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What We've Been Reading

Thomas Perry - A String Of Beads

Fran Recommends:

Jane McKinnon (known to us as Jane Whitefield) is back in Thomas Perry's A String of Beads.  Jane's been enjoying simply being a doctor's wife. She's recovered from the events of her last adventure, mostly, and she'd be fine never going back to helping runners. But when all eight clan mothers approach her to ask for her help, there's no way Jane can refuse.

A childhood friend of Jane's has been accused of murder, and the clan mothers are certain he didn't do it. They also know that if Jimmy is caught and sent to jail to await trial, he would be killed while waiting. They want Jane to keep Jimmy hidden and figure out what's going on, and to clear his name. Not much to ask! Jane has always embraced her Seneca heritage, so there's no question that she'll do what she can, but first she has to convince her husband that what she's doing is something only she can do. Since Carey isn't Seneca, he doesn't understand her compulsion, but not many people can stand in Jane's way when she's determined.

Spending time with Jane Whitefield is like spending time with an old friend, and A String of Beads is classic Jane. There's enough action to keep things moving rapidly forward, but there's also enough personal interaction, change and growth to keep the story from being nothing but one chase after another. It's Thomas Perry's crafting of character that will keep you coming back.  If you haven't read any of the Jane Whitefield novels, this one stands on its own and is a great way to meet her, but as always, I'd say start with Vanishing Act. You won't be disappointed!

Yasmine Galenorn - Panther Prowling

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Fran Recommends:

Things are getting a little out of hand at the D'Artigo residence with Yasmine Galenorn's latest installment in the "Otherworld" novels. In Panther Prowling, Delilah finds herself at the center of a couple of unsettling events.

At Camille's birthday party, the sisters' cousin, Daniel, makes a spectacular entrance when he's thrown into the party by a Viking ghost. Turns out Daniel's acquired a sword, and it seems to have it's own inhabitant, a bloody king who's desperate to be released. But then there are the three other ghosts that attend the sword, and while they don't seem to be hostile, they're obviously not just for show either.

But all the ghosts in the world may be easier to deal with than some of the personal things that Delilah has to face among her close friends and even her own sisters! And it's possible her own relationship is about to undergo a massive change. It's no wonder that she contemplates retreating into her Tabby form!

One of the things that makes this series so great is that Yasmine Galenorn is not afraid of shaking things up among the characters. In the past - without giving anything away - she's damaged some main folks, transformed several, put the sisters through violent and brutal assaults, and has even killed off people we've come to care about. And she has a gift for making us care. If you read the previous book, Priestess Dreaming (Signed Copies Available), you know how Morgaine has changed, and how important Tenne has become. That was one of her most powerful books, I think.

But Panther Prowling brings a new depth of character as well as nuance and subtlety to the relationships that, to my mind, makes this one of the richest of the entire series. Things blow up, true - the house is definitely going to need a new coat of paint! - and there's plenty of action, but the true heart of this installment is, in my opinion, the growth and challenges we see among our intrepid crew. I just loved it.