Friday, January 4, 2008

Pandora's Daughter

I’ve started the new year by reading meaningless fluff. I fancy myself a serious reader, but I’m also not a book snob and enjoy an occasional dose of popular fiction. One author I always read is Iris Johansen, so I looked forward to her latest release: Pandora’s Daughter.

Perhaps it’s time for me to find another popular author to follow. I became a Johansen fan because she creates a nice blend of mystery, thriller, and romance. And her novel The Face of Deception scared the pants off me (fortunately, not literally).

I’ve noticed in her last few books, though, Johansen has started focusing less on “realistic” mysteries and more on the paranormal. For example, Megan Blair, the heroine of Pandora’s, is a “Listener.”

Even after finishing the novel, I’m a bit unclear about what a Listener is. All I know is the book contains several confusing passages as Megan hears voices. I read popular fiction because it’s brain candy, and Pandora’s breaks the rules with bewildering sections.

I must be more of a traditionalist than I imagined because I prefer my romantic thrillers to be romantic thrillers and my sci-fi to be sci-fi (and I deliberately avoid sci-fi at almost all costs). I know Johansen has a history of including fantastic elements in both her romances and mysteries, but I long for the days of Eve Duncan and her forensic anthropology.

As a side note, the photo of Johansen on Pandora’s dust jacket is so fabulous it makes the book almost worth checking out (I tried, unsuccessfully, to find the picture online).

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