Wednesday, June 30, 2010

RAview: Lisa Gardner's Hide

Finally, a thriller I really liked! Lisa Gardner's Hide is narrated from two perspectives--Annabelle, a potential victim who's case may be related to a discovery of six girls' bodies, tells her side in the first person, while Det. Bobby Dodge's perspective is told in third person.

This book is part of a series featuring female detective D.D. Warren, but I didn't know it was part of a series until I finished the book and looked it up online. Background is smoothly woven in, and Annabelle is a character unique to this book, and she was really the draw for me.

The pacing is fast, and readers are sympathetic with the characters of Annabelle and Bobby, although a sense of "Who can you trust?" niggles throughout the book. The story line features short chapters often left on cliffhangers that slowly reveal bits of the mystery of Annabelle's past as well as everyone's understanding of the current case.

The book is set in Boston, and it does have an urban feel. It is marked by details of detective work, sewing and fabric (Annabelle has a curtain-making business), dog ownership, self defense, changing identities, a psych ward. The tone ranges among paranoia, sadness, fear, and longing but also survival and pride.

Also, props to the publisher for selling this ebook at the Sony store for $1.99. I'd never read Gardner before, and I plan to read more of her.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dave Cullen's Columbine

I stopped reading Brenda Jackson's Irresistible Forces forces because there was just too much sex. (WTF, Anna? I know.) The thing is, the only conflict in the book was that maybe the couple was falling in love even though that wasn't their intention, and conflict is what makes romance great. There was no anticipation, no coyness, nothing held back.

Totally a bizarre way to start a post about a hard-core journalistic nonfiction book about a school shooting,
I know, but after quitting that book, I wanted the other extreme--a serious book. Dave Cullen's Columbine is of course sad, terrifying, and gruesome. But it is also a fascinating psychological study of the killers and a detailed look at what the media got wrong and how the media affected witness testimony and public perception even to today.

My turn from one book to the other was all based on tone. I was over the sensuous, light, romantic, escapist tone of the sexy romance and wanted something gritty and grounding. Cullen's book has good characterization, as he follows some of the most famous survivors of the tragedy as well as the victims, killers, and their families. It's a fast-paced read, despite details of the plan, Harris and Klebold's journaling and emotional lives, and other students' relationships with and perspectives on them. For nonfiction, the language is descriptive, and Cullen writes at times to echo the thought patterns of angry young men or the devoted principal.