Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

I vividly remember my granparents picking me up from high school one day (my parents were on vacation without us and kid duty fell to them) and them commenting on a Grateful Dead bumper sticker they saw on a car in the parking lot.  "Amy, what does that mean??  Who in the world would EVER be grateful that they are dead?"  It was then that I asked myself, at what age do we stop keeping up with popular culture?  Will that actually happen to me? 

Sadly, the answer is yes.  And sadly, that age for me is 37.  How do I know this?  I know this because I picked up this book.  I saw the author's name and I thought it rang a bell.  My internal dialogue went something like this:  "This is the Charlaine Harris that writes a series of very popular books whose main character is Sookie Sackhouse.  It seems like everyone has read them but me.  The TV show is wildly popular and heck, they even spoof the main character on SNL.  Late night hosts are always making fun of her and her big hair, tacky clothes and horrible Jersey accent.  I'll read this and then review it and maybe post it with a cool You Tube video from the show.  Yes, this is perfect." 

Um, no.  Not so much.  That would be Snooki from the Jersey Shore.  Sookie Sackhouse is actually a vampire (I had NO clue) and there actually IS a tv series about it (True Blood), except that it is not fodder for late night hosts (or at least I don't think it is). I had Snooki and Sookie all sorts of mixed up and I can't even tell you why.  My only excuse is that I am finally at the age where keeping up with pop culture has become less of a priority than doing laundry and paying bills.  So, imagine my surprise when I started reading this book and not only was it NOT a Sookie Sackhouse novel, it was an entire different series (Aurora Teagarden to be exact)! 

If I liked this book, maybe this story would have a happy (and less embarrassing) ending.  But I didn't and it doesn't.  The book tells the story of Aurora "Roe" Teagarden, a young, small town girl turned librarian in her hometown of Lawrenceton, Georgia.  A suburb of Atlanta, Lawrenceton rarely sees any excitement, let alone a murder.  But in this case, there are a series of murders all revolving around Roe and her after work club, The Real Murders Club.  Roe and her fellow crime buffs meet each month to analyze famous murder cases which is a seemingly harmless pasttime, right?  Unfortunately, someone has targeted the club and is killing them off one by one and patterning the murders after real-life cases they have studied.  Sure to be the next target, Roe races to find the killer before she is killed herself.

My first problem was with the club.  Couldn't she have belonged to something a bit more hip?  The poor girl is stuck in a boring town in Georgia.  Of course a murderer is going to target them...they like to sit around and talk about murder!  It was a little too convenient, in my opinion.  The least Ms. Harris could have done was make her a consenting member of a cool club. (This from the girl that was on the Quiz Bowl team in high school...but still)! 

Other problems for me included dull supporting characters, Aurora half-heartedly falling for two men (my literary pet peeve) instead of plunging in all crazy for just one guy and trying to spice up the ending by endangering a child.  No thanks.   A weak attempt was made at developing Aurora's mom in the book, but it just didn't pan out.  Their mother/daughter relationship could have been more utilized which would have added the pizazz that I think the book desperately needed.

To be fair, I think I will read an actual Sookie Sackhouse novel next.  It seems like the right thing to do.  Afterall, I thought I was picking up a book about someone from Jersey with a fake tan and an AquaNet addiction.  It can't be worse than that, can it?

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  1. I actually was OK with this series - but I think they are pretty old. They seriously predate the Sookie novels. Maybe, thus, the unhip club. ;) (And, just for future reference, Sookie's not a vampire. She can hear thoughts. Her boyfriends are vampires.) :)

  2. LMAO! Amy, you made me laugh so hard at this!

  3. See! I still can't get it right. I'm old. Thanks, Chanin!

  4. She is part fairy, that is why she can hear thoughts!

  5. (Not to pile on, but it's Sookie Stackhouse.)

    I've read pretty much everything Charlaine Harris has written. I found this series to be bit uneven, but my complaints were usually with the character portrayals instead of with the mysteries themselves. Ms. Harris does a good mystery.

    I have cool librarian friends, but their hip activities are pretty nerd-hip, so I can't say I expected Roe to be in different. :) She is a quiet, reserved, librarian, after all.

    Having said that, I like Harris' two more current series (Sookie, naturally, and the Harper Connelly books). Her older Shakespeare series is good, too.