04 February 2008

Keeping murder within the family

My sister-in-law Mary, one of my primary suppliers, gave me some books for Christmas. I finally got around to reading one of them: Three Sisters, A Charlie Moon Mystery by James D. Doss. [That's him below at a book signing for an earlier Charlie Moon mystery.]

Thanks, Mary.

My reactions to the book were mixed.

Since Mary is one of three sisters, I thought there might be some symbolism in the title. I hope there wasn't. I didn't get very far into the book to realize that I was lucky not to marry into that literary family.

I thought the basic plot was interesting, but getting through the story telling was difficult for me. Doss kept commenting in asides about the story, and he did it as the writer outside of the book. Douglas Adams did some of the same kind of commenting in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series, but it wasn't so obtrusive. And Adams was writing about really weird things that needed commenting on. Now murderous husbands and wives are rather weird, but not as weird as Vogon demolition fleets and two-headed Galactic Presidents.

Oh, but see, now I'm off the track of what I wanted to say about Doss' distracting asides. Ah, but that's the point, isn't it? And Adams was writing humorous science fiction, not a Serious murder mystery set in southern Colorado.

In the middle part of the book, there weren't as many asides and I liked reading it more than I had at the beginning. But, then, in the final fourth of the book, disclosures came more and more quickly; events were more and more quickly related. I had been reading leisurely through most of the book and suddenly revealing facts popped up and I had to pick up the pace of my reading to keep up with the rapidity of the story telling. I don't think that anyone gave Doss a limited number of pages in which to tell his story, but it seemed like he was in a rush to finish.

Some of the best parts of the book were the buddy scenes in which Charlie Moon and police chief Scott Parris hang out and be friends. I think I could read a plotless book about those two guys taking a road trip.

Oh, and I did enjoy reading about Moon's aunt, Daisy. She's an ancient character who is a hoot. I don't know if I'd like to spend much time with her, but I did like hearing Doss tell stories about her.

All in all, it was a pretty good book. If anyone else reads this and has a reaction, add it here by using the Comments link at the bottom.

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