Monday, October 10, 2005

DEATH COMES TOO SOON by Patricia Harrington (PublishAmerica)

So many wonderful folks have submitted their not-so-wonderful books to me for possible review. With dozens arriving each day (and with me already being months behind) I have managed to start culling at a slightly quicker pace (like a literary assistant at a big agency.) I've go to tell you, the quickest way to get deleted out of my mail file is to throw unnecessary back-story into the first paragraph--or worst of all: personal stats of a character.

Crap like this: "Bob was a good looking guy, 6'1", 190 pounds, nice shoulders, a 32" waist, olive skin with green eyes and brown hair, who loved to take long walks . . ." If I want to read a personals ad, I'll go to Yahoo!, where they're typically written better anyway.

So why do I bring this up? Simple. Patricia Harrington knows better--and how to write. DEATH COMES TO SOON is a quick, witty and clever whodunit that will keep the light on late at night (or, in my case, my laptop.) As an example of good style in discovering a new character, she writes:

"The high-pitched voice and breathless rush of words could only belong to one person: Beverly Tilton. She hadn't bothered to identify herself, but Bev's image popped up right away: model-thin, thirty-ish, and long, straight blonde hair. Bev had an intensity about her that wore thin--or wore out--those close to her. She was an artist and ran a bed and breakfast in Seaview, Oregon. Bev painted boldly and lived impetuously and didn't do anything in pastel."

You've got everything you need to know about Bev and now you can be off and running.

Thus endeth the lesson.

DEATH COMES TOO SOON tells the story of Bridget O'Hern (get ready for the Irish references!) who does non-profit consulting and takes (Bev) up on a free trip to her bed and breakfast if she'll do a little poking around on the suggestion that there is some embezzling going on at the Oregon Coast Art League. Bridget takes her up on the offer at the thought of getting away after the end of her marriage ("On my twenty-third wedding anniversary, my husband John had given me his "notice" instead of roses.) One detail leads to another as Bridget assists the police in the investigation until a fatal accident brings everything to a head.

No more info, because, well . . . it is a mystery, eh? And it's a good one. Tightly written, surprising and memorable. And it's 200 pages, which is pretty darn big for PublishAmerica. (*rim shot*)

Note: Patricia is donating $7.00 for every online sale to supporting Katrina animal rescue. Pretty generous for an author, especially a POD author!