I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.
7/11 - You know how I said that nothing happened in Little Joe (well, you would if you'd read my review of it)? Well, that's not the case with The Trial of Dr Kate. It starts with Dr Kate Marlow (daughter of the sheriff from Little Joe) in jail for the murder of one of her patients. Kate's best friend from school, Shenandoah Coleman, who is now working for a Memphis newspaper, comes back to town to cover the trial and see if she can stop her friend from being sentenced to life in jail. It turns out Kate has become an alcoholic in order to deal with the pressures of being a country doctor in one of the poorest counties in the state of Tennessee (she's more likely to get paid with bacon than cash) and this is causing the blackouts she's been experiencing. One of these blackouts is the main reason she's in jail, she can't account for her whereabouts at the time of her patient's murder - she woke up in her car on the side of the road some hours later with no memory of where she'd been for the whole day.
They also have a syringe with her fingerprints on it at the murder scene, the murder victim, Lillian, stating that Dr Kate was coming over to give her treatment and the rumour that Kate and Lillian's husband, Army, had been having an affair. Shenandoah escaped town, and her family, as soon as she graduated high school by being the first Coleman to actually go to university and get a good job. As far as the townspeople are concerned the Coleman name is another word for 'white trash' in Round Rock, they're the family whose kids are always dirty, don't wear shoes except for in the depths of winter, don't brush their hair and don't finish high school. The men of the family are constantly in jail for assault (they hate anyone who isn't a Coleman, especially anyone with a different skin colour) and general disruption of the peace.
As soon as Shenandoah gets to town it's clear that she's not wanted, but not clear why. Her tires are slashed and an unknown pickup runs her off the road. It could be because someone doesn't want her interfering in Dr Kate's trial (possibly finding exculpatory evidence while on her search for character witnesses), it could be because she's getting ready to write an expose on a mob boss, it could be because she's a strong, independent woman who stands up to bullies like the sheriff. She beat him up on the school bus after he provoked by cutting off her pride and joy, her long, red (and, unusually for a Coleman, clean) pigtail - they've hated each other ever since. In fact, his behaviour (towards both Kate and Shenandoah), seemed to be such an extreme reaction towards two girls who had previously had no contact with him, lead me to think maybe he's gay and in an attempt to prove to himself and his friends that he's not, was acting out, and when they both called him on his bullshit (claiming he was going to get in their pants and kissing Kate in the school hallway) he reacted out of rage and fear that people would start to suspect him of being 'queer'. Otherwise his senselessly violent behaviour doesn't make much sense to me. What would suddenly make him want to start picking on these particular girls? To be continued...
8/11 - There are two mysteries that are keeping me fully engaged in the story and wanting to finish it in order to solve the mysteries, but at the same time not wanting to rush through it because I'm enjoying it so much and I don't want it to end. I'm already wondering how I can get my hands on a copy of the final book in the trilogy.
When I first started reading The Trial of Dr Kate soon after I finished Little Joe I was most interested in the fate of Little Joe, Persifor and Frances Washington. As I was reading the first 50 pages, or so, I found I was a little disappointed that the Washingtons got little more than a few sentences of dialogue from Frances before they became peripheral characters. I wanted to know how Little Joe was getting on at school, if Lester Coleman was still bullying Little Joe, if Little Joe and Sugar had become more than just friends and what the final outcome from the barn fire was (I thought it might cause temporary, or even permanent, destitution to the family). But other than Frances telling Shenandoah that Little Joe and Persifor were in town at the time of her visit, that Little Joe was going to college in the fall and Persifor was feeling his age, we don't know what happened to them in the intervening years.
Fortunately for the story I have now become so engrossed in the twin mysteries of who has been trying to kill Shenandoah and what really happened to Lillie, that I haven't thought about what's happening with the Washingtons in over 100 pages. I think that the new Dodge that's been stalking Shenandoah might be driven by Army Johnson, Lillie's husband. I think he might be trying to kill her because Shenandoah is helping Dr Kate fight the murder charges, and Army doesn't want Dr Kate to go free because he's the one who killed his wife, and if Dr Kate is convicted then the investigation will be over and he'll get away with the murder. I think Army might have killed Lillie because he does have feelings for Dr Kate, despite the fact that she doesn't return the feelings, and thought that if he could get Lillie out of the way, Dr Kate might change her mind. I think Dr Kate's drinking and blackouts were just a happy coincidence for Army and obviously he's completely capable of being the driver of the Dodge pickup. Alright, that's enough writing, got to get back to the reading and see if my theory is correct. To be continued...
WATCH OUT FOR SPOILERS
9/11 - Well, I didn't expect, or like, that ending!! How depressing! Also, my theory was completely wrong, but I think my ending (which involved no dead people) was better. Prior to the last few pages I thought this deserved a 4.5, but now I'm feeling vengeful and might take that 1/2 a point away out of spite. Also I don't understand why Glasscock would end the book that way, it could have ended on a happy note and been just as powerful. As I was reading the 'shocking scene' I kept thinking/hoping that maybe she's having a nightmare and will suddenly jerk awake in the chair and see that everything's the way it should be, but no he stayed dead and she ended up marrying someone else. I still want to read the final book in the trilogy, but I'm feeling grumpy towards Glasscock, so it's probably a good thing it's not published yet. I need some time to cool down before I can give the next book a fair review without feeling the need to rant and rave about killing characters only seconds after everything's worked out for them.