book review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain is the story of one family, as told through their dog.  I wonder if Garth Stein read Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones, which is a book also told by a dog.  In the Art of Racing in the Rain, the dog, Enzo, is first adopted by his owner, Denny.  Denny then meets and marries Eve and they have a daughter, Zoe.

The best part of the book is, of course, that it is told from Enzo’s perspective.  Enzo is a unique dog who believes in an Australian legend that says that dogs will become human in their next life.  Enzo would love to become human so that he could freely communicate with his family.  While his family is away during the day, he watches television shows and old car races.

He learned to love racing through his owner, Denny.  From Denny, Enzo learns tips about race car driving.  Many people can drive when the weather is nice, but rain makes the roads slicker, which makes driving more difficult.  Being able to handle your car in the rain well is a crucial trait for great race car drivers.

The metaphor, of course, ties into navigating through life.  When the roads are dry, it’s pretty easy because life is going your way and you’re just coasting along.  The true test is when the roads are slippery and you could spin out at any moment.  How do you handle yourself?  Enzo helps his family through their rainy driving with his patient, loyal love.

I don’t want to give too much more away, but I would definitely recommend the book … and it reminded me that I need to write up a review for Dogsbody, too.

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book review: Poisonfeather by Matthew FitzSimmons

Poisonfeather is book 2 in the Gibson Vaughn series by Matthew FitzSimmons.  In other books like this (Jack Reacher books, Lucas Davenport books, etc.), you don’t have to read the other books in the series to understand what’s going on in this book.  While that is somewhat true of this book, there are so many allusions to what happened in Book 1 that it gets annoying if you haven’t read it.  Actually, most of the first chapters are about Gibson dealing with what happened in Book 1.  Since I hadn’t read Book 1, it was somewhat of a slow start, but once the story got going, the book was interesting.

Poisonfeather is about a billionaire investor who cheated many people and was sent to jail for 8 years.  Many people lost their life savings by investing with him.  Just before his release, he did an interview for a magazine in which he hinted that he had a lot of money stashed away somewhere.  This, of course, brought many people out of the woodwork who wanted to get a piece of the money.

Gibson gets drawn into the mess because he wants to repay a judge who lost everything by investing with the crook.  Gibson pairs up with an ex-con and a girl named Lea who is out for revenge.

I wish that the author had spent more time on the ending because it felt like there were a lot of loose plot strings.  Maybe it’s supposed to be a cliffhanger for book 3?  I hate waiting, which is why I avoid reading series books until the author has completed writing the series.

Look at the Patrick Rothfuss books.  I’ve been waiting for something like 3 years for Book 3 to come out!

I’ll have to go back to read Book 1 so that I know what happened with the former VP and his wife. If you like the Jack Reacher and the Lucas Davenport books, the Gibson Vaughn books are similar.

Side note: the author made a note that writing the second book was harder than the first book because there were so many expectations.  With the first book, there weren’t any deadlines, but with the second book, there were deadlines and more pressure.  This made me smile because there would be less pressure (from readers) if the author didn’t write cliffhanger endings.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.