On March 25, the literary world lost two truly influential and inspirational authors. Beverly Cleary was one of my go-to authors in my childhood. Following the adventures of Ramona Quimby and her family and friends were comfort reads for me, ones that I returned to repeatedly. In my early twenties I discovered the novels of Larry McMurtry and found myself obsessively reading everything of his I could find. From the epic Lonesome Dove to other classics like Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show, Mr. McMurtry brought his characters to life and created storylines rich in detail and heart. Thank you Beverly Cleary and Larry McMurtry for sharing these stories with the world. You will be missed.
Last week I mentioned a readathon I would be participating in. Well, I did participate, but didn’t come anywhere near my goal! I’m going to blame the nice weather for only getting 503 pages read (that darn sunshine proved to be too much of a distraction!). But I was able to finish the following…
The Week in Books
Rusty Puppy by Joe Lansdale — 4 out of 5 stars
The tenth installment of the Hap and Leonard series finds the unlikely duo investigating the beating death of a young black man, which leads them deep into the world of police corruption and cover-ups. This is only the second in the series I’ve read and I have to say I’m fast becoming a fan! The stories are fast-paced and action-packed. And the added bonus? You don’t necessarily have to read them in order to appreciate the series. I’m looking forward to following Hap and Leonard’s adventures… and I really hope that little Reba, the “four-hundred-year-old vampire” makes another appearance in future installments!
Red Station by Kenzie Jennings — 4 out of 5 stars
The seventh splatter western put out by Death’s Head Press is the story of four stagecoach passengers who find themselves staying the night at an isolated house in the middle of the prairie, with hosts who are not what they seem. This is a character-driven, blood-soaked romp that may have you rethinking any future stays at a Bed and Breakfast with an overly friendly host family.
The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths — 3 out of 5 stars
Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway uncovers the remains of an alleged child murderer, while Detective Harry Nelson investigates the death of one child and the abductions of two others. The story itself was good, but really no surprises. What brought this down for me was the large number of characters and no idea who they were or what their relationship to Ruth was. This is a series that definitely needs to be read from the beginning in order to understand the complicated relationships between everyone.
The Body Will Follow by Rob Boley — ??? out of 5 stars
Carrie’s body was overtaken by The Wishes, who use her body in a debauchery-filled few weeks. After The Wishes are exorcised from her body, she teams up with an unlikely partner to try to save others from the same fate. I’ll start with what I liked: I loved the ghosts and I wish there had been more interactions with them. Other than that, I found the storyline a bit underwhelming. The attempt at humor often fell flat, and after a while the constant barrage of one-liners became annoying and distracting. The ending felt a bit rushed but I will say it was definitely unique and not something I saw coming. In a nutshell, I would have preferred more ghosts and less STDs.
Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies
Pray: A Horror Novelette by Aiden Merchant — 3 out of 5 stars
A story involving an isolated cabin in the woods and a family of man/monster hybrids terrorizing unsuspecting visitors should have been a slam-dunk little horror read. This one left me feeling a bit meh. The author mentions that this was going to be a longer story but he cut it back to the current length. Too bad, as I think it really needed more info, especially about the monsters, to make it really shine. However, it’s not a bad little read if you have an hour to kill (no pun intended).
Stay safe and Happy Reading!