Saturday, December 22, 2018

Jane Tesh

Jane Tesh is a retired media specialist and pianist for the Andy Griffith Playhouse in Mt. Airy, NC, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Series, A Case of Imagination, A Hard Bargain, A Little Learning, A Bad Reputation, and Evil Turns, featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather. Stolen Hearts is the first in the Grace Street Mystery Series, featuring PI David Randall, his psychic friend, Camden, Randall’s love interest, Kary Ingram, and Cam’s career-driven girlfriend, Ellin Belton, as well as an ever-changing assortment of Cam’s tenants. Mixed Signals is the second in the series, followed by Now You See It, Just You Wait, Baby, Take a Bow, and Death by Dragonfly.

Recently I asked Tesh about what she was reading. Her reply:
I always enjoy books with offbeat humor, especially if they contain supernatural elements, so I was pleased to I discover Richard Kadrey’s The Everything Box and its sequel, The Wrong Dead Guy. Coop is a thief who specializes in stealing magical objects mainly because he is immune to magic. When a mysterious client hires him to steal an equally mysterious box, Coop finds himself involved with the quirky Department of Peculiar Sciences, a top secret government force that polices anything out of the ordinary. Along with his partners in crime, Giselle, who can make everyone around her invisible, and Morty, whose talent allows him to open any lock just by looking at it, Coop realizes there’s more to this box than anyone will tell him. It may very well be a doomsday device that will end the world.

Coop’s adventures continue in The Wrong Dead Guy when he and his friends are assigned to steal the sarcophagus of the Egyptian mummy, Harkhuf, a powerful wizard. Their mission is successful, but the sarcophagus is empty. Harkhuf has come to life and escaped, and unless he’s found, again the world will end. There’s lots more going on in this story, including used car salesmen, fortune tellers, undead museum workers, animal rights activists, and clowns.

These books are lively and very inventive with plenty of impossible situations and bantering dialog. I hope Kadrey plans to write many more in this series.
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One of the best perks about being a children’s librarian is getting to read wonderful fantasy stories. Since the success of Harry Potter, many authors have set their books in magical schools. A delightful example is Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow.

Morrigan is a young girl who believes she is cursed. Her awful family reminds her of this constantly, and everyone in her dreary town of Jackalfax is afraid of her. So Morrigan isn’t expecting anyone to take her on as an apprentice during Bid Day, the time when all the children are chosen by members of the town for their future occupations. She is amazed when Jupiter North of the Wundrous Society presents a bid. The Wundrous Society is a mysterious and exclusive magical society, and Jupiter North, her new mentor, whisks her away to Nevermoor, the most amazing and wonderful place Morrigan has ever seen. She now has a home in Jupiter’s Hotel Deucalion, new friends, and new problems. For everyone at the Wundrous Society school has a magical talent, and Morrigan has none.

Young readers will identify with Morrigan’s struggles to fit in and to find her true self. Older readers, like me, will enjoy the highly imaginative world of Nevermoor, the charming characters, and the fast-paced plot. Morrigan’s adventures continue in Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow. Morrigan discovers her talent, and it’s not something she wants. Something evil wants it, however, and will do anything to control her and her new power.
Learn more about the book and author at Jane Tesh's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jane Tesh and Winkie.

The Page 69 Test: Death by Dragonfly.

--Marshal Zeringue