28 October 2008

Fantastic fiction

A couple weeks ago, I started the second Sisters Grimm novel, The Unusual Suspects. Michael Buckley has created a fantastic world, not unlike the one Jason Fforde created. In Buckley's world, populated by fairy tale characters, http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifthe fantastic and normal world interact or at least sort of coexist.

The first Sisters Grimm novel was a mystery and, in spite of the fantasy, it was a good story. The Unusual Suspects is not as much a mystery as it was an adventure. A little girl and her littler sister join their grandmother to end a threat by maverick fairy tale characters, including the elementary school principal, Mr. Hamlein, who once was famous for piping a village full of kids into a mountain.

This book was more a book for young readers than the first one. I didn't like it as much. What would you expect from somebody who hasn't been young for a long time.

Rural Dirty Harry

A few weeks ago, book angel Mary dropped off a copy of C. J. Box's new book, Blood Trail. As a break from fall gardening and editing a government and politics book while up at Sidetrack, I picked it up and started reading one evening. In fits and starts that night and the next day I read the book. For me it was a compelling story as long as I kept it in the fairy tale category.

Since the first of Box's books I read, his stories, which he tells well, have gone from being mysteries to being "adventures." His main character in most of these stories has gone from being Joe Pickett, straight arrow game warden to being Dirty Harry of northern Wyoming.

Maybe Cheyenne is more wild west than I imagine or maybe C.J. Box just imagines (or wishes) it were more wild west. Rough justice, as defined by Box's characters is what this is all about. Maybe it works for Box and fellow Wyominger Dick Cheney. But I've had enough. I'd rather go back to reading vaguely depressing mysteries about Swedish serial killers. And I'd like a bit more respect for the rule of law in Wyoming and Washington, D.C., and Guantanamo and just about anywhere that people think they are the sole arbiters of justice.