Sunday, May 30, 2010

RAview: Lisa Scottoline's Think Twice

Lisa Scottoline's Think Twice is a thriller about twin sisters--one mostly good, one mostly bad. The bad one tries to kill the good one and temporarily take over her life as a rich lawyer. The pace feels fast, as short chapters are narrated by 3 characters (the twins, and a colleague and friend who is being duped) and typically end on cliffhangers. This is a plot-driven story, but the characters are complex and well developed.

Details relate to Italian families, relationships in which the woman is more financially successful than the man, working in a law firm, and police rules and politics. Story line themes consist of supernatural elements related to Italian heritage and religion, revenge, good vs. evil and the fine line between them, characters' psyches, friendship, trust, and romance. The tone is not too dark but there are fearful moments as well as touching, happy, and sad ones relating to the relationships among characters.

Of what I've read recently, this shares the most appeal elements with J.A. Jance's Desert Heat.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

RAview: Heat Wave

Richard Castle’s Heat Wave is, in a way, the perfect thriller for me. I’ve complained before that the thrillers I’ve read haven’t had enough character development for me, but, being the spin-off of the TV show Castle, I already had a sense of the characters (the book is “written” by the main the character of the show, and the novel’s protagonist is based on the show’s other main character). The two sidekick detectives weren’t fleshed out at all, but I simply pictured the two from the show.

The book gave a greater sense of New York City than the TV show, and the comparatively slow-motion action scenes allowed for a lot more detail about police stances, tactics, etc.

There was a mystery whodunit aspect to the story, made enjoyable with the smart twist that the detectives were teasing the main character (a journalist riding along with them for background for an article) about not having figured out the killer. I hadn’t either.

Witty dialog and romance are also big selling points for this book. The crime feels somewhat small and domestic to me after reading part of Andrew Gross’s The Dark Tide, and I liked the less complex scope.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lee Rowan's Tangled Web

The conflict that is central to most (all?) books in the romance genre feels so much more natural in Lee Rowan's Tangled Web: An M/M Romance because it is a romance between two men in Regency London. There are details of horse riding and breeding, old army days, a young woman's high-society courtship. There is a secret underground sex club with a feeling of escape and subculture within a culture of propriety reminiscent of parts of Sarah Waters's Tipping the Velvet.

This is a gentle romance between a younger and older man (although it is a fresh twist that the younger is the more active seducer) and a quick read. The tone is sensual, mysterious, exciting, taboo, tense. The characters are simple yet relatable and their progression of feelings is clear and universal.