To become a follower to Darlene's blog, click on the "follow" tab at the very bottom of the screen.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Unexpected Reminder; or, New Taste in Books?


Everyone who leaves a comment on this post will be entered into a drawing for a copy of Dana Mentink's mystery, Trouble Up Finny's Nose.

I’m going to mention books I read in April … eventually.

But first, it’s been a bit of a hard day. I went to the hairdressers today, an activity I enjoy.

The problem today was … the last time I had my hair colored was that Saturday. The day I banged on Jolene’s door and went to the salon when she didn’t answer. Seven weeks ago today. The stylist expressed her sympathy (she had cut Jolene’s hair several times). After that, we talked about happy things. I didn’t come even close to crying.

But the reminder, plus my badly aching knee, has left me sore, physically and emotionally.

But it’s time to discuss another favorite activity: reading books.

Of the twelve books I read in April, all but one of them were mystery/suspense.

Shameless Self Promotion (SSP): The new Heartsong Presents: Mysteries! (HPM) books Death on a Deadline and Trouble Up Finny’s Nose entertained me far more than books by some of my favorite authors. (SSP because my book Gunfight at Grace Gulch is one the book club selections.)

The trio of three sisters, Christine Lynxwiler, Jan Reynolds, & Sandy Gaskin, wrote a seamless first-person story about newspaper columnist Jenna Stafford. Dana Mentink brings the quirky characters of Finny’s Nose to hilarious life. In the midst of laugh-out-loud lines, Dana’s heroine grieves her husband’s death. It touched me where I live for now, in grief, in a way that restored faith.

Unlike other mysteries. Mom and I are both big mystery fans, whether television or books. The problem now is they often strike too close to home.

It seems like lately every other story includes a suicide or a hanging. In his new book Rage, Jonathan Kellerman described the death of a troubled 16-year-old: “Birthday suicide. Unable to face another year.” That’s exactly what happened to my troubled almost 24-year-old.

Have there always been so many references to suicide, that never registered until it happened to me? Or has it become the plot-device-of-the-month that hits me when I’m already down?

Sometimes I push past the hard parts, like in Rage. Other times, I close the book (Lord Jonathan and the Brotherhood of the Blade) or turn off the television (recent episodes of Cold Case and Psych).

Well, this was going to be a book review. Instead, it turned into an essay about books. I’ve always turned to books for escape; what do I read now that my favorite genre has become horrifying fact, not fiction? `

Honorable mention, in addition to the 2 HPM books I mentioned earlier:

1. When Darkness Fades by James Grippando. If you haven’t discovered this series about Miami-based, half-Cuban defense attorney Jack Swytek, check it out.
2. Golden One by Elizabeth Peters. Another winner from the Peabody/Emerson series.
3. Hidden in Plain Sight, my one nonfiction book of the month, by Mark Buchanan.


Mary Connealy said...

I think you're touching on something really important here, Darlene.

The idea that a book will touch everyone in a different way. In part because of their own life experience.

I had one person tell me an assault in one of my books was terrorizing to her, even though I thought it was pretty mild. But she'd been attacked once and it was too traumatic.

This can be bad but it can also mean we are touching people in GOOd ways with our work, sometimes in unintended ways. And that can just be God's hand using your work for Himself.

I'm sorry you're finding things that hurt you in this way.

It's one of the good things about Heartsong Cozies, the humor and lack of gritty material.

Darlene Franklin said...

Yeah Heartsong Cozies!

Mary & I are both authors of Heartsong Cozies. :)

jaranfranklin said...

I'm glad you went by her apartment that Saturday. One theory out there is that the soul hangs out near the body for three days. I know "absent from the body, present with the LORD," but is this idea really out of the question. Well, we don't have much to substantiate it with. But assuming it's true, it's nice that you went by, and called out her name. On the day before her soul would have left the vicinity of her body, your voice was heard. She did not leave with any doubt that she wouldn't be missed. On her way out, she knew she was loved. She heard the one human who loved her more than any other calling for her. You do realize, for your children, your voice might as well be the LORD's, such is our love for you. Which is why it is good you point us to Him. Perhaps you helped her transition that Saturday. One day we'll find out.

Darlene Franklin said...

Oh, my dearest Jaran, thank you for those words of comfort. It HURTS to know she was dead on the other side of that door.

See you Thursday!