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Author Post: Kathy Reichs

After seeing this incredible ZOOM video, I knew I had to get started reading Kathy Reichs novels again.

Wow, she had the manuscript for her first novel accepted after her very first submission to a publisher. That never happens!

Years ago I read several of the series from the library, but I didn’t keep a record of which ones. It is time to start over.

The Temperance Brennan series

1. Déjà Dead (1997)
2. Death du Jour (1999) -shelf
3. Deadly Decisions (2000)
4. Fatal Voyage (2001)
5. Grave Secrets (2002) -shelf
6. Bare Bones (2003)
7. Monday Mourning (2004) -shelf
8. Cross Bones (2005)
9. Break No Bones (2006)
10. Bones to Ashes (2007)
11. Devil Bones (2008) -shelf
12. 206 Bones (2009)
13. Spider Bones (2010) (Also published as Mortal Remains)
14. Flash and Bones (2011)
15. Bones are Forever (2012)
16. Bones of the Lost (2013)
17. Bones Never Lie (2014) -shelf
18. Speaking in Bones (2015)
19. The Bone Collection (2016) – A short story collection including First Bones (a prequel to Déjà Dead), Bones in her Pocket, Swamp Bones and Bones on Ice.
20. A Conspiracy of Bones (2020)
21. The Bone Code (2021)

 

Note:  Kathy Reichs also co-wrote a MG series with her son Brendan Reichs, which you can see on his website.

 

 

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About Author Posts:

Because I read a lot of mysteries, I’ve been trying to come up with a better system to keep track of which novels I’ve finished. I thought blogging would help, which it does, but I don’t always review everything I read. To get more organized, I’ve decided to create a series of author posts with lists of novels and links to my reviews. I plan to edit these pages as needed.

#BookBeginnings : The Mouthwatering #Cozy #Mystery Arsenic and Adobo

 

Let’s take a peek into Mia P. Manansala’s Arsenic and Adobo for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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Arsenic and Adobo* by Mia P. Manansala

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Summary:  When her ex-boyfriend writes critical reviews of her aunt’s struggling restaurant, Lila Macapagal is irritated. When he eats at the same restaurant and then dies, she is forced to prove she wasn’t the one who was out for revenge.

First Sentence:

My name is Lila Macapagal and my life has become a rom-com cliché.

Not many romantic comedies feature an Asian-American lead (or dead bodies, but more on that later), but all the hallmarks are there.

Discussion:

Mia P. Manansala has been a featured speaker in several author events I’ve attended lately, so I had to read her book.

I love the light and humorous voice of Lily.  The rest of the page sums up her back story in a few funny lines.

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

I checked my watch and saw I had a couple of hours to kill before calling on Ninang June. There was only one thing I knew would get me out of this funk, so I hopped in the car and headed home.

It was time to bake.

There’s a protagonist after my own heart!

On the next page she bakes a calamansi-ginger pie. If you aren’t familiar with some of the terms, no worries. The author has included a Glossary and Pronunciation Guide in the front and recipes in the back. Calamansi is a type of citrus. It is also called a Philippine lemon.

Now I’m hungry.

What do you think? Have you read Arsenic and Adobo? Would you like to give it a chance?

#BookBeginnings The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman

 

This week let’s listen to The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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The Deep, Deep Snow* by Brian Freeman

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

The Deep, Deep Snow is a standalone novel. Because I received a free audiobook, I listened to it rather than read it.

Summary:  When Deputy Shelby Lake was abandoned as a baby, she was saved by a stranger who found her on his doorstep in the freezing cold.

Now, years later, a young boy is missing. The only evidence of what happened to ten-year-old Jeremiah Sloan is a bicycle left behind on a lonely road. Can Shelby find the boy as her adopted father once did for her?

First Sentence Prologue:

The first thing you should know about me is that I believe in signs. Omens. Premonitions. I grew up believing that things happen for a reason.

First Sentence Chapter One:

On the day that Jeremiah Sloan disappeared, I was teasing Monica Constant about her dead dog.

Discussion:

Listening to a book is such a different experience than reading it, but both these first lines made me want to continue.

It turns out Monica’s dog is a running joke.

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

His booming voice scared a few birds, but that was all. There was no answer. That didn’t stop him from hollering again. He was a handsome park ranger with the strong physique of a lumberjack, and strong men always labored under the illusion that they could solve any problem if they swung a little harder, talked a little louder, or ran a little faster. Life didn’t work that way.

 

I really enjoyed this book. At one point it skips ten years ahead in time, which allows the reader the see who changed substantially and who didn’t change much. There’s also a subplot that explores memory loss that I found poignant.

Aside:  Do you regularly listen to audiobooks? I don’t and some things surprised me. For example, I usually skip or skim long descriptions when I read  — as a matter of habit. Having to listen to every word made me realize  am missing a lot of setting and mood by skimming. In the same vein, I also tend to skim or skip sections that are too emotional or too frightening, which allows me to control how I react to it. Again, by listening, I felt the impact of every word.

Although I said I hear every word, there were a few times when environmental noise made me miss something and it isn’t easy to go back a few lines, at least not on the phone.  Has anyone figured out a solution for this?

What do you think? Have you ever read a book by Brian Freeman? Would you continue reading this one?

Cozy Con 2021

Poisoned Pen Bookstore recently sponsored this lively group of cozy mystery writers.  What a fun, fantastic group of authors!

What is your favorite line?

Mine is:  “Books are the only real magic.”

#BookBeginnings Encounters with Chinese Writers by Annie Dillard

 

I don’t usually share the nonfiction I read, but this week I’m making an exception with  Encounters with Chinese Writers by Annie Dillard for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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Encounters with Chinese Writers* by Annie Dillard

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:

In the spring of 1982, Pulitzer-prize winning author Annie Dillard traveled to China with six scholars and writers in an exchange program. Soon afterwards, a group of Chinese writers came to visit the U.S. The book is a collection of stories about their interactions, both humorous and insightful.

First Sentence:

We are being feted at a banquet in Beijing, in one of the restaurant’s many private banquet rooms. The room is drab and charmless; the food is wonderful.

Discussion:

I like how she chose to use the present tense to make the scene more immediate, even though the event was from the past.

I’m also always impressed by someone who is confident enough about grammar to use a semi-colon properly.  😉

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

Although we’re not really supposed to include context, it helps to know the group has just been asked which American works should the Chinese translate as prime examples of our literature.

And what, pray tell can we answer? Which writers, which works? I like Updike: Pigeon Feathers, Rabbit is Rich. A Toyota dealer and his wife make love on a bed of gold coins. A major American novel, out of the question. I like Marilyn Robinson, Housekeeping. A young girl in Idaho gives in to sloth. What would they make of Pynchon’s V? The room in which a Chinese reader lives may, or may not, have a single twenty-five-watt bulb. China has little paper, for printing books or anything else. I think of those trees in afforestation plots by the river, by the tracks, those trees one man or woman plants by hand, pats a cone of mud around, digs a ditch beside, waters…they’re virtual houseplants, these trees; they’re pets. How many trees should they fell to print what and why?

Although this was from 1982, it is still a question. What books would you translate? What books would you take with you to a desert island? I think one or two of Annie Dillard’s might make the cut.

What do you think? Have you read anything by Annie Dillard?

#BookBeginnings Perilous Passages

 

Today I’m featuring a writing friend’s debut novel, Perilous Passages by P.A. Lynck for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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Perilous Passages by P.A. Lynck

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

This historical fiction novel is as grand as its subject, the Queen Mary.

Summary:  In 1939, with the threat of World War II soon to become a reality, the luxury cruise liner the Queen Mary is dramatically transformed into a wartime troop transport ship. Those caught up in the life-changing events include a young Boston doctor Ben Stuart, distraught over a nightclub fire and questioning his future; a British ship captain James Hawthorne who accepts his wartime assignment on the Queen Mary; and his strong-willed daughter Kate, who is passionate about contributing to the war effort and talks her way aboard.

Meanwhile in Lithuania, the Japanese Ambassador, sympathetic to the persecution of the Jews, places himself in harm’s way to help them. A Jewish engineer and his wife in Vilna, Lithuania attempt a harrowing escape from “the pit”, just the beginning of their long and dangerous journey.

These lives are all connected by one voyage of the legendary ship, the Queen Mary. With German U-boats hunting her, a catastrophic collision, a fierce storm and a Nazi bounty of $250,000, this marvelous British ship, the Queen Mary, zig-zags a path through their lives.

First Sentence:

New York, NY
Mid-July 1939

The noise of the colorful crowd clustered on the wooden New York pier, the taxicabs rumbling over it unloading their fares, and the dockworkers calling to each other as they prepared the Queen Mary for her voyage, filled the morning air.

 

You can feel the excitement and bustling energy as new doctor Ben Stuart and his mother prepare to board the Queen Mary for a well-earned vacation.

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

The look on the Captain’s face was troubling and the words he delivered to Ben were dire. “You’re very perceptive, Ben. Yes, a cruise ship has been sunk. Three hundred lives lost.”

 

Discussion:

In the previous section we learned what passengers experienced aboard the Queen Mary when it was a luxury cruise liner. In contrast, this section shows one of the perils of being on the ship during the war. Danger was always present because German u-boats were likely to attack at any time. The soldiers and sailors took many precautions to avoid attracting the attention of the enemies, such as making sure no litter went into the water and running in complete darkness at night. Even radios were forbidden. It is these historically-accurate details of life aboard the ship that make the story come alive.

What do you think? Do you enjoy historical fiction set in WWII?

#BookBeginnings The Searcher by Tana French

Let’s explore The Searcher by Tana French for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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The Searcher* by Tana French

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

 

Summary:  Former Chicago police detective Cal Hooper moves to a quiet, rural Irish village after retires, where he plans to fix up a run-down house and do a lot of fishing. Before long, however, he is drawn into investigating the disappearance of a local teenager who no one misses except his family — particularly his sibling, Trey. Can Cal unravel the truth among the tangle of village secrets ?

First Sentence:

When Cal comes out of the house, the rooks have got hold of something. Six of them are clustered on the back lawn, amid the long wet grass and the yellow-flowered weeds, jabbing and hopping.

Discussion:

Tana French’s novels have been described as literary suspense. Literary works can be defined in part by beautifully written descriptions, and French’s description of the rooks’ behavior in the beginning of Chapter One gives me chills. If you know birds, it rings true, but it also works to set the tone and establish setting, among other things.

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

Leftover raindrops tick in the hedges; small birds hop and peck in the grass. Cal saws, measures, chisels out dadoes and grooves, and gives Trey the fine sandpaper when he’s done with the coarse one. He can feel the kid glancing at him, the same way he was glancing at the kid, assessing.

 

It was harder to notice in the first quote, but the novel is written in the present tense. However, nothing in a Tana French novel is simple. She plays verb tense like a first chair violinist plays classical music.

Overall, the literary flavor might not appeal to readers of genre suspense and mystery who prefer a tightly-written plot. Tana French’s novels tend to wander through  the woods, allowing you to soak up the atmosphere.  Wanderng can be enjoyable if you know what to expect and that’s what you want to do, but maddening if not.

What do you think? Do you like literary fiction? Have you read any novels by Tana French? Would you read this one?

 

A rook is a type of crow (Public domain photo from Wikimedia)

#BookBeginnings A Song for the Dark Times: An Inspector Rebus Novel

Let’s take a look at  A Song for the Dark Times: An Inspector Rebus Novel by Ian Rankin for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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A Song for the Dark Times: An Inspector Rebus Novel* by Ian Rankin

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  John Rebus has retired from the police. Therefore, when his daughter calls to tell him her husband is missing, he can drop everything to go stay with her. Once he arrives, however,  he has to walk a fine line between being a father and being a police detective who might not want the truth uncovered.

First Sentence Prologue:

Siobhan Clarke walked through the emptied flat. Not that it was empty; rather the life had been sucked from it.

First Sentence Day One:

Siobhan Clarke woke to a text from Rebus. She decided it could wait until she made coffee.

Discussion:

I haven’t started reading yet, so I’m not sure how Siobhan Clarke fits into the picture. Rebus’s daughter is Samantha.

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

Day Two

Rebus had awoken on the sofa to find a pair of eyes watching him intently.

“Where’s my daddy?” Carrie asked softly.

 

What do you think? Have you read any of Ian Rankin’s John Rebus books?

#amwriting Gleaned from Virtual Classes This Week

April has been a month jam-packed with virtual writing classes.  I wanted to take a minute to jot down a few notes about what I’ve learned (making an effort not to infringe on someone else’s work).

Highlights

From ProWriting Aid’s Crime Writer’s Week

First class:

The Elements of a Crime Novel by Leigh Russell, who has a long-running series featuring DI Geraldine Steel.

Leigh Russell spoke about her writing process. Two things that struck me were that she admitted she wrote the first book mainly for her own enjoyment, so she decided her protagonist would be 39 years old. Now she’s writing the 18th book in the series, she regrets not making her protagonist a bit younger. She says she has to fudge Geraldine’s age or her protagonist will be well past  retirement age before Russell finishes the titles she has under contract. Nice problem to have.

She also moved her setting from a fictional city to a real one because she feels this gives her a built-in audience. Other authors have suggested creating a made up setting if you are going to feature a lot of violent crimes because real world tourist boards do not appreciate their town being the host to a serial killer. Bad publicity. In direct contrast, Russell says people delight in seeing their community in a novel and become devoted fans.  Regardless of what the tourist board thinks, people will realize that your book is a work of fiction. Good to know!

Second class:

Editors Anne Hawley and Rachelle Ramirez spent some time explaining the fine points of the different subtypes of crime novels. Although I was well aware of the differences between mystery, thriller and police procedural, I was less familiar with the caper/heist  subtype. A novel I read recently, Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano (previous post), falls into this category.

Rachelle also presented a four act structure that works well for mystery novels. I was most taken with the suggestion that the protagonist may have a fear rather than a flaw. A fear can be a weakness and a motivation. Useful idea!

Interview:

I’m not sure how long this video will be posted, but I thought Vaseem Khan had some incredibly insightful things to say about writing so I hope you get to watch it. Also, I’m going to look for his books, which he says are fashioned after on of my favorite mystery series, The Number One Ladies Detective Agency.

Edit:  Check out about 30 minutes! His take on writing the other (“otherwise we’ll all be writing autobiographies”).

Newsletter and blog at his website.

#BookBeginnings Finlay Donovan is Killing It

Let’s take a look at the riotous book Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Blurb:   Finlay Donovan is a writer and single mom whose life has spun out of control. She has a looming contract for a novel, but instead of writing she has to figure out what happened to the nanny and how to get to a meeting with her agent on time. When someone mistakes her conversation about a crime in her novel with real life, things go hilariously down hill.

First Sentence:

It’s a widely known fact that most moms are ready to kill someone by eight thirty A.M. on any given morning.

Discussion:

Oh yes, this sets the tone for the book perfectly. Anyone who has ever been a mom will undoubtedly relate to the chaos of this first scene.

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

I held him steady as he plopped down on the floor in front of Zach’s car seat, apple juice and Goldfish cracker goo sticking to the backside of his expensive suit as I pushed him backward with promises of the good time waiting for him if he climbed inside and laid down on the floor like a good boy.

As you might guess from this quote, this novel is a lively walk on the wild side.

I really enjoyed the freshness of this book. I will warn you, however, that at times Cosimano pushes right up against the hard cliff of believability.  At certain points I struggled to suspend disbelief, but I never felt it was enough to drop me out of the book or make me quit reading. You may have a different line.

I didn’t write down who in the group previously recommended this, but thank you for the recommendation.

What do you think? Would you like to read this? Have you ever struggled to suspend disbelief in a novel?

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