Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Dose of Suspense

Death du Jour (Temperance Brennan, #2)Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a pretty fantastic read, right up with the first book. Reichs really knows how to keep up the suspense. I love how she keeps multiple story lines going and then weaves them all together in the end. It's not just about one murder; the whole world doesn't stop just because one person got killed and they have to investigate. And yet despite the mounding casework, midterm exams still need to be graded, students need help, and family problems persist. The fact that they still find new cases while current ones are open, as well as the fact that regular life continues outside the LML helps to put it in better perspective. People really do this.


I'm really glad she didn't kill off Harry in this one. The formula seemed very similar to her first book, so I thought that might happen. I think that was better. Maybe it would have been poetic - Brennan can figure out what happened to people, yet she can't save the living or protect her family from the carnage that surrounds her life - but if new traumatic experiences of lost loved ones continued to compound throughout the series, Brennan would become an emotional wreak, or else unbelievable as a character. I think her cat scare (which I'm SO glad was false!) and the cult encounter, along with Ryan's near-death brush was enough for this time around.


The discussion of cults really presents an opportunity for contemplation and introspection. It calls to attention the way we think and interact with the world. Are we being diluted and blinded by those around us, or are we making our own decisions? I always appreciate the opportunity for evaluation and this fit flawlessly into the plot. Very well written in that regard.

There was a bit of scandalous-ness that could have been done without. I think the attempt was to humanize Brennan more, but I think there is plenty of that. She really does ache for the victims she sees and she is not immune to fear or injury.

As far as the murders themselves, I always like seeing the description of the lab work and her interactions with the Québecois. I wish there would have been more elaboration on the reason for the disembowelment as well as the ring symbol on the skin. I also missed an explanation of where the Rohypnol came from, but I suppose those are minor details.

The imagery is superb; I love the way she uses the weather to heighten the suspense as well as to reflect the moods. Overall it was a fantastically thrilling read. I'd pick it up again anytime.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leaf, Meet other Leaf

This was the gorgeous fall day I reveled in a few weeks ago.

As I was raking, a little girl came riding up on her scooter and after a quick "HI!" proudly announced, "I'm 4." I tried to smother a giggle at the seemingly out of place exclamation that was my initial reaction. So what if we had never seen each other before, what's to prevent us from forging connections and sharing? That's what the human experience is about, right? She proceeded to inform me that her birthday was coming up and that then she would be 5. I returned with an encouraging, "Oh, cool!" Then she said after she was 5 she would be 6. The simplicity of our conversation made me really happy. Talking to people doesn't have to be hard. Yet I always make it out to be this huge thing. Just as I was really warming up to our conversation, her dad came behind her and bustled her along, apologizing in an embarrassed manner. It made me sad for him. I don't think we should ever be embarrassed by the examples of the children around us. It was an unexpected profundity I did not expect to encounter among the leaves that day.

True connection
Not to make this melodramatic, but I thought about that a lot as I finished my task. We are a lot like the leaves, all tossed together, but very rarely making true contact, soul to soul as it were.

There were a lot of leaves...

There you have it. Beauty and a thought brought to you by autumn.