Shakespeare's Champion: The Lily Bard Series 2

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

: Lily happens upon another corpse in the place she uses as her sanctuary--the local gym. The man met his end with a barbell in the neck. The murder has the entire town of Shakespeare in an uproar. To complicate matters, the deceased was a known racist and thought to have been responsible for a couple of murders involving African American victims. It brings all the underlying racial tension to the surface in this small Arkansas town.

Short Thought: Deliciously dark and smart chick mystery with a pinch of the sweet South.

Expanded Thoughts: This is another entertaining mystery that can be read in a couple of hours. It's perfect summer reading or winter cabin reading.

I plan to continue reading the next couple books in this series, but there are a few things in this book that slightly set me off. First, Harris introduces plot lines that never happened in the first novel. There are fights and relationships mentioned that don't actually get introduced until 50 pages or so later. For such a short read, it was just annoying. I felt like I couldn't fully grasp the meanings or flow of things. It made me feel like I had accidentally skipped a book in the series. (I actually checked twice to make sure I was reading the correct book). It was almost like someone saw these inconsistencies and then randomly shoved in explanations.

Also, coming from a small homogeneous town myself, I wish that Harris would include some of the gems of Southern culture in her novels. It seems she focuses on the bigotry, racism, ignorance, intolerance, and religiosity and takes it too far. Where's the hospitality, kindness, thriftiness, values, traditions, manners, and sweet vibe of the Southern towns that I know. (I lived in a town of less than 1,500 people for over 20 years, and that counts the surrounding territories. I know small towns.) I felt that some of the characters were just stock cut-outs of a outsider's idea of southern stereotypes. Now, don't get me wrong, all of the bad stuff does exist; it exists everywhere unfortunately. It just isn't to that extent; life isn't that one sided. Stereotypes can be brilliant and funny, but it just beat the dead horse this time. (was too much.)

Despite my annoyances, it was a great mystery that hits a lot of good notes. Harris is the queen of Chick Mystery (is that the term.) It packs a big punch in a short amount of pages.

Additional Notes: This novel contains dark themes and sexual themes.

Additional Notes: This is the 2nd novel in the Lily Bard Mysteries by Charlaine Harris.

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