Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New author on my list: William G. Tapply

Just finished reading "Outwitting Trolls" by William G. Tapply. Why am I just now discovering this great author? Loved the book. Sadly, Tapply died in 2009 according to the book jacket (which I just read). Outwitting Trolls was the last novel he completed before his death. I finished reading the book anticipating the next in the series which feature Brady Coyne as the main character. Now I'll never know if he makes it in his relationship, a side bar to the storyline, but a thread that would have continued in subsequent novels.

I am consoling myself with the fact that I'll be able to go back to the beginning and read forward to the end again. I'm sure I'll re-read Outwitting Trolls when I roll back around to it in the line.

I grabbed it simply because of the title. I "assumed" it had something to do with the kind of trolls people talk about on Facebook! Trolls on Facebook are typically those who just like to be friends or join groups so they can grouse, be offended or take potshots.

The book has nothing to do with Facebook or other similar trolls. It's a murder mystery with  Boston attorney Brady Coyne as the friendly, brilliant solver of great crimes. It's not a deep novel but it is engaging. It's another quick read, not one that requires a lot of brain power to keep up with. It had just the right smattering of humor, insights into human nature and mini-twists.

An old friend of Coyne's, Ken Nichols, comes into town and wants to meet for drinks. They meet, catch up on life and part. The next night Coyne get's a call from his friend's ex-wife saying she came to meet Nichols in his hotel room and discovered him dead. Life and death, family interactions, love and antagonism follow.

The characters were a little bit more sterile than I normally like. They didn't react emotionally in ways that I could connect with on a personal level, but I still enjoyed the book. I'm having a hard time trying to convey what I mean regarding the characters. It didn't take away from the book. I just found myself thinking off and on that I didn't know anyone who would react to similar situations in the same way. Shoot, you're just going to have to read the book to see what I mean. Let me know. Maybe you'll be able to better.

I will be heading back to the library to pick up past novels by Tapply. He also wrote a number of books on fishing and wildlife. I'll  stick to his fiction novels. According to the jacket he has written 'more than twenty critically acclaimed novels of crime fiction'. As said, I don't know how I missed reading his books. I am an avid crime fiction reader.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Radleys Rimbombo

I just finished reading 'The Radleys' by Matt Haig. It roars. I thought I was picking up a murder mystery given the little bit of blood dripping from the fence post on the front cover. I didn't bother reading the jacket to see if my assumption was correct. I'm glad I didn't.

If I'd realized that it was a vampire story, I might, might have put it back on the shelf. I went through a vampire stage a while back with The Vampire Diary and similar. Vampires dropped back briefly in my reading portfolio with the Twilight series, then dropped off again.

I get tired of vampire stories after taking brief excursions into their dens.

The Radleys was a completely different kind of vampire, more human than not. I loved the book. It is a rimbombo book!

Haig is a British author and as such the book has a slightly different flavor than most American books. I've never put my mind to determining how I realize it's a British author within a few pages, someday I'll put some thought into it. I usually flip to the cover to confirm, then read on using my fake-mental-British accent.

Vampire loving readers will enjoy this one. There's the usual conversions and blood, but it definitely has a twist or two or three.

Underlying all the vampire action The Radleys is a book that explores family and friend relationships, secrets, and, of course, the interaction of humans and vampires. The books delves into the character's darker and better sides. I found it easy to put myself into each of the character's shoes as Haig did an excellent job of dropping me into one character after the others' mind.

I read it in one sitting. It rarely did what I expected it to do, except at the end. However, even then, while I guessed where it might be headed, I wasn't quite sure.

Vampires living next door to you? sitting next to you at school? on the bus? Could your best friend be a vampire? Reading 'The Radleys' might have you wondering about that pale kid down the street.

Copyright 2010
Originally published in Great Britain, Canongate Books Ltd
Free Press (a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.) hardcover edition December 2010
ISBN 978-1-4391-9401-0
ebook available

Other books by Matt Haig:
The Last Family in England
The Dead Fathers Club
The Possession of Mr. Cave

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Canning Memories Writing Workshop with Instructor: Julie L. Cannon at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF)

This workshop is designed as an introduction to memoir writing for those who simply want to record their memories, and as a catalyst for those who desire to use their memories to write autobiographical fiction. The goal of Canning Memories is to develop and refine the essential components of shaping raw personal experiences into a polished story. Class exercises and a short between-class assignment augment the learning curve. Dates: Saturday, May 14 and Saturday, May 21, Time: 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon, Fees: $50 OCAF Members, $60 Non-members, Location: OCAF, 34 School Street in Watkinsville. For more information and to register (706) 769-4565, or visit the website