Saturday, January 15, 2011

Surprisingly Australian

While on holidays I've been churning through quite a few library books. The problem here is that I've been through each of the libraries in my Council's catchment area several times and am starting to run short on the sort of books I know I'll like just from glancing at the imprint, the spine, the cover and the blurb (I judge, so sue me). It's a much more tedious process to choose something, anything, once I've exhausted all these possibilities so this week I snuck into the library in a neighbouring Council area and crossed my fingers that my old library card would still work. If they'd asked if my address was still the same, I wouldn't have been able to lie, so thankfully I got the surly librarian who didn't interact with me any further than putting out her hand for my card and handing me my receipt.

From my illicit visit, I came away with a nice sack full of books. I was especially pleased to find a copy of Jacqueline Carey's Naamah's Curse (the second in her third trilogy from this world). I've been waiting for it to come out in paperback so I can get a copy that matches the rest of my set, but in the meantime was very happy to read it, however it came. Also grabbed Steve Hockensmith's Holmes on the Range. Cowboys playing detective. Promises, promises.

But the surprise pick has been Marianne Delacourt's Sharp Shooter: surprising because it was both much better than its cover and Australian. Okay, it had the word 'Monaro' in the back blurb and on much closer inspection was published by Allen & Unwin, so I should have twigged onto the Australian part but surprising nonetheless.

I'd just inhaled Janet Evanovich's Wicked Appetite (and Sizzling Sixteen not long ago), so was after more of her brand of story: a feisty, flawed gal with an unusual skill or profession, landing in trouble and solving crimes. After a slow few chapters, this one delivered. Tara Sharp ticks the boxes on feisty and flawed (recently fired, mouthy, insane driver of said Monaro) as well as the unusual skill or profession (parlaying her ability to see auras into a social skills seminar series and consultancy business). The landing in trouble and solving crimes part just seems to follow. On top of this, the love interest is actually interesting and the acquired sidekick/bodyguard memorable (although no Lula in the laughs department). It's also set in Perth, which... well, it works. The cover is pretty awful (the orange and pink, the pouty kickboxer, the wheel-smoking Monaro and what's with the suited silhouette on the front and back cover?) but the inside rocks.

Tried the library catalogues and Borders this afternoon for the sequel, Sharp Turn, but no-one has it in stock. Onto the rest of the pile until I find it.

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