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1. What are you currently reading? A Hole in Juan, by Gillian Roberts. Since this is one in the Amanda Pepper mystery series, much of the action takes place in a Philadelphia college prep school. This time our heroine, English teacher Amanda, is trying to wrangle students excited about the Halloween season and, specifically, a "Mischief Night" dance. She senses something in the air, beyond just high school hijinks, and she's right. The science teacher, Juan Reyes, has become the target of sophisticated threats.
A cozy series like this only succeeds if you like the star sleuth, and Amanda is an easy to like Everywoman. She's funny but not snarky. She's smart but not brilliant. She cares about her students, but she's not sanctimonious. She loves her new husband (finally they're married!) and she's in tune with her cat, Macavity. I'm not that far into the book, but I'm comfortable and happy with the company already.
2. What did you recently finish reading? Chaos by Patricia Cornwell. I have to admit I didn't so much finish this book as abandon it. What a frustrating affair this was!
It's the latest in Cornwell's successful Scarpetta series. Dr. Kay Scarpetta is a character I like and admire. She's brilliant and discerning but also flawed. I love Kay Scarpetta's regard for her patients, the victims of crime, and her passion for justice. Cornwell is a wonderful writer. She not only created an admirable heroine, she can set the scene and make you feel the escalating tension/darkness/danger like few other authors can.
But this plot is a freaking mess. Too many characters, too many coincidences, too much unreasonable behavior, too many unbelievable plot twists. I won't say anymore for fear of being a spoiler, but I did actually get angry at Cornwell for squandering her gifts and the good will Kay has earned over the years.
3. What will you read next? I don't know. Maybe a biography?