Years ago, I saw a comment from someone who was trying to break into the business in response to a question about what people read when they are writing in a certain genre. This person replied that they didn’t read anything whenever they were writing. Why? Because they didn’t want their prose “infected” by anything someone else wrote. After all, they had such a unique voice and unique story that they didn’t want to weaken it by exposing it to outside influences. The comment boggled my mind and made me think long and hard about the question.
I read every day, whether I’m in the middle of a project or not. What I don’t do is read in the same genre in which I’m writing. It isn’t because I don’t want to “infect” my work. It’s because I simply got into the habit of reading different genres from the WIP years ago and haven’t broken the habit.
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is a thank you note to author Faith Hunter, not only for writing one of my favorite series (Jane Yellowrock) but for reminding me about an author and woman I respect a great deal: Jean Rabe.
I’ve known about Ms. Rabe for years, mainly as an author. I’d read her Dragonlance books. Back when certain members of the “woke club” decided to declare war on Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg, Ms. Rabe became one of their victims. I wrote about it for MGC here. But this isn’t the only time Ms. Rabe has been featured here on MGC. Search her name and you’ll find other posts, including at least two interviews with her.
Now, the reason I’m thanking Ms. Hunter is in one of her FB fora, she recommended one of Ms. Rabe’s series and linked to the pre-order page for the latest book in the series. Since I was looking for something to read, I followed the link and picked up the first book in the series. I opened it up and was instantly hooked. Three books read in two and a half days and now I’m waiting for the next book in the series.
The Piper Blackwell Mystery Series is a fun, engaging series. More than that, it is one where a master of her craft shows us not only how to do pacing but point of view changes without confusing the reader. Her character development for Piper over the course of the three books is realistic and engaging. Sure, there are a few places in each book I shake my head. But that’s not to say Ms. Rabe got it wrong. It’s more that I would have done it differently if I were in Piper’s shoes.
In other words, Ms. Rabe pulled me into the character and, after all, isn’t that what a writer is supposed to do?
So, thank you, Ms. Hunter. I tend not to switch genres with an author because I’ve almost always been disappointed. Good fantasy writers don’t always make good mystery writers. Good romance writers don’t always make good science fiction writers, etc. But Ms. Rabe is simply one of those writers who does her homework and puts out an engaging book, no matter what the genre.
Here’s a link and description for The Dead of Winter, the first book in the Piper Blackwell series. It’s a great buy at only $0.99.
In a deceptively peaceful county, a murderer hides in plain sight…
Fifty-eight minutes into her first day on the job, twenty-three-year-old Sheriff Piper Blackwell is faced with a grisly murder—the victim artfully posed amid decorations on his lawn. Drawing on former military training, Piper must prove herself worthy of the sheriff’s badge, and that won’t be easy.
Chief Deputy Oren Rosenberg, Piper’s opponent in the recent election, doesn’t like her and wants her to fail. She doesn’t like him either, but she needs Oren to help catch the killer before another victim is discovered. Too late!
As Piper leads the manhunt, another crisis hits close to home. Her father, the previous sheriff, is fighting for his life, and she is torn between family and duty. Facing personal and professional threats, Piper has to weather a raging storm, keep the sheriff’s department from crumbling around her, and reel in a killer during the most brutal winter sleepy Spencer County, Indiana, has experienced.
I also highly recommend Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series. Skinwalkers, shapeshifters, vampires and blood servants all set in New Orleans. What isn’t to love? Seriously, I’m not a fan of the vast majority of books that have vampires but I appreciate the way she does them. She is another author who is very adept at developing characters over the course of a series.
So, while I wait for Ms. Rabe’s next Piper Blackwell book, what would you recommend I read?