What I'm reading now: Not an April Fool's Joke Edition: 11 April 01

Trace Evidence-- Elizabeth Becka (also writes as Lisa Black)
Redeemed (SEVENS: week 7)-- Scott Wallens (YA)
Sunshine--Robin McKinley (Fantasy)
The Truth Behind the New Atheism: Responding to the Emerging Challenges to God and Christianity-- David Marshall (Theology)
The Righteous Men-- Sam Bourne (still reading)

It’s been a slow reading week. On the plus side, I did get to watch the BBC miniseries Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jenniefer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, 1995), which is almost like reading the book. Seriously-- a wonderful production-- all five hours of it. (On the minus side, I rediscovered a certain sensitivity to Coverplast bandages... but that's another story).

Trace Evidence-- Elizabeth Becka.
A few weeks back, I commented on Lisa Black. I was rather impressed with what I’d just read, and when I found out that Lisa Black's real name was Elizabeth Becka and that she’d written two books under that  name, I immediately put holds on them. (The friend who tipped me off to this fact beat me to them, so I had to wait until now.) I read the first one this last week.
It’s not bad. In fact, it’s pretty good, but it suffers by comparison to Takedown. Trace Evidence actually reads something like a warmup for Takedown: female forensic scientist/investigator who is a single mom, teenage daughter, overly political but otherwise lazy boss, eccentric genius squirrelled away in a corner of the lab-- a lot of the characters seem a little familiar. The writing is good, but improves in Takedown, and the plot is workmanlike.
My advice? Either read Elizabeth Becka first and leave a reasonable length of time before you read Lisa Black, or if you must read Lisa Black first, wait a considerable time before you go back to Becka.

Sunshine--Robin McKinley
Robin McKinley is a favorite author, as I believe I've mentioned before. For some reason, though, I've put off reading Sunshine for quite a while. Maybe it's just because I own the  book, and I tend to put off reading my own books in favor of library books. Then again, it could be because of the subject matter: vampires.
Let me hastily say: nobody sparkles. Sunshine predates those other monstrosities by two years, and Sunshine treats vampires in a much more believable way: vampires are terrifying and very inhuman, and any intersection between the human world and the world of the suckers (as they're sometimes referred to) is bound to end badly, especially for the humans. (McKinley's writing is worlds better, too.)
The fantasy world McKinley creates is somewhat post-apocalyptic and gritty, but not without humor and warmth. She does some original things with the legends of vampires and were-beasts (were-chickens, anyone?), and her touches of humor balance the darkness and seriousness beautifully.
This one is a definite read.*
*except possibly for the squeamish... and there is one brief R-rated scene in the middle. The same scene might come in for a language warning, too. It's only two pages, though, and after that it's quite clean.

Note in passing: I read the last of the Sevens series this week, too, and it tied things up quite well. I was quite impressed, actually-- it's hard to keep seven different storylines going, and Scott Wallens did quite well.

Note in passing II: I'm going to move my scheduled posting date to Fridays. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.