Current Delights and Distractions in Genre Fiction

Well, I have promised the start of a long Dickens reading marathon, beginning with his earliest published serial novel, but I confess that my current novel-in-progress, and a couple in gestation, have led me down the rabbit hole of genre reading. (But I almost always have some Dickens reading or listening in the works anyway, and I have indeed restarted Pickwick, which always “illumines the gloom” of daily life!)


The Gothic…

My own work-in-revision-process is what I’d call a modern-gothic ~ and I’ve been told it’s essentially “a modern gothic romance,” but don’t ask me why I keep resisting the R-word ~ so of course I’ve been reading some congruous works. Most recently, Ruth Ware’s The Death of Mrs. Westaway, which, although not one I’ll necessarily return to for a reread, was a diverting way to spend a few lamplit evenings, with all of the du Maurieresque gothic tropes I enjoy: the unexpected inheritance, the down-and-out young heroine, the creepy estate, the twisted family secrets, the coastal setting. My main source of disappointment was that, for such a lonely heroine, there was not a stronger developing relationship to cling to as it went on. I’m not talking a romantic relationship, or not necessarily. (She needed a real friend…someone, anyone!) And honestly, it’s often the lack of a strong relationship that will keep me from picking up something again, as hopeless a rereader as I am.


The Mystery…

And, of course, I have to return to the mystery genre. (Two of my secondary characters in the current WIP have a backstory that involves a murder investigation, but do I really need that excuse? No way.) I’m hooked on Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, and recently finished  the audiobooks of The Likeness and Faithful Place (Nos. two and three in the series) and have just begun the fourth, Broken Harbor. (This will have to be a separate post of its own…)


YA Fantasy/Alternate History…

But I’ve also been prepping to go down the path of YA fiction in my future writing, whether or not I decide to take that turn in the revision process of my current WIP (in spite of some congruent elements). One way or another, at least 2 of my upcoming projects are absolutely made for a YA audience. So I’ve been getting distracted by the Grishaverse trilogy starting with Shadow and Bone, finishing it about a day and a half after starting, in spite of my writing and class commitments, in anticipation of the Netflix series premiering on April 23rd. It’s a page-turning, bingeworthy read. (And this Darkling…oh my. I do love a good baddie!) Naturally, I have the second and third books now, ready to start.

But really, the fact that all these genres have interest for me in my mad writing ventures, is incidental; it’s honestly nothing more than an excuse to get back to reading my guilty pleasures, especially now that my work schedule is more forgiving.

More soon. Happy reading!

2 thoughts on “Current Delights and Distractions in Genre Fiction

  1. Ok Rachel: get ready for more sleepless nights! Broken Harbor is a tough, strange, upsetting, unsettling, claustrophobic read filled with many surprises. Once again, there is the sense of containment, reader paranoia, and just general creepiness. And more D. Murder Squad character definition and complexity. French is at her writerly best,
    here, and I found the novel to be full of surprises. It will be interesting to read about your responses (plural).

    To further diversify your reading, which is what you seem to be after, try ANXIOUS PEOPLE. That might be, along with WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, the novel I most want to reread!!! (this Spring). If you read ANXIOUS, let me know if it’s a romantic comedy, tragic comedy, or slapstick???? (OR?) I loved it, laughed out loud, much to the annoyance of Marilynn, who, when she read it, drove me crazy with HER reactions!

    But, But, and more “buts,” There are SO many other books to get to–as you well know!!!

    Keep up the good work!!!!

    Lenny Held

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lenny this is fantastic!!! Yes, I’ve heard wonderful things about both Anxious People and Crawdads…I am curious now! The first is Bachman, right? I have A Man Called Ove on hold for me at the library.

      Man, yes, French is masterful! I am REALLY intrigued by your assessment of Broken Harbor! Already I have had some laugh-out-loud moments at Scorcher’s complacent self-love & pride about his solve rate, and I am very curious about where she goes with him. I always assumed that of our lead characters so far of the first four books (and I know Moran will be the lead of one of the others), that Scorcher would be my least favorite, much as I enjoy him as a foil to the charming, maverick, manipulative, gift-of-the-gab Frank Mackey (I admittedly love the guy) in Faithful Place. But French always knows how to focus on that one case that becomes *personal* for the detective, so I have a feeling after reading your words here that we’ll really be peeling off some layers even of the slightly pompous Scorcher, and I’m super intrigued!!

      Have you read French’s non-murder squad books? I have The Witch Elm but haven’t read it yet. And the newest one, The Searcher, is an homage to her love of westerns I believe (if I am remembering right), and of course I immediately had John Ford vibes! 😉


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