Friday, March 28, 2014
The Cephalopod Coffeehouse - March
During our two Snow Days earlier this month, I tore through this Vermont-based police procedural mystery.
I've been reading Archer Mayor's work since he first published "Open Season" in 1988. I actually used to bump into him or attended his signings so often, he would autograph copies of his books with very humorous, personalized inscriptions.
This is his 24th novel in the Joe Gunther series. Gunther is a no nonsense, old school Vermonter who now heads the fictional Vermont Bureau of Investigation. The novel takes place in the wake of Hurricane Irene, a storm that caused us some damage (though not as much as the May Flooding did to us that year). The Hurricane exposes two decades old secrets in the state which wind their way throughout the novel. I was very pleased that I was kept guessing until the very end.
I really loved this book. Some of it might be my familiarity with the locales. I also know many people with the same last names as many of the characters...even some atypical Vermont names....the Governor is named Zigman....I know a Zigman! One of the detectives is named Spinney....I work with a woman whose maiden name is Spinney...I even knew a Kunkle at one point!
It's interesting to me to note how the longevity of the series has necessitated some changes. Gunther's age and military history is more muted than it was when the series started 25 years ago. There is less of a tying him down to specifics. When I started reading the series, I always pictured Joe as my grandfather...then later I imagined him as Mayor himself....now, I sometimes picture myself as the hero....
I'm also really excited for the next chapter in the saga...
I also abandoned one book this month.
I really wanted to like this one but I just couldn't get into it. It was too close to "The Series of Unfortunate Events", which I started out really liking but was ready for it to end by the 13th book, in terms of clever word play, characters, plot and narration.
I've read two good quotes about this book. The first is from The Guardian: "A Series of Unfortunate Events started brilliantly, but dipped in quality over its 13 books; this time, sensibly, Handler has limited himself to only four." However, I'm not interested in getting into any series right now!
The second comes from a GoodReads member: "Do any actual kids like Lemony Snicket books, or are they only read by hip parents who think that they are the kind of books they want their kids to like?"