I was asked the other day why I no longer write reviews of the books that I list as “recently reading” in my sidebar. The answer is two-fold – one, I started reading books faster than I could review them and I had fallen into a compulsion to only review books in the order I read them, and two, I’ve never upgraded the section of my site where I store book reviews, and it’s a bit of a hassle to post them there because it is all hand coded.
But, I want to start reviewing books again. And so I’ve told myself I will review the books I read in 2007, starting with a nice clean slate. I’ve also decided, in the interest of actually making this happen, to not worry about updating the “reviews” portion of my site until the summer – I’m adding a “Reviews” category to my weblog and that can be used to find my current reviews on the off chance someone is interested.
So, without further ado….
The first book that I read in 2007 was a guilty pleasure, because New Years Day really calls for spending the day curled up on the sofa with a pot of coffee and a mystery novel. I’ve been reading Grafton’s alphabet mysteries for several years now, and picked up S is for Silence when I saw in in mass market paperback a couple of months ago. It was exactly what I had come to expect from a Grafton mystery – the plucky, loner private eye Kinsey takes a case that seems unremarkable until it turns out there is more to it than meets the eye. She takes impromptu road trips to follow a hunch, lives out of her purse, eats greasy diner food, aschews intimate relationships, and things get tense when she starts to get too close to the truth. Having read through the complete works of Raymond Chandler last summer, the refiguring of Marlowe in a modern female PI is obvious.
In this episode, a woman asks Kinsey to track down whether her mother ran away several decades earlier or if she was killed and the body was just never recovered. The writing is good enough to keep you from noticing it, and there was some fun play with flashbacks to keep the story interesting. I appreciated that Grafton got away from her recent trend of introducing a romantic interest for Kinsey into the books, and in fact focused pretty much exclusively on the mystery with very little time spent on Kinsey’s friends or angst about her own dark childhood. These aren’t the types of mysteries you’re likely to solve on your own – you can certainly guess where things are trending but the clues don’t all come out until the end. As I have with her last few books, I wish that Grafton kept the books more up-to-date; they seem to have stayed set in the 80’s, when the first books were published, and it is distracting for the stories to be almost modern, except for all of the times that Kinsey would be in far less physical risk if she carried a cell phone. But, for a lazy holiday weekend, it was well executed escapist fun. A ‘+’ for doing what it was intended to do well.