Open and Shut
Fiction - 292 pages
My childhood is filled with great memories, in fact, great ones are the only memories I have. I talked to a shrink about it, and we pretty much agreed that unpleasant things must have happened when I was growing up, but that I had just repressed them. I asked him how long I could go on repressing them, and he said maybe forever. That worked for me, so I left therapy before I could blow it and get in touch with my true feelings.
Before I start chattering about this book, I have to tell you that SuziQ at Blogging My Books reviewed Open and Shut, here. It was her wonderful review that piqued my interest. I told her it sounded like the kind of legal thriller I love to read, the kind with a sense of humor. Suzi assured me that I would enjoy it as it also lacked blood and guts. I trust Suzi and the book was readily available through Paperback Swap, so I ordered a copy. And, I did absolutely love it. This is the quote that really grabbed me, in Suzi's review:
The only sports Nicole tolerates are sports cars, and occasionally sports shirts. It was a problem in our marriage. One time I planted myself on the couch and watched football for so long that she came over and watered me. Tara licked it off my face and I didn't miss a single play.
That quote was, I thought, reminiscent of Harlan Coben (who is quoted on the cover - Suzi mentioned that) and I love a good legal mystery with a sense of humor. Lisa Scottoline's early novels are also favorites of mine.
Open and Shut is the story of an irreverent, wise-cracking lawyer asked to defend a man who has long since been convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His retrial is based on a minor technicality and the case should be open and shut as there was an eyewitness and plenty of incriminating evidence. Willie Miller appears to be guilty as sin. However, as lawyer Andy Carpenter begins to prepare Willie's defense, it becomes obvious that the circumstances surrounding the murder were not what they seemed.
There's a lot more to the story than just a murder mystery and a legal defense process. Andy has a lot going on in his life: loss, danger, unearthing of a family secret, the reappearance of the wife who left him (at a most inconvenient time). The story is perfectly paced, gripping, funny and surprising. Rosenfelt even handled se* scenes just the way I like:
"I had forgotten about you," she says.
"You never shut up."
With that, she prepares to shut me up, except for an occasional moan. She does a really good job of it, but hell, somebody had to.
I have a great night's sleep, which carries right through the usually effective wake-up call planted in my brain.
Perfect. Se* is, in my humble opinion, seldom integral to plot and a waste of time. It's obvious that there was a coupling, but just a few sentences were enough to portray the encounter and skim right past, back to the meat of the story. I appreciated both the lack of graphic se* and the absence of grisly detail about the murder. There's obviously some necessary description, but it was not nightmare-inducing. I enjoyed every minute of reading Open and Shut. In fact, I'm still paying for my inability to put the book down until finishing. The rest of his books will be added to my wish list.
5/5 - gripping, funny, often surprising
Yesterday was a whopper. I should be back to regular posting, now that the husband has been safely shipped off to Italy. He had one heck of a long day with a delay that caused him to miss his international flight by 15 minutes, hours and hours on standby, a storm that temporarily diverted incoming flights, etc. Last I heard, the spouse had arrived and located one of his two bags. He's probably lucky that part of his luggage showed up. And, maybe I should count my blessings that I didn't manage to accompany him.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . or, anyway, back in Jackson . . . the kiddo and I managed to hear a raptor expert who spoke at the Natural Science Museum. Here he is with a small red-tail hawk:
We also dropped by Borders, where we happened across an incredible sale - a wide variety of remaindered books were marked down to $3.99 and $5.99. I was particularly excited to find a copy of The Birth House by Ami McKay, which has been positively reviewed all over the bloggy world. You can imagine my excitement when I got to the cash register and the books marked $3.99 rang up $1.99, while those labeled $5.99 came up $2.99. I got The Birth House for $2.99!!! And, a lot of other books. I am going to be in so much trouble when the spouse returns. I'd better start reading faster.
After Borders and the Natural Science Museum, we headed to the north side of town to stop for reinforcement (food) and then over to Barnes & Noble.
Here's where things got embarrassing. I wandered around Barnes & Noble for about 20 minutes, mostly waiting for the youngster (certified book nut - must spend time in bookstores or he will crumble). I wandered over to the recommended reads because Book Nook Les mentioned her excitement over the choice of The Book Thief as a monthly selection and I love the book so much that I wanted to see it in a prominent place. I was floating along, looking at the recommended reads and then turned around to see that friends from my former writing group (which I'm about to rejoin) were sitting at a table, having a book signing. They'd been betting on how long it would take me to notice them for . . . well, ages. Of course, it was terrific to see them and I ran out to the car to grab the camera. Here they are:
Left to right: Delores Fossen, Melanie Atkins and Rickey Mallory, who also writes as Mallory Kane. I don't really know Delores, but she's written for Harlequin's former Flip Side line and I think she's now writing for Harlequin Intrigue (romantic suspense). Melanie writes romantic crime and paranormal and Rickey has published a large number of Harlequin Intrigue books and one of my all-time favorite sci-fi/time travel stories. I'll post links to their websites in my sidebar, later on. I nabbed a copy of Melanie's book Truth or Dare. Her books can be pretty intense and I was fortunate that she just happened to have a scary-but-not-gruesome paranormal book on hand for the signing. Fun!!
I was totally zonked, last night, but my new little poppet traveled with us to Jackson (where her drawstrings fell off - guess I'll have to find her a new traveling bag) and I posed her in various spots at the Natural Science Museum. Since I'm having such a grand time dragging my tiny toy around and posing her, I decided to give her a blog of her own with SuziQ's The Adventures of Pirate Bendy as my inspiration. You can follow Poppet's adventures at Poppet's Magnificent Traveling Adventures. I've posted 7 photos and will add more, soon, as well as a link in my sidebar.
Best kid news of the week: Youngster was inducted into Beta Club for making the A/B honor roll - very nice thing for college applications. And, while waiting for him at poolside, the pool manager - who taught the Red Cross Lifesaving Course kiddo recently finished - told me she was disappointed that, at 15, he's not old enough to hire. She said my son was her best student, great at "absolutely everything". Cool. And, it's always nice to know that your child has both an employable skill and the ability to restart someone's heart.
Coming up: A sticky sign-up post for a Rises the Night drawing. I was so tired, last night, that I actually can't remember what I read before falling asleep. I'll have to look around and see if I dropped any books on the floor. Sometimes when I'm tired, I make my family giggle.
Did I tell you my lily bloomed the day after I posted a photo of the buds for Wahoo Wednesday? Here it is:
Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas!!!