In the past I’ve kept this blog’s main focus on the beauty industry. While that is and will always be my first love; I love a lot of other things. Some of you may know that I got my Bachelor of Arts in English. I have always been enamored with a great story and a continued passion for writing. With that being stated, I am going to help this blog continue to flourish writing about what I view as beautiful. From my perspective writing is an art form and novels, poems, and short stories are the expression. I initially chose beautybymbell as my blog name because of my trade and my obsession with beauty products, but as we all know this is a highly saturated blogging market. I need to set myself apart and be true to myself so I am not changing the name but I’m shifting the focus of this blog to more lifestyle related content including the books I’m reading.
So far this month has been one of dramas for me when it comes to novel genres. I’m currently in the middle of reading a series by Lisa Gardner featuring a snappy female police sergeant named D. D. Warren. I actually started reading the books out of order until I figured out they were a series. I started with the fourth book Live to Tell and was hooked. Then I figured out I could get more D.D. by picking up the others so I went back to the beginning. Now I have finished the sixth book plus the novella in between books six and seven. The novella, aptly titled 7th Month tells a short story featuring a bored D.D. on desk duty at the precinct in the seventh month of her pregnancy. A bit of luck shows D.D. favor when a bumbling movie producer stops in looking for a consultant for his film.
D.D. initially accuses him of being a serial killer after he insults her rank by assuming she’s the receptionist. After the unpleasant exchange D.D. discovers that the guy is looking for a police consultant for his film and it pays a generous amount. She quickly decides to take on the role thinking of nursery money for her new born. She ends up getting a lot more than she bargained for when the previous consultant is bludgeoned to death and her team is assigned to the investigation. Shenanigans ensue from there as D.D. tries to catch a killer in the midst of a bunch of wanna-be famous actors.
This was overall enjoyable for a short look into D.D.’s pregnancy. Some other personal facts about the protagonist are revealed in this story that I don’t know if the next book will glaze over or not. However, I didn’t like how shaky the plot in this one felt when it came to the crimes committed and by whom. It just did not feel as authentic as Gardner’s previous full length novels. I guess I shouldn’t have had high expectations for a condensed D.D. book. In terms of characterization Gardner shines as she always does with well developed main and sub characters carrying out this loose plot line about a killer on a movie set. I give this one a B-. I enjoyed reading it but I don’t know that it’s pertinent to the course of events in book seven, entitled Catch Me.
When I am not reading the D.D. Warren books I often listen to audio books on the Overdrive app on my iPhone. If you haven’t used that app check it out! It’s a great one that easily connects you to audio and e-books from your local library. All you need is a library card and you’ll have access to some amazing titles. While I was waiting for 7th Month to arrive from Amazon; I randomly selected a book under the mystery/drama section. I had never heard of the author but before I read one of Lisa Gardner’s books I’d never heard of her either. The book was titled Among the Missing by Morag Joss. The novel is set in Scotland, U.K. as that is where the writer is from. Each of the narrators had a heavy accent, but were not difficult to understand. The book’s limited summary does not give any of the mystery of the story away, in fact it is almost misleading because there is a lot more going on that it reveals.
The story is told from three viewpoints, the first being Ron’s who has just been released from prison for negligent homicide. His former occupation was a school bus driver, until he fell asleep at the wheel one afternoon, killing six children and a pregnant teacher. Ron is a nomad with no place to call home. Despite that event being an accident even his sister will not take him in. She sends money which Ron takes to buy an old Land Rover which he drives around picking up hitch hikers to help himself regain some shred of humanity.
Silva and her husband Stephan are illegal immigrants. They have left a small village in a country that is not named to live in Scotland with their toddler, Anna. They live shrouded in secrecy in a trailer with a leaky roof. They live in squalor with only hopes for a better life and fear that people will find out they do not belong. Stephan has plans that Silva deems extreme for establishing a new life.
The other female character, who’s real name the author does not reveal, is on a vacation with her new husband. They are staying in a hotel near the town Silva and Stephan live it. It is just across a large bridge. Although she is in her forties, she is newly pregnant. When she tells her husband, Cullen he is not happy at all and gives her an ultimatum. Either she can have a life with him or she can have the child but not both. Tortured at the thought of abortion she contemplates what her next move is. When the aforementioned bridge collapses one day, each of the main characters’ live intertwine. Each of them having a secret unspoken to the other. Assumptions and accusations flare as these three people struggle to figure out how to be whole again in the middle of a horrific event.
Without giving too much away from the novel I will say these things: it starts off slow so you have to stay with it to get to the better parts, you’ll be annoyed at the pregnant character who is given a fake name of Annabelle throughout the story, you will be furious with Silva at some point for being so hateful, and lastly you will be bewildered at the unanswered questions by the end of this book. Overall I give it a B+ for the eloquent switches of point of view, the descriptive nature of the novel itself, and the well developed characters that you will feel an attachment to. Not an A for the frustrating ending and the subtle undertones that suggest women are weak creatures with no control over emotions.