Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Couple of Winners

Once again our book club is reading a winner-this time a memoir: Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan. I'll admit one point in the book's favor for me is the locale, the East Tennessee mountains. My ancestors came from there, and I'm pretty sure there are some distant relatives still there.  The story sounds a little trite: city gal, making big bucks as aide for a state congressman, has to come home after her mother has a heart attack. Her father is a small town doctor and her mother was his receptionist. Of course the story  arc is predictable. The longer she stays, the more she becomes involved in the people her father cares for. But it's the people, many so poor her father doesn't charge them, who make this story so funny and so poignant.

Tana French's mystery novels, set in Ireland, mostly Dublin, are books about a tough, gritty Ireland, with lots of bad guys and an undercover cop who's not exactly a total hero. In order (and it helps if you read them in order) they're In The Woods, The Likeness, and Faithful Place.  Now that I've read all three, I want to go back to the beginning. In the early books we find out that detective Frank Mackey has nothing to do with his very dysfunctional family. In this one we find out why. It begins as a flashback. He's nineteen, waiting for the girl he's going to run away with, away from the slums where he was raised. You're grabbed right there, and French doesn't let you go for 400 pages. I finished reading the book at 1am, and  just reread the last 20 pages again. Now that's a good read.

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