We'll Always Have Parrots
When I read the previous book to this one, "Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon", I loved everything about the book and worried that it was just because heroine Meg was in a world I adored (computer game development) and her boyfriend was far away. This latest installment sets my fears to rest. Michael is fully back in the picture here, and the story couldn't be better. In fact he's front and center, as his acting career in the cult TV series "Porfiria, Queen of the Jungle" has brought the dynamic duo to an east coast convention for the weekend. Now, I happen to love sci-fi conventions just as much as I love computer games, so it could be the setting again being a fantastic one, but if author Donna Andrews keeps turning out books like this, I'll be happy for years to come.
Donna Andrews - Meg Langslow
Just as with pretty much any TV cast set, the actors and actresses have their quirks. There are romantic entanglements in their past, bitter feuds, issues with money, love, family, you name it. None of this comes across as bizarre - it's all quite natural, given the egos involved in many Hollywood situations. The main character, Porfiria, ends up dead only a short while through the con, and of course pretty much everybody is a suspect. I found Meg's reasons for interfering to be a little less compelling than in previous books, though. She wants to clear Michael as a suspect? Heck, he's no more suspected than anybody else. I would believe it more if the book mentioned the many previous mysteries she'd solved and at least gave her some interest in the process. Instead, she vaguely hints at her father's mystery books. It's almost as if they want us to believe, with each subsequent book in the series that it's the very first murder Meg has ever seen. Where, in reality, she seems to attract death like honey attracts bears.
That aside, though, the book is great. Meg's sword-making skills fall right in line with sci-fi convention wares, and the characters are interesting and fun. The book easily pegs the behavior of many avid sci-fi fans. In fact, Donna was a little low key and lenient in some areas :) At a real con, putting out a fresh spread of food and beverage would cause a trampling :)
I do want to comment that in the previous book Meg was eyeing with interest one of the hunky co-workers at her office - and in this book she's eyeing with interest other guys. It's fine and good to say that Meg is allowed to have open eyes and appreciate human beauty, but it is starting to seem that any time a well built guy shows up, she is pondering in her mind "If only I didn't have Michael, I could have enjoyed him ..."
On the other hand, Meg and Michael have both matured SO much since the first books that I'm hard put to really complain about this minor quirk. Yes, it irks me a bit - but in general Meg has a great combination of tolerance, headstrong interest, intelligence and an ability to take care of herself that I really enjoy her.
I really do recommend reading the previous books to understand the whole background on Spike, Michael and the other characters - it makes the tiny moments really rich in layers of meaning.
Donna Andrews - Meg Langslow
Mystery Book Reviews and Movie Reviews