Tuesday, June 5, 2012

the stars shine bright

This is just a little plug for one of my favorite authors: Sibella Giorello. She's got a new release coming up July 17: The Stars Shine Bright. It's book 5of the Raleigh Harmon series.

If you're thinking, "Raleigh Who?" you just need to trot on down to your local library and read the first book, "The Stones Cry Out." Or better yet, if you're an E-Reader type, download the free excerpt and GET HOOKED. Then buy the current 4 from your bookstore or Amazon. You have just enough time to read all of them in anticipation for book 5.

In a nutshell, Raleigh is a FBI agent by career, geologist by training, and caretaker of her mentally-failing mother by necessity. She joined the force after her father was murdered, her mother doesn't know she's with the FBI (she lost a few marbles after the murder, understandably), and she's slowly sorting out her faith as she solves some bizarre cases. The stories are VERY well written, suspenseful, include a touch of science (which I'm learning to enjoy being married to a scientist), a smidgen of romance (just a smidgen), and rich with detailed, unique mysteries to be solved. I don't read a lot of crime fiction, but I LOVED these.

I actually read these slightly out of order. I picked up book 2 and 3 at the library (book 1 was already checked out by someone else) on one of those winter weekends when nothing seems to spark your interest and you can't wait for summer to come. It took me a few chapters to get into the story (probably because I hadn't read book 1 and thus, not familiar with the characters). But then I got unexpectedly sucked in. Night fell and I was still reading. I think I read them both back to back and went to bed around 3AM, my mind still racing.

Sibella is a phenomenal writer. Love, love, LOVE her sense of setting. It's difficult to describe environments and set a tone for your reader as modern fiction eschews a lot of scenery descriptions (for good reason...remember reading Dickens in high school?  Sorry, not a fan of his). But Sibella pulls it off so well and I always have fantastic mental images of the settings of her books.

I also loved Raleigh as a character. She's cerebral. I've not encountered a lot of female characters like that (at least in Christian fiction). And yet, she's also a woman and (a human!) and thus has emotions roiling under the surface that she's not always sure what to do with. Because Raleigh is a thinking type (my guess an INTJ or INTP if she took Myers Briggs), her emotional aspect can be hard to see, but it's there. And Sibella does a great job of creating interesting, layered characters.

The Stars Shine Bright holds special interest for me because one of the plots circles around horse racing. Woo-hoo! :-)  Yay for horse books for those of us over 30, er, 13!!

You can find out more about Sibella and her books at her website here: http://sibellagiorello.com/

I don't give out book recommendations lightly, but I happily give the Raleigh Harmon series 5 out of 5 hearts, er, diamonds (Raleigh is a geologist after all). Or to borrow from Pinky and the Brain:

Step 1. Visit your library
Step 2. Find a comfy chair

P.S. Don't forget to watch the Belmont this Saturday! :)

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