A Killer Stitch
by Maggie Sefton
2 stars - just too cozy for me
ALR Green - nice rottweiler who mostly chases squirrels in the yard
It just goes to show you that there is a cozy mystery series for just about every area of interest. This one happens to be the fourth Knitting Mystery. Yup. Knitting Mystery. Why not? It even includes a pattern for a scarf at the end.
I selected this specifically as a pallet cleanser just in case any of my other books were too intense. It achieved that goal and it is a perfectly fine cozy, but just a bit too Disney for my taste.
Kelly Flynn is an accountant, living in Colorado, who also happens to frequent the local yarn shop where ladies gather to work on their knitting. When they learn that a local alpaca rancher is found murdered, Kelly sets out to find the real killer. She does this by chatting up her fellow knit club pals. That's really all it takes.
Mostly, this book isn't about the murder or the mystery, it's about a bunch of women hanging around, making sweaters, and supporting each other. That's not a bad thing, but it isn't enough to make me want to come back for more. Plus, I was annoyed by the persistent breaking of confidences in the circle of women. Sure, by telling tales that they had sworn to secrecy, they ultimately find the killer. It was nevertheless a bit discomfitting to observe the number of times some personal tidbit was passed along to another willing set of ears, all in the name of helping out a friend.
Too bad Carl, the Rottweiler, didn't get more attention. In fact he never even got a walk, despite the fact that the main character (his owner, Kelly) is quite active and athletic. Poor Carl's role was comprised of going out and coming in, with the occasional head scratch.
by Neal Stephenson
1 star - stylistically not for me, but read on as it might be for you
Dang! I really wanted to read this, but the writing style was just too painful for me. Here's the opening paragraph:
The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed sub-category. He's got espirit up to here. Right now, he is preparing to carry out his third mission of the night. His uniform is black as activated charcoal, filtering the very light out of the air. A bullet will bounce off its arachno-fiber weave like a wren hitting a patio door, but excess perspiration wafts through it like a breeze through a freshly napalmed forest. Where his body has bony extremities, the suit has sintered armogel: feels like gritty jello, protects like a stack of telephone books.
Hey, I'm no stranger to the whole noir style of writing, but seriously? Four analogies in one paragraph? But I persisted, hoping this was just a fluke. Nope. The prose is so analogy laden that it was hard to track the plot at times. I'm afraid I survived less than 50 pages.
And that pisses me off. Why? Because this book, written in 1992, promised to be a very interesting take on technology to come. Hiro Protagonist (ouch) is a pizza delivery boy by day, Metaverse warrior prince by night. He lives in a world where people spend a lot of their time in fantasies constructed by computer programs. Complex communities made of bits and bytes that bears a remarkable resemblance to the social media / gaming community of today. That's totally cool. The dust jacket promises that Hiro is going to get caught up in a search and destroy mission that takes place entirely in, what we now know to be, The Cloud. All of that in 1992.
So if you enjoy the noir style of writing, this would be an interesting read. If not, just wait for the movie.