Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Murder Mystery AND a Romance - Who Knew?

I just finished a hybrid novel that, I have to say, was a unique read for me.  Bobbie O'Keefe is the author, and the book is called Family Skeletons.  It was a lark that I even became aware of her.  There was a double author event at "M" with her and Alex Kava.  Since I am (or was) a big Kava fan, Joni and went to see her.  O'Keefe was an add-on.  I had never heard of her, and this was her 3rd or 4th book.  Even listening to her talk about Family Skeletons, I wasn't very impressed.  However, since I was already there, I went ahead and bought her book and had it signed (wasn't that nice of me?!).

So, I read it.  It was 279 pages.  I figured that anything that short (Kava's was 288 pages and definitely too short) couldn't have much depth.  I was actually wrong (I bet you haven't heard that before!).  It was really good.  The story centers around a mid-20's woman, who is damaged from two bad marriages, and a late 20's man, who is a successful ophthalmologist.  There is also a murder (or two) to be solved.  The romance is very well done.  I really cared about the characters (all of them), and I cared about the budding relationship.  O'Keefe spent a good deal of time on the romance part and did it in such a way that it was not corny or tawdry (I like that word).  She created a relationship between the two that didn't make me think Fabio was on the cover.  It was very Nicholas Sparks.

Except that it also had a murder in it.  That part of the story, separate from the romance, was done very well.  It really wrapped up smoothly - without being predictable or shoehorned.  I can honestly say that both the mystery and the romance each stood on its own.  Both were well-developed and overlapped nicely one into the other.  I can't really say that this is "Chick Lit for the Macho Man," because not every guy wants to read a romance.  But I can say that if you don't mind some romance, then you will certainly be taken in by the mystery.  Us metrosexuals liked both aspects.

I also read the latest Daniel Silva/Gabriel Allon adventure.  I think that Silva is actually becoming a better writer as he gets further along in the series.  This is his 11th Allon, and I think it's as good as any of the others.  He is someone who has definitely not mailed it in.  He is on top of his craft.

I've got one more author(s) to tell you about.  I went to see Peri O'Shaughnessy at "M" a few weeks back.  It turns out that Peri is actually two sisters.  When they tried to get their first book published, back in the early '90's, the publisher said that he didn't want to have two authors' names on the book cover.  So Pamela and Mary became Peri in order to get their book in print.  It took them about 8 years to write book 1, but it was book 2 that got published first.  They ended up using book 1 as a prequel at a later date.  This one, Dreams of the Dead, was their 13th (and probably last) in the Nina O'Reilly series.  I thought it was okay.  I wouldn't say don't read it, but I don't think I would read another (even if they did write #14) nor would I go back and read an earlier one.  When there are so many books to read, one that's only okay doesn't get a 2nd chance.  You think that's unfair?  Too bad, I say.

Finally, this week Steve asked me if I had ever read William Martin.  It occurred to me that I hadn't mentioned Back Bay in any of my posts.  I read this a long time ago, and it's the only Martin I have read, but Back Bay was really good.  Joni felt the same way.  I don't know if it goes into "Fiction for the Non-Fiction Reader," but it's still a darn good read.  It takes place in Boston and goes back and forth between Paul Revere, the silversmith, and the present (probably 20 years ago).   Try it.

I have no new upcoming author events to report.  Next time, though, I will relate a few of the many author events I have been to in the last few months.  Don't worry, I will try to only talk about the ones that might be a little bit interesting.  The rest I will keep to myself.


  1. Enjoyed the reviews very much. Thanks to Bobbie for posting a link on the Five Star author's loop, I've discovered another place to find good recommendations for books to read. Not that I don't already have enough. LOL

  2. Maryann, thanks for the comments. And thanks for introducing us to Five Star Authors. I went on their site and saw that it's a good source for recommendations. You can never have enough recommenders.