Summer Reading (Update 1)

First, I will apologize for being MIA for a month. Family circumstances throughout most of June kept me from my computer, my blog, and my book. This was followed by a much-needed vacation with the entire Murphy clan. As a result, my timeline for publication of A GUILTY MIND has been altered slightly (that’s life!) but I’m happy to be back at work on all my projects!

As I mentioned in my last and long-ago post, one of my vacation projects has been summer reading. Since I just returned from vacation, I was fortunate to knock out 2 of the books on my summer reading wish list as well as another I’d been meaning to get to for quite a while. To kick off the season, I pulled out my Kindle and chose a legal thriller, Robert Gregory Browne’s TRIAL JUNKIES. Mysteries and thrillers are one of my favorite genres, primarily because they are usually page turners with interesting characters. TRIAL JUNKIES did not disappoint as a page-turner although the suspense was a little lighter than I expected. However, as a mystery writer, I realize that whodunits and thrillers come in all shapes and sizes. Cozies for example are often character and location driven. Think sewing club with loopy Aunt Agnes or the BBQ festival with a team of colorful pitmasters. Some mysteries employ humor and others use graphic violence to set the tone.

As a thriller “light”, I did enjoy the basic premise of TRIAL JUNKIES, in particular, the idea that men and women sit through trials day after day not because they have to, but because they are drawn to the legal workings of the courtroom. In TRIAL JUNKIES, a down-on-his-luck actor, once famous but now grist for the tabloid mill, returns home to Chicago when his former girlfriend is brutally murdered. He is reunited with his college friends and things get complicated when one of their own is accused of the murder. Over the course of the trial, he becomes embroiled in trying to help her defense and find the killer, becoming a trial junkie along the way. While this was an easy read, I didn’t develop any strong feelings about the characters. Although I don’t think it’s necessary for a reader to identify with any of the characters, I do like to feel something for them – whether it’s only mild interest, admiration, love, or hate. Still, this novel fits the bill for a summer read. It’s light enough for a day in the sun and fast-paced enough to take you to the beach and back.

I went off course with my next book, however, choosing Abraham Verghese’s CUTTING FOR STONE. Although I knew this novel was on many book club lists, I just hadn’t gotten around to it. However, I’m so glad I finally did. With gorgeous writing, sweeping settings, and complex characters, Mr. Verghese easily drew me into his novel. Mostly set in Ethiopia but also in New York, the book tells the tale of male twins, born to a nun and skilled surgeon, both working in a missionary hospital. Their mother, however, does not survive the birth and the father, overcome with grief and shock, abandons them. They are adopted by the mission hospital gynecologist and her (eventual) husband. Thus begins the tale. This book may not qualify as a “summer read”, but it’s one I would recommend any time of  year.

I then went back to my original summer reading list and picked up F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY. I have no idea how many times I’ve already read this book, but I haven’t gotten tired of it yet. There are so many reviews out there that I’m not going to offer up the same praise that’s already been heaped on this novel. However, if you haven’t read it, you should. I will also say that I’m eager for my daughter to read it now!

Next up for me is Erik Larson’s THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY. Along with my reading, I will be focusing on formatting my novel for both paperback and e-book publication. Also, I need to thank my friend Yawatta for nominating me for both the Sunshine Award and Reader Appreciation Awards. I will be following up on both of those soon. In the meantime, keep reading and tell me how your summer reading is going…

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