What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George: I love Elizabeth George and the premise of this book is interesting -- it's the story of the life of a boy, Joel, who killed a character in an earlier book, up to the point where he commits the murder. The problem is it's boring! This is my second major mystery writer to disappoint me in as many months; I was also not fond of P. D. James' The Murder Room. Elizabeth George is capable of telling a compelling story -- of getting the reader interested in the characters. Why oh why didn't she do that here? Because she is more interested in the social problems brought up in the book (poverty, racism, lack of parental skills, overburdened schools, autism, drugs, AIDS) than she is in the story -- that's why. If she'd displayed as much interest in telling the tale as she does in discussing societal issues, What Came Before He Shot Her could have been a powerful book instead of one that just falls flat.
In my last post I mentioned needing alone time. In Dean Koontz's Brother Odd, the main character goes to a monastery to spend some time in reflection. There is a convent just down the street from me that allows lay people to do this. I'm thinking about looking into their program; I need to get away from the distractions in my life at least for a short time.