Those of you who check this place regularly may have noticed that I have been…well, mostly absent, for the past few weeks.
Without going into detail, life is sucking out loud at the moment.
Among other things, I’m in the midst of the worst reading slump I remember–ever.
I have not read anything new since the last TBR Challenge book I reviewed, Boots & Bagdes, sometime mid-May. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I haven’t been able to read anything–at all–since mid-June.
For someone who usually reads four to five books a week, this has been hell.
In desperation, I looked up audiobooks.
I just saw a ‘feel good’ story in the news.
There’s this woman in Maine who owns a pretty well known bed and breakfast/inn. She has owned for over two decades, but it’s ready to move on (those winters get harder every year, I’m sure). But it’s not so easy to unload a property of that size and with all the attendant money investment, after buying.
Except, you don’t have to buy it to own it.
For those who have been reading this here blog for the past oh, three weeks? It may seem that indeed I’m always in a rage–or at least fairly angry on a regular basis.
Bad of me to disappoint you, but this is not true.
In fact, again despite appearances, I’m often quite happy.
Playing the Odds, by Nora Roberts
Anyone who has read my blog/reviews for any length of time is probably aware that I’m a fan of Nora Roberts’ writing. The woman can write incredibly strong heroines, believable children, realistic family dynamics, great dialogue, pretty decent suspense, long running police procedural with romantic elements series…
Yeah, you name it, she’s probably written at least one of these. Her current list of published works comfortably exceeds 200, and La Nora doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
I have piles of Nora Roberts titles in my house, most of them read (and in my keeper room (I love books, what can I say?)) but a few yet unread titles exist—mostly, some of her first efforts. For some obscure reason hidden in my subconscious I often hesitate to read these older books.
Okay, it’s not really obscure nor hidden: I’m afraid that Ms Roberts’ first published works will not compare favorably with her more current oeuvre—which is actually bullshit, because I can re-read such early connected books as the five Calhoun stories and be as engrossed now as I was when I first discovered them (in 1997, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth and cell phones were heavier than a toolbox).
Whiskey Beach, by Nora Roberts
Let me preface this review by saying that I have read—and own—a pretty large number of Ms Roberts books. Furthermore, of all of the ones I’ve read, I’ve only disliked one, enjoyed most of the rest, and a few select ones I can read and re-read over and over, they are that good, in my opinion. I do try to be as objective as possible about what makes a book work for me and what makes it fail, but I have been reminded just today that trust in an author can make me suspend disbelief and keep on reading longer than would be the case with a hit-and-miss or new-to-me author.
And with that, let’s take a gander at the book jacket cover blurb:
Witness in Death, by J. D. Robb
In the interest of full disclosure, be warned that I am very fond of this novel, not only due to the writing, plot and characterization, but because it’s the first …in Death novel to openly borrow from an Agatha Christie story (“Witness for the Prosecution”, the play).
Also, given that Calculated in Death, the 36th¹ full length novel in the series (there are also 8 short stories and one novella published so far) is coming out later this month, this review is more due to nostalgia than any urgent need for more reviews for any one title in the series².
Witness in Death is the tenth novel in the series. The world and technology (such as it is)³ of Robb’s future are pretty much established at this point, as are the main relationship dynamics. Roarke and Eve have been married just over half a year, Peabody has been Eve’s aide for just under a year and is at this point dating both McNabb and Charles. This is also one of the three novels in which Chief Medical Examiner Morris is called Morse in the original paperback editions (over a dozen years later, this still bugs me, as Morris is a favorite character of mine).
The (rather terrible) back cover blurb:
As I posted the other day, there are a number of reasons why I love Nora Roberts.
There is the fact that she is a professional through and through–which I have cause to know first hand (or as first hand as online interactions can be,that is).
Back in the day, Ms Roberts would read and post frequently to Karen Scott’s blog, to Dear Author and to Smart Bitches, participating in conversations on a variety of topics. It was not rare that some idiot or other tried to get a rise out of her by baiting her–subtly or otherwise–and I don’t believe I ever saw her behave unprofessionally.
Once or twice she did lose her cool, to be sure, but even then she never crossed the line of civility and never ever descended to the level of the trolls attacking her.