Monday, September 8, 2008

Guest Blog--Grandmother Spider

I am in the middle of reading a Maeve Binchy novel and part of the way through a biography. Both are interesting, but the other night at bedtime, I picked up Grandmother Spider just to help me relax and go to sleep. I did eventually fall asleep, but the next day, I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it. Now I am back looking at the other two books and thinking about needing to read them so they can go back to the library. At the moment, it is tempting to simply ignore both.

James D. Doss has again mixed mysticism and superstition with my idea of reality to make another page-turning mystery. The story begins with Aunt Daisy’s warning to nine-year-old Sarah when she kills a spider. Unless she immediately proclaims that it was a Navajo who killed the spider, Grandmother Spider will come looking for her and seek revenge. And Grandmother Spider is no ordinary arachnid. She is huge and can bite off the head of a cow.

That very night Sarah and Daisy are disturbed by a coyote’s howls. When Daisy takes her shotgun to scare off the animal, both she and Sarah see a huge, dark body moving across the sky. And it looks as if a screaming man is being clutched in one of the many arms of the monster.

The next morning two cars are found abandoned by the lake, and there is no sign of their owners. It doesn’t take long for rumors to spread across the Ute Reservation and beyond about the mysterious creature seen in the sky linked with the disappearance of the two men. One of the missing men turns out to be a scientist working on top secret work for the USAF.

Just when I thought that I had it figured out, Doss threw a curve ball, and I felt completely out of the game. I was puzzled by a death and the appearance of a gun-totting security force.

Fortunately, though, Charlie Moon never looses his grip on reality or his sense of humor. He scoffs at the rumors of a monster or Grandmother Spider seeking revenge. When Moon’s best friend and ‘pardner’ Scott Parris tells him, “You are the luckiest policeman I ever heard of,” Moon replies, “I’d rather be lucky than smart.” With a little luck and a lot of intelligence, the two policemen are able to solve the mystery.

I still haven’t decided, though, what to do about the puzzle in my life. What to read next?

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