Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Snitch in Time by Sunny Frazier

Sunny Frazier always delights, and A Snitch in Time is no exception. She writes the Christy Bristol series in a way that feels lighthearted even in its darkest moments. When Bristol goes on vacation to visit her friend, Lennie, she never expects to get drafted into working for a different department doing her job. Bristol is intrigued enough by the crime at hand that her protestations seem half-hearted at times though her annoyance is very real. When she and Lennie get into a fight, she's left with nothing but the work the department expects her to do. Frazier drops the reader in the Sierra Nevada Foothills creating a sense of isolation that makes the reader cheer for Bristol to stand up to her superiors and get out of there while simultaneously wanting to her to solve the crime. When a witness contacts Bristol via phone she doesn't take her seriously at first only to discover she might have vital information. With suspicion cast in multiple directions, Bristol isn't sure who to trust even suspecting the forest ranger whose cabin she borrows briefly. When she and Lennie finally make up, Bristol finally finds someone to talk through what she's learning about the case who can understand her position. Throughout the book, Frazier keeps the reader wondering what Bristol will do next and if it will bring her closer to solving the case or put her in danger. A Snitch in Time is a fun, fast paced, easy to read mystery that will leave the reader wanting more of Christy Bristol and her best friend, Lennie.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Reincarnation of Douglas Kavanaugh by Tony Haynes

I started reading The Reincarnation of Douglas Kavanaugh by Tony Haynes uncertain what to expect. I'm familiar with Haynes's poetry and songwriting, but I hadn't read his prose before. Haynes creates a realistic world that feels both familiar and unfamiliar. As I allowed myself to drift into the world Douglas Kavanaugh inhabits and stop trying to create poetry, I felt Kavanaugh's struggle to figure out his life as it changed from one incarnation to another. There's a supernatural feeling to Haynes's writing that left me feeling like I was on a ride between realities and life changes. Kavanaugh goes from likable to unlikable and back to likable. He inhabits many different personalities and motivations but always remains faithful to his desire to not only cure cancer but rid the world of it. His drive to achieve this goal often conflicts with his desire to enjoy his life. His strong need to cure the world also allows him to compromise scientific testing to begin implementation not quite realizing just how the side effects from his cure will affect the world for both the good and the bad. The conflict that arises when those side effects take place forced me to think about my future, my ambition, my role in the world. The Reincarnation of Douglas Kavanaugh is at its heart a story exploring the ripple effect of every action we take in the world.

Monday, April 6, 2015

New and Selected Poems Volume One by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver's New and Selected Poems Volume One covers decades of Mary Oliver's poetry. With many nature poems populating the pages, Oliver draws direct lines between the world in which we live and the experience of living in the world. Threads of melancholy and joy weave together a full experience of life in the examination of changing seasons.Oliver takes the reader through the forest and into the snow visiting myriad animals along the journey. In this way, she immerses the reader in the functioning of the world and the experience of those whose lives we can only imagine. In doing so, she leads the reader to a deeper understanding and connection with self. At times New and Selected Poems Volume One feels like a wild, unpredictable ride and at other times it feels like floating on a calm river as it delivers beautifully written, relatable poems.