I read four great books on vacation this week.
I started with Paige Shelton's Farm Fresh Murder, the first in her Farmer's Market Mystery series. Because I've been thinking about writing a series involving a farmer, I wanted to see what this series was about. I was pleased to find a well-written cozy without much overlap with my prospective murder mysteries. The characters are alive and fun, and the story was compelling. I look forward to reading more by Shelton. She's got some great titles, too: her next two books are named Fruit of All Evil, and Crops and Robbers.
Next I lost myself in Judy Alter's debut mystery, Skeleton in a Dead Space. She captures a real estate agent's life in Texas really nicely, along with the complications of finding a surprise during a renovation while single-mothering her two daughters and helping a teenager get back on the right track.
Then I plunged into Barry Eisler's latest thriller, The Detachment. This isn't a genre I usually read, but I met him at Crime Bake, heard him talk about the new world of publishing, and thought I'd give his writing a try (plus it starts in Tokyo, a city I lived and worked in for two years). Eisler is a big name for a reason. The book is truly a thriller and hard to put down despite the number of people who get killed. The psychological storytelling is superb. I was glad to get to know Rain, the protagonist, at long last.
My flight home passed quickly because of Julie Hyzy's first in her Manor House cozy series, Grace Under Pressure. I've read all of her White House Chef mystery series and loved them (I'm happy to report it's an ongoing series, with Affairs of Steak due out in January, 2012), so I looked forward to starting the Grace series and was not disappointed. Grace, the new curator of the Marshfield Manor museum, meets challenges right and left with strength and aplomb. I loved Grace's two housemates, Bruce and Scott, and how Hyzy paints the culture of the South Atlantic area.
Vacation's over, so the number of books I read goes way down, but the stack remains high. What was your last favorite vacation read?