Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Paranormal Plus -- Crossing Genre Boundaries

Lots of fiction genres, like mystery or romance, combine paranormal elements. Or, at least they say they do. You know the love the vampire ... or werewolf ... or demon in a will they live-happily-ever-after plot. Truth be told, I find such HEA paranormal romances rather dull. But, combine them with thriller type action and/or a puzzling mystery, you've hooked me.

Heather Graham's The Uninvited crosses genres with abandon and intelligence. Allison Leigh, a history professor, discovers the body of a fellow tour guide, an apparent suicide, in a stately home which also is reputed to be haunted by a Revolutionary War ghost. [The Who-Done-It + Paranormal] After a team of "ghost hunters" led by Tyler Montague investigates, a second murder occurs. [Complication + Love Interest]   Of course, Leigh is suspicious of Montague, but the board of the museum tells her to cooperate to solve the crime. Add twists and turns while various characters are threatened by the supposed mad ghost.

The question: are the murders a spectral manifestation or something more mundane or a combination of the two?

The villains in this case aren't particularly evil -- maybe more like totally selfish in a venial way even though ready to commit multiple murders. Graham does give them well rounded motivations. 

The most amazing was the way Graham wove a large cast of secondary characters into the plot. Most of the people introduced in the first few chapters had something integral to offer in solving the mystery. Making all of the "sidekicks" interesting, likable people is a skill most authors lack.

Rating: Only four stars. While I strongly recommend it. The book didn't make me abandon other tasks to read "one-more-chapter".


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The revision/edits of Bad Luck Emma continue. I'm a little more than half-way through, but I've already queried a couple agents ... to get in under their holiday deadlines. Not that I expect anything wondrous to happen. Getting a request for a full, though, would be a nice Christmas present.

Did research on cat behavior for Troublesome Mac. The articles made cat behavior so dull and predictable that it's a wonder than anyone would keep a cat lying around. -- I think I'm fixated on "troublesome" situations and people.

Will repeat my offer of a free PDF or epub file of Troublesome Neighbors to any reader who asks for one in December. Send your email to mkkaytheod [at] yahoo [dot] com. Yeah, it'll go in my email files ... I may even get around to sending out a newsletter if something interesting ever happens with my writing. In the meantime, tidbits appear at the Half-Elven Facebook page  or my author page


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