Sunday, April 08, 2007

Listening in

Charles again

“I had the hardest time with your book,” more than one close friend has said over the years. “I was reading it but I kept on hearing your voice. It was weird.”

To be honest, when people told me this I thought they were just thinking up an excuse why they hadn’t bought my book, but no, they all were quick to point out that they read the book(s) and enjoyed them, “But man, it was hard getting past hearing your voice.” I thought they were kidding, just saying something clever because they know me. But now it’s happened to me and I understand what they meant.

I am fortunate to have many author friends and it’s a real treat to read their books, not just for the great writing but also to see how they put it together. Sometimes you can see their personalities shine through – maybe in the way they put the words together or the unusual way they phrase things, or in the subject matter or the locations. Not always, but sometimes. It adds an extra level of enjoyment to the books. But in all the books written by people I know, I’ve never had the authors voice in my head as I’m reading. Until now.

JD Singh of Toronto’s Sleuth of Baker Street mystery bookstore saved me an import copy of Zoë Sharp’s First Drop. So far it’s a great read, but Zoë’s the one reading it to me.

This is not the first book by this wonderful British author that I’ve read. I loved Zoë’s Road Kill but I read it before I met her. Her protagonist, Charlie Fox, is the kind of woman you want on your side – tough, smart, wise enough not to be fearless but bold enough to do it anyway. Then I was lucky to spend some time with her and her husband Andy at Left Coast Crime in Bristol England and at some other stateside events, slamming beers and swapping stories. A good time, as they say, was had by all. But now…now I’ve got Zoë in my head while I read.

Maybe it’s because Zoë and Charlie are so much alike – both know motorcycles, both know guns and both are make good drinking buddies. And although I’m sure I’ve read descriptions of Charlie, in my head she looks and talks just like Zoë. For most of the book it’s great, like all the intense action scenes and the believable background dialog and the internal monolog stuff. It can all be Zoë, no problem.

But then there’s the sex. Oh, nothing graphic (yet), but there’s enough that makes it kinda weird. And what makes it even stranger is that Charlie’s love interest, Sean, looks nothing like Zoë’s husband Andy (sorry, Andy). Part of me is thinking ‘I should just skip ahead and give Zoë some privacy,’ and part of me is thinking, ‘what the hell, Zoë, what about Andy?’ And if there’s part of me hoping for more of these uncomfortably visual and way too easily pictured scenes, you won’t hear me say it.

This summer I’m sure that I’ll bump into Zoë and Andy at an event. It’ll be great to see them and fun to catch up on stuff. But I have to tell you, Zoë’s writing is so good I’m half expecting to see her sporting Charlie’s scars.

And I sure hope Sean and Andy don’t get into it.

No comments: