
I’m always grateful when the old ones published by Hard Case Crime aren’t by the same authors. There are some gems. There are some duds. This falls in the middle. Has moments where the investigation is fun but it’s too predictable and ends too soon, which is something I rarely say for pulp fiction. Some more characterization would’ve made this a decent read.
Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales****
Great starting point for book marketing. Some of the advice is outdated; after all, this was published in 2016. But it still gave me plenty to work with as I consider what’s next.
Nineteen Seventy Seven***
This is a book I may have to revisit some day as I want to get the big picture of what David Peace is doing with his Red Riding Quartet. Visceral and raw in ways that both thrilled and annoyed, with an incoherent narrative. Though I did love the shock jock interludes at the beginning of every chapter because I felt like they reified the book’s point about corruption: the working class clings to God Save the Queen, year of Jubilee, honest pay for honest work, virgin/whore paradigms, etc. Yet it frequently bashes the pols and coppers that uphold the order, while discharging racist vitriol against people of color with whom they have more in common. The men are cynical but it’s a cynical world.
This is being billed as a book version of “Ready or Not.” There’s an aspect of that but I really got “Succession” vibes in a sense of a Logan/Tom relationship. A fun read, bit of a flat ending but I got what I paid for and enjoyed it.
Far and away my favorite of the series, mostly because Pete Hunter felt like a fully realized character and not a dumping ground for male angst. Plus, the plot was easier to follow than 1977 was. Throw in a fascinating conclusion and I’m excited to see what Pearce does for Book Four.
After devouring and loving the second book, I couldn’t wait to read the third and while it’s not nearly as good as the first two (the villain has to explain his Master Plan before an improbable, cringy finish), it’s still an exciting tale about LA corruption and urban decay featuring…what else…freeway developments. This is such a great series that I’ve already come to love and I’m probably going to finish it in the next couple of weeks and await future ones with bated breath.
As much as I like this series, I’ve had mixed feelings on Anna’s character. Nowadays, a lot of male authors who don’t watch FOX or read redpill subreddits are trying to move away from the overly-endowed damsel-in-distress wish fulfillment Dream Girl. The problem is, it often leads to overcorrection where the female girlfriend/partner/sidekick is always a Bad Ass who Doesn’t Take Shit and whose private life is none of the male protagonist’s business.
So I wasn’t thrilled when I saw Anna was going to be the lead because I don’t think she’s anywhere near a fully realized character. But I enjoyed how Brubaker built up her story, gave her a real perspective and even threw in an Elvira/Vampirella-inspired cult siren just for good measure. The mystery was interesting and continued to draw on the secret history of Los Angeles. Wasn’t thrilled with the ending since it reverted back to tropes but 90% of the story was fun and worked.
STOP THE EVIL ADOPTEE BULLCRAP ITS SO BAD AND ITS POINTLESS TO THE STORY JUST STOP ALREADY YOU ARE ACTIVELY DOING HARM BY CONTINUING TO PERPETUATE THIS HORRIBLE STEREOTYPE DONT GIVE ME STATS JUST TELL ME INTELLECTUALLY HOW A PERSON WHO DOESNT KNOW HES AN ADOPTEE WOULD COMMIT HOMICIDES BECAUSE HES AN ADOPTEE IT MAKES ZERO SENSE STOP