Leaden Skies Ann Parker. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (298p) ISBN 978-1-59058-577-1I feel like I can now breathe again. I've received some early individual reader/reviewer comments (see previous post), and Publishers Weekly has weighed in, all to the good.
The July 1880 visit of former president Ulysses S. Grant to the mining community of Leadville, Colo., sparks Parker's third mystery (after 2006's Iron Ties), a twisty tale of murder and ambition. Saloon co-owner Inez Stannert is preoccupied with divorcing her missing husband, her affair with the local minister and her secret business partnership with the local madam when one of the madam's prostitutes is first attacked and later killed. Eager to protect her investment, Inez begins to look into the case, confronting mine owners with personal agendas; local politicians; zealous journalists; a mapmaker with a past; a determined mother with aspirations for her wastrel son; a prostitute with family obligations and hopes for a better life; and a ruthless city tax collector, appropriately nicknamed the Hatchet. Parker is proficient in showing the crossroads between civilization and the frontier, including emerging new roles for women. A cliffhanger ending sets a promising stage for the next installment. (July)
I've heard some authors say they never read reviews of their books, and I wonder ... how do they do it? I could no more ignore/not read a review than I could not sleep. Not sneeze. Not eat chocolate. Doesn't mean I take everything as gospel (because I know that each and every reader approaches a book differently), but to ignore or not pay attention to what they say? A major joy of writing (for me) is telling stories, weaving a tale. And the telling requires a listener, a reader. Otherwise, why not just spin stories for myself. So, to not listen to what readers have to say seems odd. In my day job, I always have the audience in mind. Why should fiction be different?
Writers, readers, what do you think?