Number six of Abramson’s Beach Reading Mystery series takes us into the layers and depths of protagonist Tim Snow’s psychic powers. He’s used them before, but now they’re being amped up x-fold in new and ingenious ways. Recruited into a group of other HIV patients by a shadowy research outfit claiming to use psychics to find and prevent suicides, Tim is trance-linked via Neutriva, a new AIDS drug, with an elderly fortune teller, a street person, and others to form a sort of psychic hive mind. But something’s wrong; the trials are not all they seem. Tim’s lover Nick and the regular cast appear, along with a guardian angel and some sweet closures. This satisfying longer volume gives free rein to Abramson’s masterful plot weaving.
How would you respond to “[You] are cordially invited on a King Weekend,” and assurance that if you spend the next forty hours following Vin Vanbly’s “every command,” your “life will change in surprising ways.” Well, Perry Mangin does, and undergoes a night hidden on Alcatraz; a duck-napping in a swank hotel and ocean blowjobs. Vanbly leads Perry to his Kingship, which has to do with Perry’s painter father whose works were being shown in the gallery show where the two met. But who is Vanbly, and what are his motives? Dark flashes from his own past, involving an abuser named Billy, suggest there is more to learn–and local author Manning hints at coming novels which will reveal more about Vim and future kings.
The Big Cat Nap
Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown
For ailurophile whodunit fans, Big Cat Nap will be a special treat, marking the twentieth anniversary of Brown’s Mrs. Murphy Mysteries involving Mary “Harry” Haristeen, tiger cat Mrs. Murphy, and their furry collaborators Pewter (cat), and Tee Tucker (dog). Not only are too many car accidents happening an around tiny Crozet, Virginia, but a lot of car mechanics are dying off as well. Harry, whose desire to ferret out the truth has led her into the previous nineteen adventures, sets out again on a danger-laden search for a killer–or killers. Brown has a knack for focusing big issues on Crozet for solution, and this time big insurance company malfeasance falls under Harry’s scrutiny. Michael Gellatly’s black and white illustrations make the purr-fect accompaniment.
Cynthia Chin-Lee; Illustrated Lee Lyon
Reach and Teach
Illustrated in a most charming, sketchy/accurate wash technique by Lee Lyon, Chin-Lee’s text follows the true story of a California pre-Prop 8 family. Eight-year old Alex’s best friend, Zach, announces that he can no longer be her best friend since her parents aren’t married. Alex and little brother Nicky set in motion “Operation Marriage” to convince Mamma Kathy and Mamma Lee to tie the knot. They’re successful, and the wedding takes place, offering readers a satisfying conclusion. But the book’s power is in portraying how the debate affects all children: Alex pedals by Zach’s house where his father is setting up a “Yes on Prop 8” sign; Zach’s lingering words, “My dad says two women can’t be married.” Prop 8 passed; the story’s not over.