February 9th, 2013

Dead Dog Cat

#12, 13

I have the great luck to be friends and/or acquaintances with several folks who are authors. I'm always glad to get my hands on their books, and read them, whether they are highly technical, or pure fiction.

Thus, even though I have no direct interest in its subject matter, I picked up Hettie Lynne Hurtes book, Agents on Actors: Over Sixty Professionals Share Their Secrets on Finding Work on the Stage and Screen. I found the book readable for several reasons. First is that the author is a consummate interviewer, and she's gotten these agents to give her terrific quotes of great use to actors. Second, we know a number of people, here in Southern California who are making their way in Hollywood, and the tips suggested here mirror the observations I've made about our friends' successes in working the system. Third, for those of us not in The Business who live in this region, it's still a matter of conversation and attention to be aware of what goes on. So, this seems a valuable book. My only quibble is that it was written in 2000; by now, it might be worth considering an update as agents may have retired or passed on?

Following reading that book, I found and read a graphic novel authored by Christopher Moore, an author of some popularity in humorous novels, and of whose works I've already read one. So when I heard about this graphic novel, I had high hopes for it. Called The Griff, it postulates an alien invasion with griffin-like invaders that nearly wipe out the Human Race, but a small group of survivors take them on. Not a bad premise. Unfortunately, I found that the continuity of the artwork didn't gel for me; I had trouble following what was supposed to be happening. Too bad...

Book 30: Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs

Book 30: Flash and Bones (Tempe Brennan #14).
Author: Kathy Reichs, 2011
Genre: Forensic Crime Fiction. Police Procedural.
Other Details: Hardback. 278 pages.

This fourteenth in this series is set in Charlotte, North Carolina and opens with Tempe being called to a landfill near a NASCAR venue where a body has been found encased in asphalt inside a drum. Before the identity of the body is confirmed Tempe is approached by racing engineer Wayne Gamble, whose teenage sister Cindi disappeared twelve years previously along with her boyfriend Cale Lovette. The investigation had gone cold though as the boyfriend had ties with a local right-wing extremist group the FBI was briefly involved. It was generally thought they had gone underground but Wayne isn't convinced and believes there was a cover-up.

Local law enforcement also are wondering if the body could be that of a tourist from Atlanta reported missing. However, before this can be ascertained the FBI confiscates the body and cremates it. Tempe is naturally angry and continues to investigate the Gamble/Lovette disappearance with the assistance of Cotton Galimore, Head of Security at the racetrack who in his former career as a detective had worked the original case, and occasional supporting character Detective Erskine (Skinny) Slidell, whose now-deceased partner had worked the case with Galimore. When someone close to the investigation is found dead in suspicious circumstances, Tempe realises her own life could be in danger.

Well of course it will be as Tempe's life is always in danger near the climax of these novels. I'm not convinced it is strictly necessary but it seems a convention of the genre, especially in US crime fiction. There is some light relief when Pete, Tempe's not-quite-yet-ex-husband, asks for her help in dealing with his twenty-something fiancée, Summer, who is driving him crazy with her wedding planning. We get to see Tempe's catty side in her internal musings about Summer. Her libido also starts shaking her up every time Galimore is around, which is nice given her ongoings difficulties with Detective Andrew Ryan back in Canada. Hopefully, he'll be back.

I read this slightly out of order as when I wrote up my Goodreads review for Bones are Forever (2013 Book #9) , I realised that I had inadvertently skipped over Book #14. As with other novels in the series, this proved a quick read and while not amongst my favourites, it still provided an interesting mystery with plenty of forensic details.