Saturday, November 28, 2015

In The Dark by Chris Patchell


Happy(belated) Thanksgiving!. After a wonderful day of cooking and eating and watching football, I did pretty much nothing the next day...except finish In The Dark.

This is an excellent book. Not to be cliché, but this book is truly captivating. I found myself trying to speed read through it yet I was afraid I would miss something.

Here's what it is about:

"Marissa Rooney stands in her daughter’s empty dorm room, a half-used vial of insulin clutched in her trembling hand. Brooke has been missing for days. Her roommate hasn’t seen her since that night in the bar. And if Marissa has Brooke’s insulin, it means that Brooke does not.
But Marissa isn’t alone in her terror. A phantom from her past is lurking in the shadows, waiting in the night, and holding her family captive…"

Brooke has gone missing from college. And another girl who looks like her went missing a month before her. At first the police don't really think there is much too age, probably took off with her boyfriend for the weekend etc. Marissa is sure there is something wrong. Marissa has had a rough life trying to raise her two daughters through three failed marriages, and some really bad choices. After finally convincing the police to actively look for her, Seth Crawford is assigned to the case. He has his own demons that follow him. Brooke is diabetic and needs insulin. That alone could be fatal. The search costs both Marissa and Seth their jobs and they go with their gut feeling rather than protocol.

The author does a really good job of making you feel what the characters feel; not only the emotions (fear, sadness, pain, and Whew!), but the darkness of the woods, and the cold wet weather of the Northwest. We are also inside the head of the person responsible for the disappearances. But the author doesn't let us know who it is for awhile.

I could see a sequel with Marissa and Seth working together as a team. We will see.

Chris Patchel also wrote Deadly Lies which I believe was her debut novel. Both take place in Seattle but are stand alones. In The Dark is so well written, I find it hard to believe she has only written two novels.

I think you would like it.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"10 Novels Written in About a Month"

Hope you are having a good weekend.

I am currently reading: In The Dark by Chris Patchell. So far, really good.

Do you ever wonder how long it takes authors to write a book? Since I am not a writer, I really have/had no idea. My local library hosted Susan Wittig Albert several years ago and I attended her talk. She was asked how long it takes to write one of her China Bayles series books. She said she writes a specific number of pages a day, certain hours of the day, and has breaks at certain times. Hmm just like a job. haha on me. I don't know what I thought authors do...stay up all night, stop what they are doing at any hour and write? Have you ever see the movie Funny Farm with Chevy Chase? He is an aspiring author who quits his job and moves to the country to write. Hilarious.

Came across this list of "10 Novels Written in About a Month". Which ones have you read?

"National Novel Writing Month is upon us.  For those beginning hopeful novelstirelessly typing through scenes of dialogue and character descriptions, finding a rhythm, losing it, hitting a snag in the plotlineit can seem overwhelming to pen something substantial in just thirty days.  But it’s not impossible.  Here are ten authors who wrote some of their most important work in around a month."

This story was first published on The Reading Room.
clockworkorange-smallA Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
Burgess admits writing his best known novel in about three weeks and doing so only for the money.  The novel went on to be adapted by Stanley Kubrick, whose classic film did not meet Burgess’ approval.

I think we read some of this in high school or watched the movie. Not a favorite of mine, but a cult classic.

gamblerThe Gambler, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Dostoevsky wrote The Gambler in conjunction with his masterpiece Crime and Punishment.  At the time, he was in debt as a result of his gambling addiction and decided to quickly write this semi-autobiographical novella in order to alleviate financial woes.

ontheroad-smallOn The Road, by Jack Kerouac
Kerouac spent seven years on the road, travelling across America and taking notes the whole time.  Perhaps as a result of such preparation Kerouac was able to sit down and pen the entire novel in less than a month.  Interestingly, Kerouac typed the entire manuscript on one long, taped-together piece of teletype paper that was reportedly 120 feet long.
Hmm never read this but I think I went to a reading of some of his stuff a long long time ago.

dying-smallAs I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
Faulkner wrote this formally inventive masterpiece in less than six weeks while working the night shift at a power plant.  Perhaps even more amazingly, he claims he didn’t change a single word.
I read this also in school.

casinoroyale-smallCasino Royale, by Ian Fleming
Fleming’s first Bond novel took about two months to write.  This wasn’t an anomaly but became his template.  He shaved off a fortnight, with each of the following Bond novels taking about six weeks apiece.
One of my favorite movies

a-study-in-scarlet-smallA Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle
The first novel to feature legendary fictional detective Sherlock Holmes took Arthur Conan Doyle just three weeks to write.  If anything proves what can be accomplished in less than a month, it’s this.
Another I have seen on t.v. but not read. Really good.

confidential-smallThe Confidential Agent, by Graham Greene
Like Dostoevsky, Greene was working on what would become his career defining masterpiece, The Power and the Glory, when he decided to write another novel in order to make some money.  The Confidential Agent, one of Greene’s best loved “Entertainments” was written in just six weeks.

juryI, the Jury, by Mickey Spillane
Spillane wrote his Mike Hammer novel in nine days.  Not bad considering the book went on to sell 7 million copies in just three years.
Ok. Mickey Spillane was before I was born BUT they made some great movie adaptations of his books. Saw several of them on one the classic t.v. channels. I really enjoyed them.

christmasA Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Like Arthur Conan Doyle, Dickens was able to write a book that would become a beloved classic, imagined and reimagined in countless adaptations, in a remarkably short amount of time.  A Christmas Carol took just six weeks and came to define the spirit of the season.
I have seen several of these movie adaptations. I have liked them all. I have never read the book.

the-boy-in-the-striped-pyjamasThe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, by John Boyne
Boyne was so fervently engrossed in the story he was writing that he couldn’t stop.  After two and a half days a contemporary classic was born.  Perhaps it goes without saying, but eating and sleeping and other daily needs took a backseat to finishing the novel.

You are probably familiar with some of these. Are you surprised?


Friday, November 20, 2015

Fun Fridays

Yay it's Friday! Found a new website that has fun quizzes and trivia.

Try this "quiz": Do You Have a Book Hoarding Problem?
Here is my score:

All in fun. But Half Price Books is a dangerous place for me. I go in with a bag of books to sell and spend the money on more books. Although I am "collecting" more ebooks now. That's risky because I can see how you could get so many books you wouldn't know what you even have. :)

Check out your status at the following link.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wind Down

While the cover looks more like a Stephen King novel, I found it to be a refreshing change from some of the books I have read lately. No one was held captive, tortured and killed.

"Aaron Starks survived a near death experience when he was stabbed by an unknown assailant. All of his college roommates were suspects. However, investigators could turn up nothing to catch the attempted murderer.
Fifteen years later, Aaron is all grown up with a family. Things are going great until he starts experiencing strange blackouts and other paranormal visions. During the blackouts he still interacts with others, but he cannot remember anything he said or did. Doctors are unable to provide an answer. It is not until Aaron has an encounter with Ju'van, a local shaman, that he realizes what he needs to do. He is sent on a journey to meet up with all his old roommates to discover the truth on what really happened the night he was stabbed in the back."

The story shares an interesting take on mortality and had some interesting symbolism. It was very suspenseful and held my interest. A quick read with a surprise twist at the end.

This is actually a book I very well may go back and read again. After the "Oh....o.k.." ending, I want to reread it with that in mind.

(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Holiday Mysteries

I wanted to tell you about the next Murder She Baked movie coming up on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. A Plum Pudding Mystery written by Joanna Fluke will be shown November 22 at 8 p.m. It is #12 in the Hannah Swensen series. Hallmark has done a great job making the books into movies.

Video from Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery

So then I thought, what are some books with a holiday theme. Mysteries of course. I will share a few with a Thanksgiving theme for now since that is coming up awfully quick.

Bittersweet by Susan Wittig Albert (One of my favorite cozy authors): #19 in the China Bayles series. China will be visiting her mother at her ranch for Thanksgiving...


The Cat Who Talked Turkey by Lillian Jackson Braun: I think I have read all of the "Cat Who.." books. I am partial to cats. This is #26 in the "Cat" series.


The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis. #1 in the Domestic Diva series. This story involves the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown! Fun, quick, cozy.


Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet, #1 in the Max Tudor series. I like this series a lot. It takes place in a quaint English village. Nether Monkslip is celebrating their Harvest Fayre.


Still Life by Louise Penny: #1 in the Inspector Gamache. Very good series. I have read all of these too. Trouble in Three Pines/Montreal in the holiday season...


Here is one I didn't know about: A Fatal Feast by "Jessica Fletcher" and Donald Bain. #32 in the Murder She Wrote series. Jessica Fletcher is hosting Thanksgiving dinner in Cabot Cove. And you can guess how that will turn out.


Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb: #32 in the In Death series. I haven't read any of this series but I know several of my book club friends have and liked them. Thanksgiving in NYC....


Shoot Don't Shoot by J.A. Jance. #3 in the Joanna Brady series. I have not read this series either but have heard good things about it...


That should give you a few to read for the long holiday.