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Crime & Beyond met on Monday to discuss our April book: A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay. I personally led what the Washington Post is calling “a riveting discussion.” Before I go into said discussion, I will mention that Kim brought the snacks and I am considering banning her from snack bringing as she is hazardous to my diet. I’ll have you know that I drove to club with the intention of eating nothing. I showed up and saw that she had baked some sort of chocolate chip, salted caramel, crack cakes, so I said ok, I’ll eat one. Well, as with crack, one just isn’t enough, so I convinced myself they were small, so I’d have 2. That would have been fine and no ban would be imposed, except for the fact that at some point in the meeting I must have risen from my seat and gotten a 3rd because there it was on my napkin, and very shortly after, in my stomach.

The book got a lot of really good reviews. The scores are listed in red herrings, as chosen by Dave. The majority of attendees gave it 7-8 red herrings. We did have two scores of 9 red herrings, and on the other side we had a few 5s and a 4. But 12 people were in the 7-8 range, which is quite a majority.

Some of the positive comments about the book included that it was a fast, entertaining read and the characters were well developed. Many were shocked at the ending when they found out whodunit (always a plus to surprise us). We liked that there were two killers (one who pushed Scott and one who killed the girl), much more interesting. Many liked the mystery of the italics chapters where we were with the guy in the basement and didn’t know who he was. I wasn’t alone in thinking it was the furniture store owner, who was conveniently “out of town.” Red herring anyone? We bought the small town happenings: the kids selling booze to under-agers, the cops thinking they’re above the law, etc. We found it ironic that they ran the 2 bikers out of town to keep crime down, but all the crime was being committed by one of their own. Way to go!

Denise mentioned liking Roman, the zombie screenwriter. I think he was a fun character, too bad he didn’t have a larger part. She also pointed out the black truck being a symbol of evil, which is a very interesting observation. Several people thought the setting was uninteresting. You knew this was coming……Jody thought it was so insignificant that she was sure it was set in Wisconsin rather than upstate/western New York. I think the only redeeming thing about the setting was that if you’ve ever been to the falls (we know Sharon has and loved it) you know how freakin’ fast the Niagara River runs, and how scary it would be to be in it and go over. There’s a spot near the falls where it runs so fast that my Mom won’t even walk up to the railing to take a photo. It’s just that scary.

Some of the other negative comments were that it went a bit too fast at the end. The pacing sped up to warp speed once they got to the cabin. Amy thought the book should have ended at the cabin because it dragged after that. Janine was quite worn out by the end and said “enough already.” Dave couldn’t suspend his disbelief enough to believe that the battery in the GPS lasted as long as it did in order to still track Scott to the cabin.

It was widely felt (by those who scored high and low) that we couldn’t believe that Cal’s wife died and found it really sad. Raj stated that it was “so out of line.”

If a movie ever gets made, Jeff votes for Kathy Bates to play Phyllis. I think she would do a great job. And just think, they’ll probably let Cal’s wife live, since we like happy endings in Hollywood.

We talked about the whole concept of Cal picking up the high school girl. We were a bit split on that. Kim pointed out that there was a point where Cal admitted something like – what the heck am I doing, I shouldn’t do this. If you look at that fact, and how he knew what he was doing, you could definitely think he was an idiot. I personally can see how all of the events happened at once and could see how he would get caught up in the young girl alone, in the rain, scared of a truck, who knew his son…and give her a ride. Obviously if he didn’t the book would be like 2 chapters long. Additionally, you know there are people who do things like that, so we didn’t have to suspend disbelief, we only had to judge Cal for his stupidity.

This led into a discussion of the creep factor. We came to the conclusion that men between 35-55 can’t talk to young “girls” without being creepy. Once they pass 55 (assuming they don’t have a creepy beard) they enter the “grampa” group and are no longer creepy, and are actually very pleasant to talk to. Dave has been enjoying grampa status, much to the jealousy of his younger friends, for a little while now and can attest to the validity of this. Jeff, however, finds Dave creepy – so what can you do?

Welcome to Pat, Linda’s friend who came to the meeting. Linda, I didn’t get an email address from Pat, so if you think she would like to be on the email list and could get me an address that would be great.

We chose the books for the second half of the year and they are listed below. All meetings are on the 4th Monday of the month, and I will let you know when we decide to have the Christmas Party. The 22nd is a bit too close to the holiday, so it will be before that. I want to note that we FINALLY voted in a Nicci French book, and Dave couldn’t be happier. He’s under a lot of pressure for this to be a good book, but seems up to the challenge and is planning to lead and bring snacks for September. There will be a sign-up sheet for leading and snack bringing at the May meeting.

A few of the books are in short supply, namely Ghostman and Waiting for Wednesday. We will need to not only share, but check out other libraries for copies when those come up. Some will be given away in drawings in the next few months, so make sure you come to the meetings to have a chance to win a copy. The December Agatha Christie is another in short supply, but I know a few of us own a copy and there will also be a few of those given away before December.

 July: Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
 August: Never Go Back by Lee Child
 September: Waiting for Wednesday by Nicci French
 October: Missing You by Harlan Coben
 November: Sycamore Row by John Grisham
 December: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Next month I will be out of town, so Sharon L. will be leading and running the meeting. The book is The Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardiner and Amy is down for snacks. Book Movement will be sending out the reminders automatically, but Amy if something comes up and you can’t bring snacks please let Sharon L. know.

See you in June,

Kerry

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