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ETPH has commented on (2) products.

Home to Holly Springs (Father Tim Novels) by Jan Karon
Home to Holly Springs (Father Tim Novels)

ETPH, November 5, 2007

I was so happy to hear that Jan Karon was writing about Father Tim's early life. After all, he came to us fully grown, without much back story.

Enjoying retirement and his life in Mitford, North Carolina, Father Tim receives a letter postmarked from his home town. The letter contains only two words: Come home.

Although it's been 38 years since he was in Holly Springs, Father Tim and his loyal canine companion Barnabus set out from Mitford, to the small Mississippi town of his childhood.

The book is lovely. Like the Southern town in the title, the story moves along at its own pace and we're the better for it. Getting to know the people from Father Tim's home town is both satisfying and fulfilling. I fell in love with each one.

Karon is a great storyteller and a keen observer of human nature. As each scene plays out, we get the feeling that Father Tim is wrapping up a lot of unfinished business.

We meet his first love. We learn why there was so much friction between Father Tim and his father. We learn why Father Tim's mother was sad. We learn how Tim found his way to the priesthood.

When the "big reveal" comes, and Father Tim learns the purpose behind the letter, the emotions of all the parties just leap off the page and into your heart. I could see the sitting room in Peggy's house and I could taste the homemade lemonade she served Father Tim as she poured her heart out. Some professional reviewers have chastised Karon for a "Hollywood" ending. To me, it played out perfectly.

Karon is a master of sweet, gentle fiction and she is on top of her game here.

I will be re-reading "Home to Holly Springs" again soon. It's that good.

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Book of the Dead: A Kay Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries) by Patricia Cornwell
Book of the Dead: A Kay Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries)

ETPH, November 5, 2007

This book deserves a -0- rating.

So much for hoping that Cornwell would return to the great stories about Kay Scarpetta, America's top forensic pathologist, and her merry band of helpers. This book is beyond bad. It doesn't deserve even half a star.

Between pages 65, 66 and 67, Cornwell writes

"...he's done the unthinkable."

"...he might be capable of the unthinkable."

"...not if he did the unthinkable."

"He may have done the unthinkable."

"...she hopes ... that the unthinkable hasn't happened."

"Assuming he's done the unthinkable..."

What's *unthinkable* is that this mess got through the editing process. Is there no one brave enough to stand up and say, "Miss Cornwell, this won't do. Bring it back when it's worthy to print or get a ghost writer."?

Lucy, Scarpetta's niece and incredibly wealthy computer genius, is really high maintenance and she just wears me out. Benton, Scarpetta's lover, is a puffed up jealous toad. There's a smarmy Italian doctor after her affections, too. Marino, Scarpetta's investigator, really crosses the line and would be canned in a second by the the original Scarpetta - the brilliant pathologist who lept off the pages when Cornwell was at the top of her game.

The Iraq war figures into the killer's fury. Iraqi sand, blue glue and a lot of missing body parts are supposed to provide intrigue. Not this time. The main characters are actually scarier than the madman. Something's wrong with this picture.

No amount of pre-release hype can save this mess. Once the reviews hit, and readers blog their thoughts and opinions, the book will fall off the side of the world. Good riddance.
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(5 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)

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