Monday, July 10, 2006

Dusty, Unboxed Stacks

Sorry for the late post this a.m., but I literally just finished reading a great book called Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy. Here's the high-concept blip: a bunch of murders take place, and it looks like the work of a serial killer. Turns out it is, and the killer is matching each murder scene to one found on a computer game called "Serial Killer Investigator." Unique! The plot has more twists than a typical thriller read, and the mother-daughter duo who write under the pseudonym P.J. Tracy are ultra-talented pace-makers and wordsmiths. I don't really expect a lot of "poetry" in a thriller, but these authors know how to add a dash without slogging down their rapid-fire pacing (e.g. describing the sky as a cloudless, deep hurtful blue). And despite some heart-stopping suspense that will make you lose sleep and neglect your bloggery duties, the book is stuffed with dynamic, believable characters who occasionally deliver such witty dialogue that you'll literally laugh out loud, startling the small animals asleep on your lap.

I knew the book would be good--it had received enthusiastic nods from a slew of respected reviewers and the public at large. I also knew the book would be unboxed; one look at the inside jacket cover told me that. Like Kath, I dive into great reads when I'm between projects--like now--but unlike Kath, I know in advance what those books will be. I hoard these books; they create a magnificent trembling tower beside my bed, collecting dust until I have time to scale the tower and rescue one from the top. Here are some of the other goodies I'm looking forward to:

Firethorn by Sarah Micklem
Foxmask by Juliet Marillier
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton (yes, I'm the one person on the planet who hasn't read this series...)
Capt. Hook by J.V. Hart
By the Light of My Father's Smile by Alice Walker
Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson

I doubt any of us has time for bad reads. We want something entertaining and maybe something we can learn from. I think all of the books in my tower can gift me something as a writer. Monkeewrench drove home the importance of characterization and wit, and provided a great lesson in pacing and surprise. It also gave me something to do: contact P.J. Tracy and see if this duo might be interested in an interview for WU.

How 'bout you guys? What's in your dusty tower? What do you look for in a read? Entertainment? Writerly lessons? Both? (Talk to's lonely without Kath!)

Lastly, treat yourself to a peek at the ultra-hooky opening pages of Monkeewrench by clicking HERE.

Write on, all!


Blogger thea mcginnis said...

i, too, have a stack of unreads. i'm looking forward to finally reading diana gabaldon's lastest in the Outlander saga, 'A Breath of Snow and Ashes." It's big like all the others and i need a cold wintery day snowed in all alone. cause its just too sunny to stay in and read all day!!!

1:23 PM  

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