Crime & Beyond Wiki

Tennis Ball Cakes

Great meeting last night, even with the snow we had 13 people who attended. Dave wow’d us as usual with his creativity and Peg’s culinary skills. Our dessert was cake, but if you know Dave you know it wasn’t any old cake. It was two halves of Maggie’s fluorescent green tennis ball (Peg had to do some fancy mixing of colors to get the right shade). It was also chocolaty and delicious, so way to set the bar Dave.

Dave also led us in the discussion of Suspect by Robert Crais. We’ve read this author before, but Dave managed to find some new tidbits of info about the author to pass on. It seems that Fox bought the rights to make a movie out of Suspect. Crais has been very protective of movie rights for his Elvis Cole and Joe Pike characters (he didn’t feel that Hostage turned well as a movie), but felt that the crew at Fox would do a good job bringing Scott and Maggie to life, so agreed to the deal. We’ve decided that when this movie comes out, it will be a Crime & Beyond field trip event.

Related to the book, Dave told us the story of how Crais came up with the idea for Suspect. He lost his own pet dog and took it very hard. He didn’t want to get another one because he didn’t want to try and replace someone to whom he had been so close, nor did he ever think he could. Eventually, he considered getting another dog and decided to do a little research on the human/canine relationship to see just why it took him so long to be ready, and if he wasn’t alone in his feelings. It led him to all of the info he used in the book and how he drew the relationship between Maggie and her two handlers and their strong bond. (hopefully I got all of that right, or at least close, Dave.)

Suspect got really good reviews from the club members who attended the discussion and those who “phoned” in their votes. I think the average score was about 8-9 slices of bologna (yes, Dave’s rating system). It received 5 scores of 10 (Raj even added a plus after her 10). Other than the Agatha Christie we read in December, I don’t remember a recent book that has been that well received. Another thing we all agreed on was that we loved Maggie. Some people couldn’t remember the name of her handler(s) but remembered the name of the dog. Sharon L. was more torn up at Maggie’s reaction to losing her handler in Afghanistan than the actual loss of Scott’s female partner.

One of the things that really impressed me was how many people made comments about the book affecting them on a personal level. Whether it was personal experiences they’ve had with dogs, loved ones who have experienced a loss of a dog, or experiences with people suffering from PTSD. We also had some personal insight into the fact that dogs who served in Vietnam were not brought back like they are now from Afghanistan. This was particularly sad to me because I completely agreed with the characters in this book when they said that Maggie was a Marine & deserved the treatment and respect that any Marine did. I don’t know if the author knew how much he would touch people with both of these subjects when we wrote the book, but he sure ended up dealing with some very emotional topics. The fact that he did such a wonderful job on both the PTSD and the canine/human relationship really made this book a wonderful read.

Some of the other positive comments related to how people enjoyed that Maggie had her own chapters and we got to see things through her eyes. The author managed to make that interesting rather than hokey. Others pointed out that the author did a good job of describing the scenes and it really put the reader right there in the action. Many liked the interaction between injured dog and injured human (injuries being both physical and emotional) and Amy liked the damaged characters and where the author took them. Lorraine pointed out that both Scott and Maggie were the same kind of character, both had to trust and rely on the other to heal.

Pat had so much to say about the book that I thought the book club would go beyond the time the library closed. I almost had to cut her off and tell her we were going to move on to the next person.

No one got slapped at the meeting, literally or figuratively.

We didn’t get a lot of negative comments. I personally thought it was slow in the beginning and a couple of people agreed. Jeff thought Scott was an asshole (especially in the beginning) so it was hard for him to love the book since Scott had such a large part. Judy talked about the slow beginning and made an observation that made a lot of sense. She initially thought it was slow moving and then thought about the fact that PTSD isn’t something you heal from very quickly. Her work with Vietnam Vets and their PTSD gave her the background for this. Put that way, the slow start kind of fit. Additionally, Sharon L. and I took away ½ point for the bad guys being cops – just a bit cliché for us.

Almost everyone at the meeting has at least owned a dog at some point in their lives, and about 2/3 of the people present have owned one or currently own one as an adult. Judy, Janine and I were the cat lovers in the group who spoke up for the feline/human relationship and how it compares to canine. I won’t repeat Judy’s comment about what she read regarding what owning a dog versus a cat means about your own personality. You had to be there to hear that one, and I don’t want any dog owners sending me nasty emails. They need to be loved and adored, so I don’t want to upset them (heehee, had to throw in one dig).

A couple of books/authors that were recommended for their dog related content were: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This book is told from a dog’s point of view and Jeff recommends it. Also, David Rosenfelt is an author who has a mystery series where the main character, lawyer Andy Carpenter, owns at least one Golden Retriever. The author in real life is involved in Golden Retriever rescue and brings his love of dogs into the books. We’ve read one of these in club and enjoyed it.

And lastly, here are a couple of really funny Subaru commercials you can watch on youtube. I laughed so hard at the look on the driver dog’s face when he got caught and growled at by the dog in the passenger seat. He actually looks like he’s saying “oh shit.” The last link are bloopers, the Great Dane in the tent had me laughing.

We will discuss The Expats by Chris Pavone for the February meeting, to be held on Monday, February 24th. There was one extra book that wasn’t handed out, so it is on the book club shelf at the library. I will lead the discussion and Denise will be bringing snacks. Denise, if anything changes and you can’t bring snacks, please let me know.

If you haven’t accepted your invite to join Book Movement please do so. Eventually I will be sending all emails and reminders from that site. Jeff was nice enough to bring his cords and gear so that he could hook up his trusty ipad and help me give a tutorial on what the site has to offer. As we discussed, the main tabs are the Members (all members and their email addresses), Club Selections/Meetings (our list of upcoming books, the meeting dates, and who is leading and bringing snacks), Possible Club Selections (where you can enter book suggestions for the bi-annual vote), and Discussions (where I will enter upcoming events, etc). If you have a book to recommend for the next vote (WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE IN APRIL, THE MONTH BEFORE MAY) please enter it on this site under the Possible Club Selections tab. As usual, I will go through and only use the ones where the library has a sufficient quantity of books.

See you in February.