Friday, July 22, 2016

What I'm Reading in July

I had read about Beth Lewis's The Wolf Road on one of the literary agents sites I've been hanging around lately and just happened to find the book at the Mt. Orab branch library in the new books section that same day. I'm only a third of the way in and am fascinated by her use of language and unique characters, especially her unusual protagonist, Elka.

When I first started reading The Wolf Road, I actually thought, Well, I'm not much for post-apocalyptic stories, do I really want to read this? But it's four days later and I haven't set it aside and taken out the next book from my library bag yet. Elka grows on you, and the apocalyptic settings are not intrusive on the story at all. I have fallen into the unusual rhythm of the language and dialect. The natural setting enhances the story, and the supporting characters, both human and animal, are perfectly portrayed. I won't try to lead you to believe that this is a sweet story. It isn't, it's often brutal and sometimes a bit gory, but those things are called for in this story, and it's no worse than some of the crime or mystery novels we read. In fact, I believe that the harsh scenes in The Wolf Road are more necessary than those in crime and mystery books.

The author, Beth Lewis, grew up in Cornwall, loves to travel, and has worked as a bank teller and a juggler. (I love it! Encourages me to think that even a lowly pharmacy tech can eventually find success in the literary world.) Currently, she works as a managing editor in a London publisher's office.    

You can read more about Beth online or on the book jacket author's bio on this first novel.
I look forward to finishing this book and to reading more from her in the future.

Before starting The Wolf Road, I read Brandilyn Collins' Gone to Ground, and was also pleasantly surprised. I have to admit, to my shame, that because Brandilyn has won a great many accolades for her books from American Christian Fiction Writers and Inspirational Readers Choice awards, I have avoided her books because we obviously write in different genres. But I found that Brandilyn's Gone to Ground couldn't have been more mainstream mystery. Her characters are drawn from real life -- abused wives, cleaning ladies, and divorced hairdressers. This was a really good novel and I loved how she used a different character's viewpoint for every chapter. She also added interest by using newspaper articles written by one of the characters. Although I suspected who done it about two-thirds through, I still wasn't sure, and the author kept me wondering if I was right. And I commend her on her great short prologue that really drew me in.

My apologies to Brandilyn Collins for thinking she was going to preach to me. 

I'm always so excited when I discover writers that I should have been reading all along. It's why I always pick such a variety of books to bring home with me from the library. At the rate of reading two books a week, I keep coming across some of the best and I would never be able to remember all of them. Two oldie but goody crime drama/mystery writers have recently caught my attention -- Harlan Coben and Michael Koryta. I wish I had discovered them sooner, but better late and all that. You can't go wrong with these two writers if you want to read a good mystery. 

It really is true -- so many books, so little time.

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