Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Tiger by the Tail

It is quiet for a change. The sounds of traffic on Colorado Avenue are muffled by the windows shut tightly against the cold breeze and another gray day. The little tree outside my window is finally turning gold and rustling briskly in the rising breeze. Inside, even with the thermostat set at 60 degrees, it is fairly warm, or at least comfortable, and I'm still smiling and chuckling from reading another Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse book. This time it was Definitely Dead and it was a pip, if a bit of a confusing book at first.

I already knew I liked Quinn from the previous book when he was Master of Ceremonies for the choosing of a new pack master for the Shreveport Weres, but I liked him even more as the book progressed. Unlike Sookie, I wouldn't have balked at finding a quiet spot and wrapping my legs around Quinn's substantial and muscular waist. But then, I'm not a twenty-something single woman who lost her virginity about a year ago either. I was married and divorced at twenty-five. I'm also not a telepath like Sookie either.

The big confusion came with one of the main events of the story: settling cousin Hadley's estate.

Hadley had been murdered by another vampire a couple months before and Sookie talked about it as if it had been part of the previous book, Dead as a Doornail. I'm a careful reader and I didn't remember anything at all about Hadley's death, the search for her killer or the subsequent punishment meted out by Sophie-Anne Leclerq, Louisiana's vampire queen, or that she had come to Sookie's house to tell her about it. Uh, no, didn't happen. I wracked my brain and fussed and fumed over the missing scenes and info, and even went so far as to go back and read some of the latter chapters. Not there. How could I have missed it? Did I have defective books? Was I sold short? No.

The whole incident appears, I found after a Google search, in a short story, One Word Answer, in an anthology edited by Laurel K. Hamilton: Bite. Okay, I can deal with that. I now have to get the anthology and read the pertinent story, but at least I'm not losing my mind and I'm still a careful reader with excellent recall, a must for a book reviewer like me.

The usual blend of down home earthy wisdom and humor, Sookie's usual strength, intelligence and creativity in difficult situations and a blend of mystery, romance, sex and colorful characters are packed between the covers of Definitely Dead. I was not at all disappointed -- except for Sookie's very wise and completely inhibited choices, but that is who she is. She is at least true to her character and her nature, and she finally finds out that she is part fairy. Makes her feel that much more insecure, but not nearly as insecure as finding out Bill Compton, her first lover, seduced her at Sophie-Anne's orders. He says he fell in love with her once he met her, but it's too little too late and I'd react the same way Sookie did: disbelief and abjuration. Get out of my face and out of my life, you low life, double dealing, two-timing vampire Lothario!

Sophie-Anne in the books is not nearly as vapid and conceited as she appears on the show, True Blood, but few of the characters actually turn out the way Charlaine Harris envisions them in her novels. They are far different in Alan Ball's version, but that's what you get for artistic license, even when the license is as broad as Alan Ball sees it. I enjoy the HBO series and Charlaine Harris's books, but I do not confuse the two. I have seldom seen a movie or TV series based on a book that comes out the way the author intended. It's all about personal interpretations. I am sure that were I to dramatize some of my favorite books and stories, my take would be different than the author's original vision, but I would stick closer to the original plan than most directors, writers and producers usually do. It is the same in any relationship. People on the outside see a relationship differently than those on the inside, and the people involved in the relationship see it differently than their partner. We bring ourselves and our experiences, prejudices and viewpoints to every relationship and they are never the same as someone else's. Just like me being very willing to take Quinn for the tiger ride of his life while Sookie demurs. She is also reluctant to sleep in the same bed with him while he's still sporting his tiger tail. I think it would be even more fun.

Quinn is a weretiger, a Bengal tiger, 7 feet long and about 3 feet high at the shoulders. I do love cats, especially big cats.

Now I have to dive into a biography about the men who created today's tabloid journalism, and it's a big book. I'd rather dive back into the next Sookie book and see what happens next, but I'm a professional and must put the needs of paychecks before pleasure, and hope there is at least some pleasure in reading the biography. I have been surprised before.

That is all. Disperse.