1. What are you currently reading? Heartburn by Nora Ephron. Rachel is in love and very happy. She never expected to be either. A successful cookbook writer and PBS cooking show personality, she's always been unlucky with men ... until she meets Mark, a Washington columnist. She leaves her beloved New York and settles into matrimonial bliss with Mark in DC. They buy a house. They have a baby. They vacation with good friends. Another baby is on the way. Life can't get any better.
It doesn't. Mark, an inveterate womanizer, reverts to type. Rachel finds out. Now what?
This is a very funny book because Nora Ephron was a very funny writer. It's also moving, because it's clearly based on what happened when the real-life Nora found her husband, Washington Post legend Carl Bernstein, cheating on her. It's a powerful laugh-through-your-tears combo you don't get often.
2. What did you recently finish reading? Slow Burn by Ace Atkins. Someone is setting fires in Boston. From one side of town to the other. No pattern in choice of target. Who is doing it, and why? A firefighter who lost his best friend in a blaze isn't patient enough to wait for arson to come to a conclusion that can be proved in court, so he asks our hero, Spenser, to investigate
This book has everything I love about the Spenser series: Spenser cracking wise, Spenser and Susan dining spectacularly, Pearl the Wonder Dog, Hawk just appearing as only Hawk can. Ace Atkins is doing right by the old gang created by Robert B. Parker, and I appreciate that.
It also had something new (to me, at least): arson. I didn't realize how hard arson crimes are to solve. As one member of the investigation team says, "All we have are ash and chemicals." Hair, fiber, fingerprints, DNA ... they all get destroyed in a fire. If robbery was a motive, a single item can't be isolated as missing because everything is gone.
The motive in this story was interesting, too. It's so crazy that we can see why Spenser didn't originally see it and how he got sidetracked. But it also makes a mad kind of sense.