Thursday, November 12, 2009
A CADGER'S CURSE by Diane Gilbert Madsen (Midnight Ink)
Reviewing a friend's book is always hard. Telling folks about the book—and the friend—is easy. So, let me tell you how this all started.
Several years ago, I volunteered to be a judge in the St. Martin's Malice Domestic Award contest. The first year, I received more than 50 entries! My office was absolutely full of plain brown envelopes. I wonder what my postman thought I was ordering! As I began reading the manuscripts, I quickly realized there were major differences in the entries. Some were laden with grammatical errors; some were poorly written; many were good beginnings, but needed major polishing; and, a very few, were very, very good—almost ready for publication.
Diane's DD McGil story fell into the latter category. While a traditional mystery, it was high-tech, edgy, and featured a protagonist who was sassy, smart, and brave. In short, she was a lot like VI Warshawski, Sharon McCone, and Kinsey Milhone—and many other contemporary hard boiled female PIs. Comments from publishers were good, but they were, quite simply, looking for the next generation of female sleuths.
Diane and her husband Tom moved from Chicago to Florida, and Diane was caught up in the move and a new job. But. She didn't forget DD McGill and she didn't stop writing. Fortunately,during that time, trends shifted again. A few months ago she called me with great news: Midnight Ink was publishing A Cadger's Curse. It wasn't the same manuscript I'd read, but it featured DD (and I recognized a couple of scenes and situations that were familiar).
Here's the new situation. A few days before Christmas, DD is asked to run background checks on new hires at a high tech company. On her initial trip to the client, she discovers a body. Unbelievably, it's someone she knows. Even as DD continues with the assignment, family holiday plans march on. The Scottish Dragon (Great Aunt Elizabeth) arrives with a bag full of contraband (Scotch whiskey and a genuine(?) Robert Burns manuscript).
As bodies continue to fall, DD must determine whether they're concerning her case or the manuscript.
DD and Auntie Elizabeth head a cast of well-drawn characters involved in a fast-paced mystery that I recommend wholeheartedly. Welcome to my world, Diane and DD!
This book was provided by the publisher.