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Crime & Beyond met this month for our October Halloween meeting. We weren’t in person, so there was no pizza or candy corn, but there were still costumes! Thank you to everyone who dressed up, the costumes ere awesome because Zoom backgrounds added to the fun.

I completely forgot to call for a vote for best costume. I posted all of the photos on our Facebook group page. Please reply here and email me your vote for best costume (even if you weren’t at the meeting). I've blind copied everyone to avoid reply-alls.

The winner is getting a copy of one of our 2021 books. If you’re new to the group and haven’t joined our Facebook group, send me a friend request or ask to join the Crime & Beyond group and I’ll let you in. It’s “Crime & Beyond Book Club.”

We had a bit of a strange meeting this month. We met to discuss Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty and for the most part, the scores were very low. At a normal meeting that would mean we would hear comments like “I’ll never get that 6 hours of my life back” or “I’d like to slap the author for writing this book” or “I’ll never read this author again.”

Not this month. This month, those who didn’t care for the read showed their 'non-passionate dislike' of the book (a phrase we just created). They just didn’t have much to say about it. Were they practicing the lesson learned in grade school: if you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all? Or were they crashing from a sugar high after eating all the Halloween candy they bought before realizing that there would be no trick-or-treaters in their neighborhood this year? We may never know. What we do know is that this book got some of the lowest scores in the history of Crime and Beyond.

To be fair, it wasn’t really a mystery. Since many non-mystery books contain mysterious elements, it wasn’t initially clear that there wouldn’t be a murder, dismemberment, or other form of violence at some point in the narrative. As the story progressed, though, it became apparent that we wouldn’t be investigating a suspicious death. Instead, we would be watching 9 strangers go on an acid ride in a health spa in a remote area of Australia. Some of us enjoyed the strange ride. Others were not amused.

The positive comments about the book stemmed from the humor that the author was able to infuse into the story. The characters were well developed, and even those that didn’t like the book agreed on this point. We didn’t necessarily like many of the characters, but to be fair, I don’t think the author was creating them all to be likeable. Frances seemed to be a favorite, and she provided some of the aforementioned humor. The author wrapped up each character’s post spa life in the end, and we appreciated knowing how things turned out for them.

Those that didn’t care for the book agreed on the reasons. It seemed that the first 1/3 of the book was really good and intriguing. The second 1/3 started when they all took that LSD laced smoothy and proceeded to have their acid trip – this is when the book went off the rails (or off the cliff). Moriarty lost us in the strangeness of it all and there didn’t seem to really be a point. The last 1/3 was the wrap up.

Allie didn’t like the author’s style, Jeff thought Masha was a cartoon villain, Stephanie in Yorkshire agreed with Jeff and thought that Pixar might create a similar super villain, Amy had low expectations and ended up liking it better than Moriarty’s other books, Sharon K’s score of 2 was given with 2 middle fingers, and Jay pointed out that it wasn’t impossible to finish it….but it was close. Janice summed it up with “the writing was fine, but just not for this club.”

The book scored two 6s, four 5s, one 4, four 3s, and four 2s. Allie could not give a score because she couldn’t finish it.

Next month we’re hoping for a more lively meeting. Wine people, drink wine at the meetings!! We will meet on November 16 – one week early because of Thanksgiving. We’re discussing Ruth Ware’s The Turn of the Key. If you’re not a Ruth fan, fear not, we’ve heard some great reviews from people who have already read it and they assure us that the narrator is neither drunk or on drugs. Hallelujah.

See you on November 16th.

Reminders:
Deadline to RSVP for Quiz Night is 11/4
Deadline to RSVP for Murder in the Alps is 12/5

Kerry

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