Friday, December 29, 2017

The Alphabet Now Ends at Y

I'm so sad to share sad news at what is considered a festive time of year, but Coffee Light and mystery fans throughout the world are mourning tonight. Our beloved Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Millhone mystery series died in California yesterday.

I've read every book in the series, excepting the latest one, Y is for Yesterday and I was hoping to begin it in the next week. I started with A is for Alibi, published in 1982 and thirty-five years later I was still reading. Over the decades Kinsey, a private investigator in the mythical southern California town of Santa Theresa, came to be a trusted acquaintance. When I came upon a new volume in the series I could trust I would find one of my favorite investigators embarking on a complex and interesting mystery adventure. This consistency of plot and character is what kept me and millions of other readers enthralled with Sue Grafton's writing.

 Sue Grafton never wanted a ghost writer for her work and now there will be no "Z." As her daughter, Jamie Clark wrote, "the alphabet now ends at Y."  Farewell, Kinsey and farewell, Sue Grafton. The world is a sadder place tonight.   

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I Never Thought I'd Fall in Love Again...

But I'm in love and I'm not hiding it.
At 67 I believed that my falling in love days were over and done. But after finishing Rather Be the Devil, Ian Rankin's latest mystery novel, I realized that I was in love and had been in love for years. Of all the men and detectives, I'd fallen for John Rebus, the very human hero of these novels.
Yes, Rebus is "seeing someone," may start smoking again at any second, lives 3,000 miles away in Scotland and perhaps the biggest impediment to our relationship, is a fictional character. But in this latest novel, dark and brooding as ever, he is very real to me, and his intelligence and sense of fairness drew me to him in this book, as in every past novel. In Rather Be the Devil Rebus has just retired from the Edinburgh police force, but not surprisingly is drawn back into an unsolved murder case from the 1970s.
In an era where corruption and power are part of every day discussion Rather Be the Devil looks at these issues through the lens of a mystery novel. As someone who has crossed over to retirement, I enjoyed seeing these issues through Rebus' cynical and experienced lens and the twists of the plot and the characters kept me reading.   
My dear Rebus, I'm glad your retirement was brief. I bet I'm not the only reader who waits eagerly for your next adventure when you'll once again be a part of my life.   

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Dry

Most of the Northern Hemisphere is shutting down for the summer. It's the end of the school year, the beginning of vacation season and most of the dreams people are dreaming include sand, waves and drinks with little umbrellas. But here at Coffee Light, we're not like most of the world. We're back from our way too-long hiatus with one of the best (mystery) novels I've read in a long time. It's not cozy in any way and there are no drinks with little umbrellas.

Jane Harper's debut novel, The Dry, takes place in a small town in Australia, that has suffered a devastating drought. People's tempers are at the edge and when Luke Hadler and his family are found murdered on their farm, the assumption is that Luke had come to the edge and crossed over it. But like so much in Kiewarra, things are not what they seem.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk left Kiewarra twenty years past, but has returned at the request of Luke Hadler's father to look into the murders. Though Falk's specialty is financial misdoings, he returns and begins to not only investigate what happened to his closest boyhood friend and his family, but other secrets of the town.

The Dry is dark, somber, sad and captivating. Aaron Falk takes his place in my pantheon of favorite detectives, flawed and human and tremendously engaging. For those of us waiting for his next appearance, Force of Nature is scheduled for publication in Australia -- may need to schedule a trip there -- in September.

For mystery fans who like their stories noir The Dry is a definite must read. Grab an iced coffee and settle down on a shaded porch. You're in for a great read. 
I'm not sure what my schedule will be, but I guarantee you that I'll be back (more than once) this summer. Happy reading!