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Book Reviews: Secrets of Foxworth + IronKissed+ Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets part 1

Christopher’s Dairy: Secrets of Foxworth by V.C. Andrews
Due to the success of the Lifetime movies, a 3 book spin-off continues the story of the Foxworth family. What would the long dead Virginia Andres think of this? This book by a male ghost-writer is both a sequel/retelling. Set some years after ’Seeds of Yesterday’, Kristin Masterwood a distant Foxworth relative visits the ruins of the once grand mansion.

Legends of the children trapped in the attic are well known so when Kristin finds a diary in the rubble, she knows the value of what she has found. It is the diary of Christopher Dollanganger and she becomes overwhelmed by the words of the so serious and up his own arse Christopher.

It is soon apparent that ‘Flowers in the Attic’ was not the whole story and that maladroit traits ran (and continue to run) in the Foxworth line and that secrets and lies still throng like worms in compost. This was gripping. Kristin has needy insecurity and the diary is filled with dead ideas, mouldy regret, a miserably intolerant grandmother, Cathy cannot keep an emotion in, the twins continue their non-characterization and the swivel eyed Corinne is the least likeable bint consumed by avarice who ever existed. The hysterical tragedy is gripping and I can’t wait to read the subsequent books ’Echoes of Dollanganger’ and ’Secret Brother’. This was very good.

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
This 2008 novel is the 3rd in the ’Mercy Thompson’ saga. It has a tarty cover of an over-tattooed Mercy. This saga does not soar, it shrivels. This book is a bloated production about a skinwalker, werewolves, vampires and now the famished concept of the fae. Mercy commits acts of bourgeois anarchy, the werewolf Adam is all lumpy oppressive intense ferocity and his daughter Jesse is all precocity and cute showing off.

This chronically moribund tale was unencumbered by originality. It was an empty tasteless thing without jeopardy, frission or thrill. It was all emotionless, predictable outcomes and tropes. This book is stripped of all character and is full of terrible clichés. Adam feigns bewilderment over womenfolk being overly sensitive and over-reacting to his irrationality and violence. This book has no integrity. A bad thing happens to Mercy and it is all about Adam’s reaction. There is no thundering denouement, just slush, sentimental piffle and a de-legitimisation of Mercy’s agency.

Best Lines:
“We are noting to them. Until Christianity and good steel came along, we were short-lived playthings with a tendency to breed too past.”

“So why haven’t they killed us?”

Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets edited by David Thomas Moore, part 1
An anthology of Holmes tales across time and space does exactly what it says on the tin.

A Scandal In Hobohemia
Holmes runs a travelling show in 1930s America. Two Pinkerton agents detect a whisper of scandal and investigate. This is okay sagacity and bears a passing resemblance to the TV show ‘Carnival’.

Black Alice
Holmes and Watson are 17th century examinants looking into a witchcraft case. Excellent.

Best Line:
“You country people and your witches.”

The Adventure of the Speckled Bandana
In 1970s America, Holmes and Watson look into an audacious waxwork theft. This was an arbitrary tale with an ending of vicarious indulgence.

Best Line:
He greeted me in his habitual offhand way, by tossing a plastic specimen bag at me.”

The Rich Man’s Hand
In South Africa, Watson worries about Holmes’ manner of presentation and his contemptuous incomprehension of social norms. But then they get distracted by the horrible epithets and immorality of a protean witch. This was okay.

Best Line:
“A new diversion to prevent another crack-induced manic episode.”

The Lantern Men
Australian builders Holmes and Watson uncover a creepy secret in an old dark house in a town with brutal terms and apologists. This was a terror inducing look at a non-honey glazed hinterland. This was very good.

Best Lines:
“They were guilt on legs.”

“His disinterest in the stupid.”
Tags: book review, flowers in the attic

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