Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Silks by Dick Francis

At the amazing age of 88, Dick Francis has recently published his 44th novel, Silks. Francis' son Felix gets a co-author credit on this, as in their first collaboration, Dead Heat. Despite a heavy-handedness in the characterizations, Silks has all of the Francis trademarks: absurdly handsome hero, check; ascension of right over might, check; horse racing, check; violence, check. Geoffrey Mason is a widowed barrister and amateur steeplechase jockey who makes a dangerous enemy when he prosecutes the young ruffian Julian Trent. Too soon, Trent is out of jail and becomes the executor of a series of anonymous threats Mason receives when he undertakes the defense of a jockey accused of muder. Along the way you learn about foaling operations, horse racing over hurdles, how jockeys cheat at weigh-ins, and the English justice system (which is just like ours). This might not be Francis and company at the height of his powers, but how could Dick Francis not be a good read?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

Remember Me is a fun, enjoyable time spent reading. It's not heavy fiction. It's hardly even fiction that requires your eyes to be open. But, it's fun. Kinsella really knows how to write for an audience that isn't interested in high art, but rather good, entertaining fluff. I don't mean this in a critical way...but if you read even the first page of this one, you will see that the Pulitzer committee will not be considering this title. The story focuses a woman who loses her recent memory after she has a car accident. She forgets everything that has happened in the last three years. Yes, I know. UNBELIEVABLE. But, it sure is fun!

The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman

This book is a well-written exploration into the world of love. From three different angles, love and being in love is explored and examined. We have the love of two sisters and one of the sisters’ illicit, unimaginable love. Next, we have the infatuation type of love…love that is more about the “getting” than about the “keeping.” And finally we have the tale of tragic love, told from the POV of a young girl who gets caught in the middle of a doomed love affair. Hoffman brings all of her characters to life, as well as London…the city is brimming with vitality…which contributes to the book passion.

This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

A different type of fiction from Keyes...who normally sticks to one main character throughout her stories. This time, she jumps between four female characters...all of whom are connected by one devilishly charming and seductively powerful man. There is Lola…who has just been tossed aside by said man – for another woman. And Grace, a journalist who has more than her fair share of history with the man. And Grace's twin sister Marnie, who has been in love with the man for a long time. And finally Alicia…the woman for whom the man dumped Lola. An interesting concept that leads to a fascinating work of fiction – a good study of women and what they will and won’t do because of love.

Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn

OK -- I LOVED the first one -- Silent in the Grave -- and this one is good, but somehow, it didn't captivate me the first novel did. This one also features Lady Julia Gray and her PI cohort Brisbane -- who have sort of a Victorian Maddie Hayes/David Addison relationship...meaning they are civil to each other at time, argue at times, claim they can't stand the other and really just want to sleep together. This time, Julia, Brisbane, members of her family and some friends are snowbound in a castle retreat...and then one of the houseguests turns up murdered. Julia and Brisbane once again provide the right amount of sexual tension...without being too un-Victorian about it.