Ok, so normally I love mysteries. Brain candy, I call them most of them, along with certain romances, light sci-fi and fantasy, and a couple of other categories. I crack them open and turn off the critical part of my brain. A couple of my favourite authors had new books released in paperback this summer, and I eagerly bought them, anticipating hours of entertainment and détente.
It started off well, with Seven Up, the new Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovitch. As funny as ever, this newest in her series actually ranks up there with Two for the Money, my absolute favourite by far. Fast-paced and exciting, it brings back many great characters and provides many intriguing twists in the continuing storyline. By continuing storyline I mean Stephanie's love life, of course.
Revved up by this first foray into mindless summer reading, I turned eagerly to P is for Peril, by Sue Grafton. Imagine my surprise when, for the first time, the author totally failed to capture my attention. And when I say totally, I mean totally. I just didn't care who did it. I didn't care why, I didn't care when, I didn't care where, and I didn't care how. And I especially didn't care about the silly little subplot, even when Kinsey was getting stalked and kidnapped. What a letdown.
I was left to wonder if Grafton was to blame, or if, gasp, I was going off mysteries. I mean, I've been reading this series since the very beginning and have never failed to enjoy the books. So I left the mystery genre alone for a while and read other things. And it was with great trepidation that I picked up Fatal Voyage yesterday, the newest in Kathy Reichs Temperance Brennan series. I'm not quite halfway through yet, but after a stomach-clenchingly boring beginning, it is slowly starting to pick up. I actually stayed up long past my bedtime last night to get in a few more chapters, which is a good sign.
I think after this one, though, I will put down my pipe and magnifying glass for a while. After reading too many mysteries, my brain kicks in and I start analyzing the story and figuring out whodunnit. Not that I'm always right, but I don't read these books for the thrill of solving the case before the hero(ine) does. I read these books for the story. And when I'm too busy figuring out motives and timelines, I don't appreciate the author's skill with regards to dialogue, plot, and all the other things that make up a great book. And that's a shame.