Book Report, or What I’ve Been Reading
Though I write Regency Historical Romances, while I am writing I tend to read grittier, darker stuff. What can I say? My witty banter fires are fueled by suspense…
Over the past couple of months while I’ve been finishing up the first book in my new trilogy, I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries and thrillers. And by a lot, I mean almost exclusively. (I did take a small detour to read Lisa Kleypas’ Dreamlake, because, hello! It’s Kleypas!) So, like any avid reader, I’ve been dying to dish about my new discoveries, and what better place to share than here with my Kiss and Thrill brethren? Or sisthren? Or whatever.
First up, is Karin Slaughter. OMG, where have I been? I first started reading Slaughter when the first book in her Grant County series was a freebie on Kindle. But then I remembered that I wasn’t supposed to read Karin Slaughter because she’d killed off a beloved character. (I’d gone through that before with Elizabeth George and I didn’t want to do it again.)
So I made myself stop cold turkey. Right in the middle of the book. But I kept hearing things about her Will Trent character. And I had really liked the writing in that first book. So I decided to try one of the Will Trent books, thinking I’d be okay since the character that was killed off was in the Grant County series. Boy am I glad I did. I simply adore the Will Trent series. Will himself is a fascinating character. He grew up in the foster system in Atlanta, is a dyslexic and to my delight he’s having a romance. The books are set mostly in and around Atlanta, which I also enjoy since I’m somewhat familiar with the city. If you like a good police procedural with strong characterization, you really can’t go wrong with this series. The first book in the series is called Triptych.
Next, is a series set in and around the Boston area, the Darby McCormick series from Chris Mooney. Darby McCormick is a CSI investigator for the Boston Police department, and she is one badass lady. With her BFF Jackson Cooper (whom, I don’t mind telling you is my choice for her to hook up with), who is a fingerprints expert, she navigates the sometimes choppy waters of the Boston political machine while also doing her best to solve crimes. So far the mysteries have ranged from your typical psychosexual serial killer madman, to the Irish Mafia, to a creepy cult. But they always keep me on the edge of my seat, and I am desperate for Darby to get some happiness in her private life. Unfortunately for US readers, only the first book in the series, The Missing, is available in the United States, but the rest of them are for sale at Amazon.uk. I’m hoping that soon they’ll be brought out in the US soon because I want other folks to read them and dish with me!
I’ve also gotten off my duff, so to speak, and finally read some Tami Hoag. She’s one of those authors I’ve heard about for years but never tried. But when I kept seeing her Oak Knoll trilogy on my list of recommended reads on Amazon and Goodreads, I decided to give her a try. And I’m so glad I did. The Oak Knoll trilogy, which starts with Deeper than the Dead, is set in the 80s. It’s the time before the CSI effect, before the prevalence of DNA, and even before the internet. The first book follows an elementary school teacher and a few of her students as they deal with the aftermath of finding a serial killer’s victim in the local park, and the detectives of the sheriff’s department as they conduct their investigation. Hoag tells the story from multiple points of view and the technique works quite well—especially when it comes to the children. Though I think the first book is the strongest, all three are edge-of-your-seat mysteries.
Last but not least, I’ve just finished up the second book of Amanda Kyle Williams’ Keye Street mysteries. Set in Atlanta, these books are told from the point of view of former FBI profiler, Keye Street, who was kicked out of the FBI in disgrace after one too many alcoholic episodes. Now she’s a private investigator and sometime bounty hunter who does consulting work from time to time for the APD, often at the request of her BFF, Detective Aaron Rauser. At times hilarious, at times poignant, these books are compulsively readable, and I especially enjoy Keye’s circle of friends, who include her pot-smoking hacker associate Neil, and her cat, White Trash, so named because she is white and Keye found her rooting around in the trash. Add in her neurotic mother and henpecked father and you’ve got the typical southern family with a twist. The twist is that Keye and her brother were both adopted—Keye is Chinese American and her brother is African American. This series is easily one of my best reading finds this year. In case you’d like to try it, the first book is called The Stranger You Seek.
So, there you have it. What I’ve been doing with myself—besides writing like a fiend. Let’s take a day to dish about our favorite reads. What have you been reading? Anything new and fun? I know I’ve got quite a few things to look forward to on the romantic suspense front from the month of October. Do tell! Inquiring minds want to know!