So I have to tell a personal story, and if you don’t like it, that’s just tough bananas and crackers. Sometimes it pays to wander around aimlessly in the middle of a mystery conference. You never know what wonderful solutions you might stumble upon. In this particular instance, I happened upon Elizabeth Haynes, and her newest novel UNDER A SILENT MOON. Of course, I had to bypass a slightly impaired individual first, who when I asked her, “What’s everybody in line for?” She promptly and without the slightest hint of a smirk or a smile responded, “A book signing.” Thank you, Captain Obvious. Here would have been the perfect opportunity to offer up any number of wisecracks, all of which slipped right on by me in my semi-agitated state.
But I walked around, burned off a bit of steam, and discovered a treasure trove when I made it all the way to the front of the line. I received one signed ARC courtesy of Elizabeth Haynes and one signed hardcover courtesy of Alafair Burke, so yeah, I’d say it was worth the trouble. I also conveyed to Ms. Haynes how much I enjoyed INTO THE DARKEST CORNER, and I didn’t even need to fib. That alone probably could have put Albany on the map for me, but there are other stories to tell. None of which have anything remotely to do with this novel, so I’ll save them for another round on the merry-go-round.
Unfortunately, though, my complete intoxication made her newest novel just an okay read for me. Sure, it was a police procedural; sure, Louisa Smith (or Lou for short) has a soft voice, a sweet body, and a good head above her breastbone; sure, there was more than one body deader than a skunk on the side of the road; sure, the pace moved along in a rather efficient manner once I dipped a bit more than my toes in the water; sure, there was more than one bout of suffocation sexcapades that really set my imagination afire; and sure, the women and men were all equal parts intriguing and mind-boggling. And there might have even been a free love department marathon, not that yours truly was complaining.
But this novel didn’t make my toes curl, the way her debut novel did. I mean that was some serious shit, and this was merely minor shit. And I know I shouldn’t compare the two novels, and I know Ms. Haynes can write circles around plenty of writers and still have a few more spins left in the tank, and I know I probably would have enjoyed this novel had I not read her debut novel, but I can’t erase the image of that particular masterpiece from the equation, since it touched me on some deeper level, and nearly caused me to forget who I was for about six hours. While this tale just was strictly a wee bit of entertainment.
Oh, and I’d be a bit remiss, if I didn’t mention the situation near the end of this story, so cover your eyes and ears, if you’d prefer not to see how your eggs are cooked. *BEGIN SPOILER* (view spoiler)Suzanne Martin was a perfectly excellent villain, and might have been a bit too smart for her own good. But, seriously, you’re going to spout off the entire story of how you killed Polly Leuchars to Andrew Hamilton. I don’t care if he’s a fuckwit of an investigator, and you’re going to turn around and drug his ass later, and even if he was a rather entertaining shag for a few hours. *END SPOILER*
Otherwise, I’d say we’re doing just fine here. Just not fine enough for my heightened expectations.
I received this ARC for free at Bouchercon.