East of Peculiar
East Of Peculiar is a likable book. I enjoyed it whenever I picked it up to read it, but I was able to lay it down easily and never had that go-away-I’m-reading!! spell that comes with the best books.
Hannah Garvey is sick and tired of her fast-track corporate job, so one day she quits. A client of the firm for whom Hannah had done an ad campaign gives her the job of resident manager for Valhalla Springs, a retirement community in the Ozarks. So Hannah sells all her stuff and then it’s goodbye Chicago, hello Valhalla.
Valhalla is a very nice retirement community which is filled with the usual cast of geriatric characters. For the most part, these supporting characters were funny and endearing and blessedly free of “ain’t I just the cutest old codger” types. I’d especially like to mention Delbert – wearer of the oddest color combinations known to man and handyman-wannabe.
As soon as Hannah moves in, one of the residents is found murdered in her house. Then a maintenance man who worked at Valhalla is also found murdered. These murders (plus a speeding ticket) put Hannah in the company of Sheriff David Hendrickson.
The mystery in this book is intriguing enough and it is the main focus of East Of Peculiar. The relationship between Hannah and David, smolders all through the book, but does not catch fire until almost the very last page. Actually, I would not call this a romance novel – it’s more of a comedy/mystery novel with just a touch of romance.
Hannah and David were both very nice characters. They are not tortured and sullen. They may worry a bit, but they don’t brood and anguish. Hannah and David both have had troubles in their pasts, but neither of them dwell on their problems. They don’t dismiss their pasts, but they don’t allow their pasts to define their present lives either. This is a nice departure from too tortured, too brooding characters.
East Of Peculiar does has a few quirks that were mildly annoying, though. The sheriff’s deputies were always using 10-codes. 10-4, 10-7, 10-whatever. Since I don’t know the code, I was lost when they were talking. Also, there were not a lot of dialogue tags – the “he said” and “she said” that help the reader follow long conversations. I got lost a couple of times there as well.
In March of 2001, Suzann Ledbetter will publish a sequel to East Of Peculiar called South Of Sanity. I will probably check this out to see how the relationship between Hannah and David is progressing. I recommend East Of Peculiar to fans of comic mysteries. While it didn’t totally engage me, it still was a nice little book.