My first two reads of 2009 came by way of Bleak House Books and they were pretty good. I finished Reed Coleman’s EMPTY EVER AFTER during a long, luxurious breakfast during the Florida trip and I finished Libby Hellman’s EASY INNOCENCE yesterday. Other than sharing an unfortunate knack for stilted dialogue, both books had great plots and excellent character development.
I’m glad I read at least a couple of books in the Moe Prager series before I started EMPTY because the entire plot revolves around the complete history of Moe’s caseload. It also means that I can’t go back and read any of the ones I missed because I think Coleman gives away the ending of every one of the books I haven’t read in the series. But the true strength of this book is Moe’s journey through his life as a PI. To find out who would hate him so much to terrorize him and his family, Moe digs back through every case he worked looking for suspects and the best scenes in the book are the ones of redemption and revenge with past villains and lovers. I think the book was set up for a darker, less neat ending than the one provided, but it was still an excellent book.
I was tainted in my reading of EASY INNOCENCE because I’m a big fan of Laura Lippman’s stand alone THE POWER OF THREE that handles teenage girls much better than Hellman does, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to like in EASY INNOCENCE. Ultimately the story of three teenage girls who start hooking to buy fancy purses and clothes, it’s how these girls react to the adult level trouble their scheme brings down on them that make the book work. There are a few touching character moments and I think the lead PI character is a nicely developed hero. The plot is nice and twisty and I read it fast enough to amaze myself. If Hellman ever comes back with another adventure I’ll be sure to pick it up.
Next in my TBR pile is THE DAWN PATROL and I’m looking forward to that one.
What are y’al reading out there these days?