Tag Archives: contemporary female authors

“Tell Me An Ending” by Jo Harkin

I found this book in “New Arrivals – Fiction”. A very lucky pick!

Lots of sci-fi writers try this premise: a new technology emerges and causes trouble. In this case, it is a procedure to erase memories. Originally, it’s touted as a way to help PTSD sufferers. But things go wrong…

Three quarters of the way through the book, I had no idea how it would END, or who were the bad guys… The plotting was almost overly intricate, but instead of being turned off, I finished the book and considered turning right back to the first page for a slower, more thoughtful read. 

Psychology and memory are so interesting! What is the role of narrative in private life? (This book doesn’t address communal memory.) How do we protect ourselves and our loved ones from life’s most painful blows? From accidents and errors?

Harkin throws in interesting references – to Shakespeare (Lear, Othello), Haydn and StarTrek, for example. 

Speaking of narrative… I’m looking for books that just tells a story, without jumping all over the place. Too much “structure”. Guess I may have to default to Jane Austin. I liked To Kill a Mockingbird and Cold Mountain for their plain narration. 

The genre associated with this book is “literary sci-fi”

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“A Desperate Silence (Dr. Sylvia Strange Book 3)” by Sarah Lovett

Why start on Book 3 of a series? The regrettable limitations of my (usually sufficient) county library! I was curious about Lovett, but not curious enough for a purchase. I’m trying not to buy books. 

I didn’t completely read this book, checking the beginning and the end and a bit here and there. Conclusion? I’m not going to read it now. (Not what I need, in my jangled, vaguely fragile, Covid transitional state of mind.) But if I was waiting around in a train station, I’d grab Book 1 of this series (Dangerous Attachments) for sure. Female author, interesting and brainy female protagonist, and set in New Mexico! What more could I ask for!?

“Away with the Fairies” and “Unnatural Habits”, Phrynne Fisher Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood

Away with the Fairies (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Book 11)

My concentration was greatly impaired by the onset of the Corona pandemic, so I didn’t charge through these books as fast as I normally would. But they were great fun and provided the distraction I needed. Phrynne Fisher is entertaining, and Greenwood has assembled a robust collection of supporting characters.

Greenwood is an Australian author with a law degree and thirty or more books to her credit, of which I have read half a dozen. Recurring themes are feminism and social justice. In Unnatural Habits, Greenwood takes on the Catholic church. Unlike most writers in the mystery genre, her books include bibliographies, which is good because some plotlines strain credulity, and it’s worthwhile to learn what stimulated Greenwood’s imagination.

Unnatural Habits also includes an Afterword, in which she describes her uncanny personal experience in a convent she used as a setting. On its grounds, “…I walked into the most dreadful concentrated suicidal despair I have ever felt. Someone had stood at that window and really wanted to die. I ran.” How many authors share something like THAT?! Out of curiosity, I Googled Abbotsford Convent, now a conference/cultural center. It looks decidedly unhaunted, and is sorrowfully announcing temporary closure due to Corona virus. But where are the nuns? Not a habit in sight!

Ms Greenwood also writes Young Adult novels and science fiction. I’ll give them a try.