I had a fun “sit-around” week of reading and watching Netflix. I didn’t do much else. It’s been so hot. We’ve been in the upper 90s and100s. Ugh!
First I read A Cold Day for Murder because I thought it might make me feel a little colder — at least, I hoped, mentally colder. It didn’t make any part of me feel colder, but it did take my mind off the heat for a while. The story is set in Alaska – in winter – and centers around Kate Shugak. Kate’s a native Alaskan who lives alone in the back country. She’s a former investigator with the Anchorage D.A.’s office.
Kate reluctantly agrees to help investigate the disappearance of a Park ranger and then the son of a congressman. I liked how Kate deliberately tracked down each clue and possible suspect and then very carefully put all the information together to figure out the guilty party. The book is the first of a long series by Dana Stabenow, so I have many more to read.
My husband and I both read Orphan X, a mystery-thriller by Gregg Hurwitz. We had similar reactions to this story about Evan Smoak who’s had an interesting past and now a very mysterious present. Smoak was a young orphan when he was taken and taught to be a very effective and secret assassin. Now he has disappeared from that life and he is doing what he alls “pro bono” work. When a good person has nowhere else to turn, Smoak will help them. However, someone has discovered Orphan X’s whereabouts and wants to destroy him. As you can expect, there were some very violengt sections in this book, but we both really liked the shadowy, spy-like behavior of Smoak. Very well written. We will read Book 2.
Last, but not least, I read Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. This is an interesting epistolary novel set in modern-day America with a strong nod to Jane Austen and other literary works. Its the story of Samantha (Sam) who was awarded a generous full scholarship to graduate school. There was only one condition: she must regularly write updates to Mr. Knightly, her generous benefactor. Through these letters we come to know the real Samantha and her heart-breaking childhood in the foster care system. Samantha’s main coping mechanism was to identify with the characters in the books she rerad. It was enjoyable to see Sam work through her past issues and move on into a productive adulthood. I especially enjoyed all the references and quotes to and from well-loved books.
What I Watched:
In my spare time I’ve been binge-watching the first season of West Wing. Do you remember the show? It began in 1999 and ran for seven seasons. (I’m partial to the first four or five.) I’m an avid observer of politics; I love to read, watch and follow politics. However, right now I’m having a hard time with all that’s going on so, watching the fictional version is a lot more fun. I love all the characters in the show, but in the first season C.J. and Sam are my favorites. They are both hard-working, smart, dedicated to doing the right thing, a little naive, and funny. Pure enjoyment. Do you have a favorite character?
That does it for me this week. Have a ggood one. Happy Reading.