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The Early Word: New Books For The Week Of December 2, 2007

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Due to this week's all-fiction slim pickin's, I've had too much time to ponder the fact that Sue Grafton is up to "T" in her alphabet-fueled crime novel series. "T" is for “Trespass,” by the way, and while she does manage to build a valid narrative around that concept, what about “U” for the next book? “Unlawful”? How predictable and bland — and it’s also too much like L Is For Lawless and O Is For Outlaw. Why not something truly challenging, like U Is For Uvula? Build a valid narrative around that concept! I would buy that book. I might even steal it. But of course that would be unlawful.

T Is For Trespass by Sue Grafton
 
Identity theft, elder abuse, and betrayal of trust — all sorts of transgressions and overstepping of bounds abound in Sue Grafton’s 20th Kinsey Millhone crime novel, making for a wits-match more than a whodunnit. When Millhone, a private investigator in the small Southern California town of Santa Teresa, assumes temporary responsibility for the care of an old neighbor injured in a fall, she crosses paths with a supposedly professional home aide hired by the neighbor’s family. What the reader knows, and Millhone must detect — in a tense race against time — is the truth of the circumstances: a dangerous sociopath with a stolen identity is on her appointed rounds as Santa Teresa’s resident angel of… well, not exactly mercy.

Captain's Fury: Book Four Of The Codex Alera by Jim Butcher

With a balance of military realism and swashbuckling action, plus the assurance of keen tactical plotting, perilous cross-country travel, and sardonic humor, Jim Butcher’s fourth Codex Alera novel would be appealing enough.  But I just might pick up and read Captain’s Fury based on Butcher’s resume alone, which includes his abilities as a martial arts enthusiast with “a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least two hundred years ago,” and the fact that he lives in Missouri with his family and ferocious guard dog. In addition, it should be noted, Butcher turned to writing as a career because “anything else probably would have driven him insane.” Good call — though it might have been intriguing to see him teach his guard dog a few martial arts skills.

Opening Atlantis by Harry Turtledove

In the first volume of a planned trilogy about the legendary island of Atlantis, the New York Times bestselling author of numerous alternate history novels explores the colonization of the mythical lost continent.

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