After a month of reading like this one, I’m going to have to switch it up. Mix in some non-fiction, a memoir, and books with a more literary bent. Maybe some comics. I mean, lest I die of a heroine overdose.
Speaking of heroines, all of the books I read this month have a female protagonist front and centre.
Fatal Identity (Joanne Fluke)
In the case of Fatal Identity, the characterization of its heroine is its deepest flaw. The identical twin sister of a sophisticated movie star arrives in Los Angeles on the heels of her sister’s death. Soon, she finds herself taking on her sister’s life: living in her home, wearing her clothes, even shooting the final scenes of what would be her sister’s last movie. But what she doesn’t realize and the reader knows is that her sister was murdered––and she could be next. Duh duh dunnnnnn. Sounds like it could be the premise of a fabulously trashy Sidney Sheldon or Jackie Collins novel, right? It really wants to be, but no.
Described ––oh so repeatedly–– as “naive,” the main character would be more accurately referred to as a dumb twit. Like, tragically dumb. She is unable to make a single decision without the input of her sister’s lawyer (who luuuurved the sister but never spoke up until it was too late and transfers his love pretty much immediately to the twin because same looks=same person, apparently) and her sister’s husband who also falls in love with her instantly.
I can’t even believe I’m spending so much time describing this novel. Anyway, one of the men is bad and tormented and murdery, the other is good and hero-y. She lives. I read it so you don’t have to.
Brutality (Ingrid Thoft)
A more interesting lead is found in Brutality. She’s a kick-ass private investigator with a messed-up family and a deep sense of independence. She has strong interpersonal relationships. She has convictions. She goes her own way and stands up for those who are vulnerable amongst her clients and in her own family. Refreshing!
There is an interesting mix of good people and baddies, and it’s not always readily apparent which is which. At no point did I feel clubbed over the head with obviousness. I prefer books that give me a little credit. I haven’t read any other books in this series, but I will.
Assorted punny-titled cozies
So I kind of ODed on the light n fluffy paperbacks this month. I have to admit they’re all blurring together a bit at this point. 30-something woman with a failed marriage/aborted career returns to her hometown and ends up running the family business (bakery, cheese shop, hotel, nut farm) she loved as a child. Her relationship with the craggily/boyishly handsome local sheriff/police officer/man with mysterious past runs hot and cold as both he and she are alternately-but-seldom-concurrently magnetically attracted and/or emotionally unavailable. There is a murder or two. Usually two. A loved one is suspected. The main character needs to clear the loved one’s name. The love interest first asks for her help then forbids her to help, or vice versa. There are recipes.
A punny title gets me every time. Clearly, I have a place in my heart for these books. Just not so many in a row.
Got any must-read suggestions?