Book Review: Patricia Highsmith, Slowly, Slowly in the Wind

A creepy little collection of short horror stories, complete with epic apocalyptic ending. It has been a while since a story has been able to stun me with surprise; almost all of them in this volume did so. Title story: brilliant, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps again. Some of these outright scared me, a feat achieved by very few authors, including Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, and Peter Straub. Absolutely fantastic.

Book Review: Patricia Highsmith, The Small g

Highsmith’s last novel and aside from the murder that opens the story, quite different from her others. The Small g is really Jakob’s, an establishment frequented by regulars in the neighborhood and designated the small g in tourist guidebooks to let visitors know that while a lot of gay people might be there it’s not exclusively a Gay hangout. The novel examines the relationship between Rickie, beloved older man with his even more beloved dog Lulu and boyfriend of the aforementioned victim, and Luisa, recent transplant to the city from Zurich and living with an ogre of a woman who is apprenticing her and a few other girls in sewing. Rickie believes he is too old to change and Luisa is too young to realize her whole world is about to. While the plot is quite different from her usual, the book contains some classic Highsmith features such as intricate character development and exquisite writing. A must for Highsmith fans.

Book Review: Betty Hechtman, Yarn to Go (Yarn Retreat Mystery #1)

First in a new series introducing Casey Feldstein, a dessert chef who inherits a yarn retreat business when her Aunt dies suddenly in a tragic car accident. Casey, however, doesn’t think it’s an accident and after another murder at the retreat her friend Lucinda, co-owner of the restaurant Casey bakes for, convinces a reluctant Casey to continue hosting, Casey decides to investigate further. Enlisting the long-distance help of her former employer Frank from her brief stint as a PI, Casey delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding everyone on the retreat in order to determine who would want to kill pleasant seeming craft lovers. At the same time Casey is trying to solve the mystery of her neighbor, a buff police officer named Dane who definitely likes Casey even as she resists her attraction to him. When her parents show up with her ex in tow, things only get more interesting. An entertaining read with clever clues; I was pleased to solve the mystery around page 200, but it wasn’t for lack of skill on Hechtman’s part.