Archive | February 2013

Karin Slaughter’s “Criminal”

I highly recommend Karin Slaughter’s latest mystery, Criminal, especially to those who like reading series. If I can describe the protagonists, the police detectives Will Trent and Faith Mitchell, with one word, I’d choose the word “tough” because, despite constant drama in their personal lives, they overcome all obstacles and come out as winners. In the previous books of this series, Undone, Fallen, and Broken, I was fascinated by two other tough characters, Will’s supervisor and Faith’s mother, a retired police detective, both overachievers with decades of police work, plus doctorate degrees, under their belts. An admirer of strong women, I wished Slaughter wrote about these two friends’ backgrounds in more detail. Well, in Criminal, the author does just that. She alternates the chapters between the present day and mid 1970’s, thus taking us to the time when Amanda Wagner and Evelyn Mitchell start their careers at the Atlanta PD. What they face and deal with is a shocking revelation to me: discrimination based on their gender, misogyny, and blatant sexual harassment not only from the general male population, but from their male colleagues as well. These policewomen are investigating the serial murders of the prostitutes, but they too are treated by men almost as badly as the crime victims by their pimp.

The novel has everything that holds your attention from the very first line to the very last one: a captivating plot, nail-biting suspense, and incredibly well-drawn characters. I can’t wait till Karin Slaughter whips up her next mystery.

“Taken hostage”

I’ve been taken hostage by our three-month-old golden retriever, Greta. She’s been with us for only two weeks, but she’s taken over my life. She doesn’t let me work out, jumping at me, biting my feet, trying to trip me. She robs me of the time that I used to spend on writing fiction. When I sit down at the computer, she gets busy chewing on the cords or the books on the shelves or on the chair legs. My previously immaculate house is a mess now, the floors littered with tennis balls, stuffed animals, rawhide bones, slippers that she keeps pulling off my feet, pillows that she snatches from the couch, torn newspapers, and whatever else she grabs from any place possible. Oh, yeah, she also pulls out the fibers from the carpeting, meticulously destroying it. She puts her front paws on the table, desk, counters, trying to filch whatever is within her reach. When I put her in the crate, she cries so much and so pitifully that I drop everything and let her out.

An unstoppable bundle of energy, Princess Greta (as our daughter calls her) simply ignores the word “no,” even though she’s too smart not to know it. So I already have a clear idea about what kind of a dog she will become: assertive, bossy, sassy. She’s lording over Gunner, our two-year-old German shepherd, and over us as well. But she is so affectionate, kissing me in the mornings, and sucking up to everyone she meets during her walks, wagging her tail, wiggling her entire body, asking for a pat, a rub, a hug, that I can’t help but love her to death.

And that’s what I’ve become—a full-time mom of a demanding puppy. Thank God, after 5 p.m., I relinquish my parenting duties to my husband so I can finally work out and write. Woo-hoo!

Disengaged

Yay! Our mystery novel, Disengaged, has been evaluated and approved by the Collection Management and Acquisitions Department of the Fairfax County Public Library, VA, and will soon be added to the circulating collection at four branches. Cindi Rockett and I are thrilled about the prospect of seeing our book on library shelves, as well as the fact that it will find more readers.

Brazil Butt Lift (BBL)

I’m in my second half of a 60-day workout program BBL (Brazil Butt Lift) and still loving it. Yay! Or rather, loving it more, since I’ve now gotten the hang of it. It wasn’t easy in the beginning because of the intensity. Unlike Tony Horton, the author and trainer of P90X, this instructor, Leandro Carvalho, doesn’t give you any breaks between various exercises—to take a sip of water or wipe the sweat off your forehead—and neither does he explain the moves, expecting you to just imitate the girls on his team, as if you’re a natural. So I struggled to keep up with their fast tempo, falling out of step, losing balance, falling onto my knees, feeling clumsy and downright ridiculous. But I laughed it off and kept shaking and wiggling my butt and lifting and swinging my legs and arms, and my efforts have paid off: I’ve finally memorized, if not fully mastered, all the moves and am doing much better. Yes! My perseverance is not the only thing that has helped me stay the course. Teaming up with my Beachbody coach, Galina Morrissett, who did BBL before and has picked it up again, has been invaluable. We discuss our progress on the phone and on the Internet, and keep each other accountable and motivated. It’s fun!