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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Wednesday, September 24

Belinda Baur

I'm just finishing the third in Belinda Baur’s Shipcott trilogy, Finders Keepers. There are very few books about which I can say that I really can’t wait to finish but I also don't want to finish. I feel that way about Finders Keepers and the two previous books in this series. I don’t want to lose the characters she’s created. They’ve become old friends and I don’t want to say goodbye to them: the incredibly complex Jonas Holly; the brave Steven Lamb who somehow manages to escape two threats to his life and finds the love of his life, Emily Carver; Detective Inspector Reynolds, he of the hair plugs and insecurities; Detective Sergeant Elizabeth Rice, who hates to have to bow down to her boss DI Reynolds; Lettie Lamb and her mother and even the obnoxious little Davey, Steven’s younger brother; even Lewis, Steven’s self-centered friend. Then there’s the rich undercurrent of humor and the seemingly effortless style. Three examples:

Some of the humor: On the day the new girl, Emily Carver, first attends school, the boys are all agog at her beauty, especially Lewis. Lalo Bryant says, “She’s hot.” ¶ “I’d give her one, agreed Lewis. ¶ There was barely a woman alive that Lewis wouldn’t give one to; for a seventeen-year-old with flaming acne, he had remarkable reserves of self-worth. Even so, Steven felt a prick of anger and a defensive surge towards the brown hair and the green velvet ribbon. ¶ “Yeah, but would I give you one?” ¶ They turned to see Emily Carver a few paces behind them. ¶ Steven blushed all the way down to his toes and the others shuffled and looked away. ¶ Always the rubber ball, Lewis bounced back sufficiently to bluster lamely, “Yeah, I bet you would.” ¶ Emily Carver stopped, looked him slowly up and down with a curious expression on her face, and then burst out laughing. ¶ It was devastating. Nothing she could ever have said could have destroyed Lewis more completely, and his acne positively glowed.

Some of the style: After Steven Lamb is taken by the kidnapper, his mother Lettie, in deep despair, is taking a bath. “Lettie’s mouth distorted with sudden emotion and she squeezed her eyes shut to stop herself crying. Crying helped nobody. She’d learned that a long, long time ago. ¶ She waited until her breathing was normal again, concentrating on her breasts, which sat like little islands on the water—the warm meniscus of the tide rising and falling on the beaches of pale skin, where faint blue rivers ran from the puckered peaks.”

And one for both humor and style: Because they knew Shipcott better than anywhere else on the moor, Rice had booked them rooms at the Red Lion. ¶ It was a mistake on every level. ¶ Cheap but noisy, and with mattresses that had been almost folded in half by years of heavy sleepers, and then turned upside down in a misguided attempt to redress the balance; It was like sleeping on the peak of a Toblerone. On the first morning, Reynolds rolled over, lost his grip--and slid down the west face to wakefulness.

I’m a frequent re-reader of books that impress me, and I’m certain that I’ll re-read these three in the Shipcott trilogy. It will be nice to revisit old friends.
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