Saturday, 23 March 2019

Wot I'm reading: Sleeping Beauty and the Italian Stallion


I’m not normally a reader of Erotic Romances, but I made an exception for this one because Kate Zarelli and I became friends last year after meeting up on an editorial course run by the Curtis Brown literary agency. What a little gem her newly published novel is.

Antonia, a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ English librarian, emotionally scarred by a heartless lover, takes refuge in a research job in Italy and falls for her employer’s nephew Lorenzo, a magnificently gorgeous Italian stallion (the 'Bobby Ewing' cover doesn't do his gorgeousness justice!). Lorenzo’s ex, a Swiss beauty with a heart of ice, casts a shadow over their happiness.

Kate Zarelli’s style, polished and elegant, put me in mind of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. She breathes Tuscan warmth and perfume into the pages of the story. The erotic scenes are intense and sensuous with none of the lurid sensationalism of Fifty Shades of Grey. Tuscan Enchantment is very much at the Quality end of the Romance bookshelf.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Wot I'm reading: old cop, new cop

Michael Connelly: DARK SACRED NIGHT

In his last book Michael Connelly introduced a new detective, RenĂ©e Ballard, recently demoted to the LAPD night shift. In this follow-up he introduces Ballard to Harry Bosch, several years retired from LAPD and now working cold cases in San Fernando. The two team up on the unsolved murder a decade ago of teenager Daisy Clayton whose mother is a recovering junkie temporarily living with Harry. The investigation brings cop and ex-cop into conflict with a Latino gang headed by the improbably named Tranquillo Cortez (if Connelly drew his inspiration from Placido Domingo he could have called him Tranquillo Sabado). Another gangster is known as ‘Uncle Murda’ – puh-lease!

This is a messy case, a collection of loose ends that have to be pulled together. Tension is not as tightly ratcheted as we are accustomed to, but an ‘officer-in-peril’ episode cranks up the pace. Connelly’s great strength is his insight into the tarnished underbelly of the Golden State. The resolution of Daisy’s murder proves once again that Justice sometimes moves, like the Lord, in mysterious ways. Mysterious but satisfying.