Crime & Beyond Wiki

I hope you all had a wonderful, if socially distant, Memorial Day weekend. We had another great Zoom meeting for Crime & Beyond this month. We had a whopping 20 people on the call. That’s even higher than we usually get in person. It’s great that we can include some of our out-of-towners for the discussion.

We met to discuss The Lost Man by Jane Harper, the author’s 3rd book and the 3rd we’ve read in club. This fact reminds me to tell you that Webmaster Jeff has been a busy, busy webmaster. He has done some code writing (I think that’s the proper term) and our Wiki site has even more features. It’s super exciting! Here’s what we’ve got, in Jeff’s own words (I’m going to try and make the links that Jeff inserted below actually pull up as links in this email – but in case it doesn’t work, you’ll notice I never said “Webmaster Kerry.”):

Under the new Database section of the wiki home page, you can find:

Master Book List
Master Movie List
Master TV Series List

Having all this data with code allows me to produce pages like these:

Most Read Authors
Most Read Series

I’ve also updated these pages with all the new information:

Most Wanted Movies
Most Wanted TV
Case Files 2020

So, for example, if we want to know how many books by John Sandford we’ve read in club, go to Most Read Authors, then see there are three.

As another example, if we want to know which books by Lee Child we’ve read in club, go to Master Book List, sort by Author, then see there are seven total listed, but only six with club meetings.

Thanks so much Jeff, those are super cool and handy ways to see what we’ve read by authors and how many book in a series.

Now back to the May meeting. Our discussion of The Lost Man went well and the book scored super high ratings, even though it seemed that for most people, it came in second to The Dry. The Lost Man scored eight 9s (one rounded up from an 8.5), six 8s, three 7s (one rounded up from a 6.5), and one 6. Connie was a DNR and Sharon Klein was both a DNR and a WNR (Will Not Read). I think there were too many spoilers.

The good things about the book, and there were many, stemmed from the fact that we loved the atmosphere of the novel and the characters. In addition to that, even those who said the book was just “ok” said that they liked the authors writing. We liked the relationship between all the characters and many of us found the character development to be excellent.

Amy gave it the lowest score and she channeled her inner Raj and pointed out that it was at page 129 that she noted that nothing had yet happened. She still kept reading, diligent book club member that she is. Gail agreed that it was slow at the beginning. Gail was eventually grabbed by the characters, but Amy didn’t seem to feel that same pull. Even many of us that gave it 9s agreed it started slow (I was one of them) but that it still kept us entertained and then picked up speed as you kept reading.

Erika mentioned that it was difficult in the beginning because there were a lot of characters, this might have been why it was slow – the author was spending all her time with each character and their backstory. Erika also pointed out that many of the female characters seemed weak. I didn’t notice at the time, but looking back I can see that too. Interesting, especially since it was written by a female author. I suspect that since Cameron played on weak people, those were the only ones that he surrounded himself with. It’s probably common to see this in the sphere of abusers.

A few readers likened the book to Where the Crawdads Sing because it was a story about people, with a murder thrown in. I thought the same thing, but it reminded me of The Witch Elm - for the same reasons.

Most of us were not sad that Cameron died and we hope that the mom gets away with the crime. The fact that the mother was the killer was shocking to a lot of us too, although Janice caught the clue about Nathan having to move the seat in the truck and guessed it was the mother. The thing that gave us the most visual was the mom driving the truck while holding the reigns of the horse so it followed. If they ever make a movie out of this one, they’d better include that scene!

The good news is, if anyone wants to take a chance and move to the Australian Outback, there seem to be plenty of jobs poisoning dingos and shooting roos. Or you can live in a caravan and be a barmaid, your choice.

The book mostly lost points because of the plot. Some found it weak and felt that the mystery part could be more interesting. We’re definitely a mystery reading group and we have high standards for the murder/crime portion of a book.

Next month we will meet via Zoom on June 22 at 6:30 pm to discuss Peter Swanson’s Eight Perfect Murders. Here is the Zoom info (I will send it again prior to the meeting).