Monday June 3 2013
Don't you hate it when one of your favorite authors goes and dies? (Or you discover he/she is already gone after you finished their published books - kind of like finding out your new favorite band, whose entire collection of albums you have bought with one mouse click, already broke up 2 years earlier).
If you wait long enough - a decade or so, and you don't have a photographic memory, you might be able to go back and re-read the author's entire collection, although it's not quite the same as the first time through.
I'm not a big fiction reader. The exceptions have been Walter Farley's Black Stallion series (which one can definitely read over and over!), and the masterful Dick Francis. His racing mysteries were excellently crafted with engaging writing, heart-stopping adventures, and intriguing characters, many that stay with you long after the stories have concluded.
Then Dick Francis went and died in 2010. I thought my days of reading good horse fiction were over.
OK, sure, I thought, when a friend Funder introduced me to Laura Crum's books, I'd try the first one, "Cutter". Sounded innocuous, and it couldn't be that bad; and sometimes I like some light, undemanding reading, where I don't have to invest too much attachment or attention.
My God. Was I in for a surprise!
Like Dick Francis (who - no surprise here - has "both entertained and inspired" Laura Crum), Laura's Western Horse Mysteries (12 books so far) are cleverly composed, the adventures erudite and authentic (I am not convinced Laura has not lived every one of these thrills), and the characters - human and animal - astute and charming. I know for sure I'd like to meet the main character Gail McCarthy and her horses and friends.
Gail is a diligent equine veterinarian who dabbles in the western disciplines of cutting and reining (a world I happen to be very intrigued by), and who always seems to stumble into danger.
I dare you to read slowly, and I dare your heart not to pound as you hide with Gail on a stack of hay bales from a killer, or run with Gail from getting shot at in an abandoned barn in the dark, or run with Gail from headlights chasing you, or wake up with Gail tied up with a gag in your mouth. Dare you.
The best part about Laura Crum's books is…. everything. The worst part (the only bad thing) about Laura Crum's book is… I'm going to finish them one day. They're like fine Belgian chocolates: to be indulged and savored, every bite, every word.
Do yourself a favor and pick up one (or all) of these excellent novels by Laura Crum. They are truly delightful works of art.
PS. Happy birthday Laura! And thanks for the great work! Now put down your cake and get back to writing, please.