Really, how can you pass by a book where the detective is called "Richard Sherlock" and is described as a "Reluctant Dick"? It has to be worth at least a smile.
So I bought it, started reading it and wondered if my liking for wordplay had led me astray. "The Case of the Not-So-Fair Trader" is so lightly written and so under-described that I struggled to get traction with it.
Then I realised that it was my expectations, rather than the book itself, that were holding me back. I thought I'd bought a novel. In reality I'd bought textual television.
The dialog was fun and skillfully done. Each chapter had a witty title and at least two or three smile-worthy moments.
A slightly scatty, ensemble cast was being assembled, in an "Season One, Episode One sort of way, to do the detecting: Richard Sherlock - divorced dad, fired ex-cop, disgruntled insurance investigator with an obsessive eye for detail; Tiffany: a rich young woman side-kick, with no understanding of a world in which the phrase "I can't afford it" applies to her, an obsession with her looks but a good heart and a strong desire to learn - as long as it doesn't interfere with her spa days; two lazy but talented cops, willing to let their ex-colleague, Richard Sherlock, solve their case for them, and Sherlock's two cute daughters who offer random insights into the case and make their father more human.
Once I relaxed into this TV-on-the-page, I began to enjoy myself and get into the whodunnit aspect of the book. Talk about complicated. Jim Stevens doesn't cheat but I guarantee that you won't guess then denouement. The best thing about the plot was that it gave lots of opportunity for humour at the expense of all those rich folks who make their wealth without lifting a finger that all of us love to hate.
By the end of the book I couldn't decide whether I had read a "novelisation" (horrible word) of a TV script or whether Jim Stevens was the new P.G.Wodehouse. Either way, I knew I was going to be reading more. "The Case of the Moomah's Moolah" is already in my To Be Read pile.
Ish has been on the William Tinker about thirteen years now. Things are going well in the deep dark space as he sits as First Mate to his Captain Freddie. Until there is an abandoned ship found floating through space. What they find there is one thing that will never leave Ish's mind and a stark reminder of the deep dark space they fly in. Ish's work with this abandoned ship may bring him to the attention of others, having him invited to sit for Captains test. Things are about to change with a new Captain coming to the William Tinker, and Ish now with his Captain license can take command of the ship the Captain is moving up from - The SC Agamemnon. But with the reputation of the crew bring Ish down, or can he make a difference there as well?
The first episodes of what they find in the lost ship reminds me of a Star Trek episode. The ship is a prime example of what could happen if you don't take care of your ship. Tragic and scary to think on.
Ish has a wife who waits for him to return to station and he passes his Captains test... The things that Ish should have, yet I wonder about his wife. Even though they've been together for seven years, I remember the feeling on the ship with Pip's Aunt and Uncle. That's what feels natural for Ish, to me. But if this works, my hats off to him.
Very touching with the relationships, friends and how people come and go in the lives here. Everyone moves on and ages. And I got a kick out of how much everyone knows Ish. They just know he's going to take the offered Captain-ship, no matter the reputation of the ship and crew. And, maybe that is a bonus - a challenge - for him. He is so predictable. LOL!
Ish's new ship has three of the biggest trouble makers in the fleet, who don't step over the line to in order to be removed. Ish is amazing with these people. Starting with the love for coffee and food, all else will follow suit. He works with the good in each person, not the same as others who have been scolding for their wrongs. Ish learns what their specialties are by what others notice as wrong. As I've said in previous books, Ish is great at finding what people are amazing at. He's firm with them yet wants these people here and to do their best. Even when Ish reprimands he makes the crew member feel comfortable and wanted at the same time.
I do miss the old friends we started with. The new crew reminds me of Pip and others, yet a little differently. Ish tries a few tricks from his first First Mate, Maxwell. It's great to see what he does with these people. The trading comes up, one crew member reminds me of Pip with happenings and his ability to pick cargo.
One thing to remember, 'the crew follows their Captain's lead', and this crew does. To me, even early on, Ish seemed to fit in here. This crew is his family, and through the book it felt comfortable here with Ish. Nothing like when he first boarded the William Tinker, now that was rough! Ish uncovers an amazing crew and family here.
We see new places and further out in the deep dark space. Ish makes a run that shares with us more that's out there in space than we have seen before. We even learn about space as we go too, even if it helps or hurts Ish or others. Always interesting to learn what will be out in the vast dark space beyond.
In the end, I felt there should be more story here on Ish, the new crew member, and the crew in relation to new member. As if they all are in a transition of their lives.
I will be rushing into the next book with Ish. I can't seem to get enough of these stories!
Almost two months ago, my husband drove me down to Buffalo, New York for a book signing at a popular café. I’m kind of new at all this, given Rising Tide is my first novel and all, so I’m learning a lot about the world of publishing…and marketing. It turned out we were at the café during a very slow time for business. The book signing wasn’t a huge success—and I do count every, single sell as a success—but I was still happy we got to go on a road trip, listening to the blog of the phenomenal author Lindsay Buroker on the way and soaking up some awesome promo tips. We ate a really nice lunch out, which is something we don’t do a lot. I had a Huevos Rancheros brunchy-style dish that was simply to-die-for. And yes, of course I skipped the flour tortilla ;)!
Plus, we were in New York…and that meant a visit to Trader Joe’s! I love that place! So many healthy items to pick up, including two of my favorites, cashew flour and canned coconut cream! How I wish we had this chain in Canada. We have organic butter here, but not the Kerrygold grass-fed, and when you give grains to a cow it changes not only the meat, but the dairy, as well…but I digress!
Ron and I always take a picture with the huge buffalo that stands at the front of the store when you walk in. The last time we’d been there was at Christmas, and Mr. Buffalo had been decked out in full Santa attire—suit and all! Since the weather was warming considerably, he looked much more ready for a visit to Hawaii or The Bahamas, this time. Ron posed beside Tropical Buffalo (see picture), smiling at his straw hat, mammoth sunglasses and flowered-shirt—where does one find a buffalo-sized flowered-shirt anyway?
Behind us were some of the sweetest people I ever met in my life. They were visiting Buffalo like us, but from Michigan. Marie, a real darling with a mischievous sparkle to her eye, asked if I would take a picture of her and her sister with the buffalo. Ron and I grabbed a camera from each of them and snapped away, happy to oblige. We talked with Marie and sister, Barb, a little more, and the rest of the family with them—I believe it was Marie’s daughter, husband and kids. Whenever I meet someone with whom I have a real connection, I like to just let them know Rising Tide is out there. I try to never be pushy, so simply handed them my card and asked them to check out my author site online if they had a spare moment.
After the shopping was done, we were standing in line and Marie came up to me. I have a description of the book on the back of my card and she said, “Your book sounds so interesting! Where can I get a copy?”
I told her about Amazon, Smashwords and the usual online book stores, but she looked at me, disappointed and asked, “Oh. I can’t get a print copy in a store?”
I informed her I had some in my trunk, and she and Barb said they both wanted a signed copy. I was ecstatic! “You do?!!” I exclaimed. I still find it incredible that readers want to purchase my work, so every sale is so special to me. But this was just so unexpected and completely random—like fate. It was one of my most favorite sales to date, for sure! (But I feel that way every time, even every single day when I look at my sales online).
I got each of them a book and put well wishes into the dedications. Marie says to me, “Oh this is a trilogy? Well, you’d better hurry up and write the next one because I’m seventy!” She was quite the young seventy, I have to say! And Nee Cee…you know who you are…she seemed to share your impatience for the sequel (thank you both!).
I told her my grandmother lived to ninety-six, so she had lots of time. We talked a bit more, laughed and posed by the buffalo so Ron could snap pictures of us together. I’m still shell-shocked and massively humbled that people not only want my autograph, but pictures of lil old me with them. I only regret that Ron didn’t get a picture with our camera. I’d asked Marie & Barb to send me one for this blog, but I wanted to get it written up before too much time went by. If you gals read this, please send me a copy!
Wherever you two are, thank you so much for making this author’s day that Saturday at the end of May. I’ll remember you for all of forever, and if I ever did achieve Meyer fame, you’ll always be one of those moments that stands out from the beginning of my writing , living in my memory for all my days.