Book: Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

One of the books that magically appeared with the rest of the Stephanie Plum novels from AJ. It’s a fairly light-hearted romance, with a twist of intrigue and some missing pieces of backstory. I like the main character most of the time, which puts it a step ahead of a lot of romances. Much of the story required an awful lot of suspension of disbelief, but that’s light-hearted romances with twists of intrigue for you.

Book: Glory In Death by J.D. Robb

As good as the first book in the series.

[Note: Not the most useful of reviews, I admit, but that’s how I found the post when I copied it over.  I presume I meant it as much as a “hey stupid, you already read this book!” reminder as an actual review.]

Book: Lethal Justice by Fern Michaels

Not the murder-mystery I was expecting when it was given to me. Not even a mystery, really, since you know exactly who did what right from the start. (The name is completely misleading, as not one person died in the story.) It’s a little weird, jumping into a book that is so obviously in the middle of an ongoing series. Several times, I felt like I was being beaten over the head with “and *this* reference is from an earlier book, and *this* reference is from an earlier book, and…” It was also slightly weird in that I got the sense that one of the major story elements was “tying up an old arc that spanned a couple of books.”

I had considered picking up some of the earlier books and seeing if that made things better, since on the whole the story was enjoyable, just weird. Then AJ sent home 10 books for me to read, and … it will be some time before I get any more of this series. Or any other series.

Book: The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers

Remember when I said that I dislike murder mysteries that the reader has no hope whatsoever in solving for themselves? This is one of those mysteries.

I don’t think I would have been quite as annoyed about it, except for this bit on page 21, which just happens to be in the middle of the initial crime-scene investigation (the victim is not even dead until page 12):

(Here Lord Peter Whimsy told the Sergeant what he was to look for and why, but as the intelligent reader will readily supply these details for himself, they are omitted from this page.)

I kid you not. I as the reader am supposed to know everything there is to know about the situation and note that something is missing from the contents of the victim’s satchel. And if I happen to have a different set of interests than painting and fishing (which are the pursuits of the townsfolk, as established in the first chapter), then I’m not even going to be thrown a bone.

Worse? Whimsy assumes that the item is missing because the murderer has a particular habit, and then spends a substantial amount of time later in the book observing the suspects to see if they have that habit. So it’s not like “Hey, whoever has the item is the murderer” (though the murderer is later found to have the item, and I didn’t pick up on that at all because I didn’t know that it was fucking missing in the first place). There is no reason they couldn’t have told me what the missing item was. Then I might have been able to form my own conclusions about why it went missing, and I’d have been able to observe the suspects along with His Lordship.

Now add in a thick Scottish accent that sometimes seems to be exaggerated for the purpose of confusing the reader and making them go back over it slowly. (“bluidy”? Seriously? If you had written it as “bloody” in with all the “ach”s and “aboots” and such, I’d have supplied the accent in my head, thanks. No need to make me sit and puzzle it all out.) The result is a book that I finished out of sheer stubbornness rather than out of any sense of enjoyment.

Book: Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

Continuing my trend of mooching books off of friends, I actually managed to have a quick turnaround time on this one. It also turned out to be a “stay up until 1am and finish the book” sort of book, though that was as much because I wasn’t tired yet as it was because the book was riveting.

I commented in February that Eleven On Top was a departure from the bumbling bounty hunter schtick, but that Evanovich had done it well, keeping the core of the character while letting her grow. Twelve Sharp continues that trend, and for the first time ever, she gets to help Ranger with things he can’t do, rather than being saved by him. (Don’t worry, she still gets saved by him a few times.) It’s nice to see Stephanie gaining some core competency, and being able to start holding her own on normal days. Evanovich keeps the bumbling aspect, by upping Stephanie’s challenges, but I can handle that– it was only when Stephanie continued having trouble with routine take-downs that I wanted to throw the book across the room.