Current Delights and Distractions in Genre Fiction

Well, I have promised the start of a long Dickens reading marathon, beginning with his earliest published serial novel, but I confess that my current novel-in-progress, and a couple in gestation, have led me down the rabbit hole of genre reading. (But I almost always have some Dickens reading or listening in the works anyway, and I have indeed restarted Pickwick, which always “illumines the gloom” of daily life!)

Categories: Blogs, Sydney Wren, Uncategorized, Victorians, and Writing.


  1. Lenny Held

    Ok Rachel: get ready for more sleepless nights! Broken Harbor is a tough, strange, upsetting, unsettling, claustrophobic read filled with many surprises. Once again, there is the sense of containment, reader paranoia, and just general creepiness. And more D. Murder Squad character definition and complexity. French is at her writerly best,
    here, and I found the novel to be full of surprises. It will be interesting to read about your responses (plural).

    To further diversify your reading, which is what you seem to be after, try ANXIOUS PEOPLE. That might be, along with WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, the novel I most want to reread!!! (this Spring). If you read ANXIOUS, let me know if it’s a romantic comedy, tragic comedy, or slapstick???? (OR?) I loved it, laughed out loud, much to the annoyance of Marilynn, who, when she read it, drove me crazy with HER reactions!

    But, But, and more “buts,” There are SO many other books to get to–as you well know!!!

    Keep up the good work!!!!

    Lenny Held

    • Lenny this is fantastic!!! Yes, I’ve heard wonderful things about both Anxious People and Crawdads…I am curious now! The first is Bachman, right? I have A Man Called Ove on hold for me at the library.

      Man, yes, French is masterful! I am REALLY intrigued by your assessment of Broken Harbor! Already I have had some laugh-out-loud moments at Scorcher’s complacent self-love & pride about his solve rate, and I am very curious about where she goes with him. I always assumed that of our lead characters so far of the first four books (and I know Moran will be the lead of one of the others), that Scorcher would be my least favorite, much as I enjoy him as a foil to the charming, maverick, manipulative, gift-of-the-gab Frank Mackey (I admittedly love the guy) in Faithful Place. But French always knows how to focus on that one case that becomes *personal* for the detective, so I have a feeling after reading your words here that we’ll really be peeling off some layers even of the slightly pompous Scorcher, and I’m super intrigued!!

      Have you read French’s non-murder squad books? I have The Witch Elm but haven’t read it yet. And the newest one, The Searcher, is an homage to her love of westerns I believe (if I am remembering right), and of course I immediately had John Ford vibes! 😉

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