A Reader's Diary

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Reviews of Kathy Reichs's Fatal Voyage and Grave Secrets

I received High School Bites by Lisa Conrad in the mail today... a teen lit Buffy-esque vampire story. Looks like a fun read. It promises "historical tidbits about Irish auther Bram Stoker, plus fascinating myths and legends about vampires". Will post a review when I'm done.

Today's reviews:

Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs (forensic mystery thriller)

Dr. Brennan is called in when an airplane crashes in the mountains of North Carolina. But someone wants her gone after she pokes around an old cabin in the area; Dr. Brennan is accused of violating procedure and is removed from the investigative team. She must dig deeper to solve the mystery she has stumbled upon in order to clear her own name and fulfill her sense of duty to the dead.

A good story, well-written with an especially gory opening scene. However the resolution to the mystery, the hidden secret, was a little bit too over-the-top in terms of believability. Interesting nonetheless, and anthropological as always.

Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs (forensic mystery thriller)

Dr. Tempe Brennan is in Guatemala assisting in the recovery of the remains of victims of a paramilitary death squad when she is asked to assist on a case of missing teen girls and one skeleton discovered in a septic tank. Tempe finds herself involved in a complex and dark web of secrets that becomes even more deadly when two members of the forensic archaeology team are attacked on the highway. With help from local allies and Det. Ryan, Tempe races between Guatemala and Montreal trying to unravel the threads to find the truth.

I really enjoyed this book, and only partly because I felt so connected to much of the content (I've attended a lecture by Clyde Snow, and studied Peruvian trophy skulls). The promise of more romance for Tempe added another dimension to the series. The plot was quite tangeled, but Reichs presents just enough clues to maintain a sense of direction and discovery for the reader.

Happy reading!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Advance review of The Red Power Murders

I received an advance readers copy of The Red Power Murders, "a Thumps DreadfulWater mystery" novel, from the HarperCanada First Look program at http://www.harpercollins.ca . The release date is set for March. The author, Thomas King, is a university professor and a member of the Order of Canada, which is cool; Canada is mentioned a number of times in the novel, although it is set in the US. I'd love to hear any comments from anyone who has read the previous book DreadfulWater Shows Up especially, or any of his other books.

Today's review:

The Red Power Murders by Thomas King "writing as Hartley GoodWeather"

This is an old-fashioned detective/mystery story, with a twist: the “detective” is Thumps DreadfulWater and the mystery centres on events that took place years ago involving the “Red Power” Native movement when FBI agents were killed and a Native activist disappeared. When more bodies start to pile up in the little town Thumps lives in now, he knows that solving this depends on finally solving the mystery of what happened all those years ago.

The small, mainly Native town of Chinook is a different and refreshing setting for this type of novel. The Red Power Murders is a good mystery that, while not a suspenseful page-turner, nevertheless keeps the reader guessing. With a wry sense of humour to lighten the tone, this book is perfect for a winter night by the fire.

Happy reading!