Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More Mardi Gras Murder

One more seasonal reading pick:

Nashville author Sarah Shankman has written seven novels featuring Atlanta journalist Samantha ("Sam") Adams, a recovering alcoholic and amateur detective.  The first two books in the series (First Kill All the Lawyers and Then Hang All the Liars), originally issued under the pen name of Alice Storey, were fairly run-of-the-mill, but the third book took a sharp left turn into Southern gothic.

Now Let's Talk of Graves is set in New Orleans, where Sam has gone to spend Mardi Gras with her old school friend, Kitty Lee.  Unfortunately, Kitty's brother is killed during the festivities by a hit-and-run driver, and Sam suspects foul play.  Her efforts to find the responsible party are hindered by a byzantine web of subplots involving eccentric Southern characters and mores.  A cake-baking evangelist, a bulimic teenager,  a voodoo priestess, a mismatched team of ambulance drivers and a hunky younger love interest keep the storyline lively, if not always entirely believable.  If you missed the actual Mardi Gras celebration this year, make up for it by reading Now Let's Talk of Graves.  You'll experience most of the fun without the discomfort of being jostled in a crowd or hit by flying beads.

"[It is hereby decreed that] melancholy be put to route, and joy unconfined seize our subjects, young and old of all genders and degrees...that the spirit of make-believe descend upon the realm and banish from the land the dull and the humdrum and the commonplace of daily existence." ~Public proclamation, Morgan L. Whitney, King of Carnival (Rex),1967

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