February 6th, 2004



is the name of a suspense/romance/mystery novel by Shari Shattuck, which I just finished reading and enjoying. (Yes, it is a bit of a genre-bender, and it is apparently intended as the start of a series.)

There's a funny kind of summary about it here:

Shari Shattuck is a fairly well known actress. She wasn't that well known to me, since I didn't recognize her name when I picked the book off the library shelf, although I thought the name sounded vaguely familiar. Books by actors are often assisted by ghostwriters, but I didn't see any rumors to this effect on the net, so I'll assume she wrote it until told otherwise.

One interesting thing about this book is that it is in favor of citizens' carrying guns. It starts off with the story's heroine, Cally Wilde, blowing away a young man who is trying to kill her. While she is a bit shaken by the experience, she never really doubts she did the right thing by packing heat, even though she was breaking the law by doing so. But this is just an incidental point that comes up and departs - the author is not particularly interested in the second amendment, is not making a point, is merely expressing her character's point of view. The fact that the author did not highlight it either way makes me think that gun control is really hurting across the nation. When I read reviews by women who read it (and yes, the target audience is women), they mention the book's suspense and sexiness, not the gun issue.

The title, Loaded, is not mostly about her loaded gun, which is only prominent in the beginning of the story. She is loaded as in rich, rich, rich, and her luxurious lifestyle is lovingly featured in the story. Interestingly, again, she does not feel guilty about having a lot of money, even though she inherited it. She works at taking care of her dead daddy's successful companies, and she seems to have no moral qualms about being rich. I found this pleasant.

The center of the story is the heroine's budding and sizzling romance with an LAPD detective who is perfectly tough, but not at all gritty. In him she meets a man who she cannot push around with her looks or her money, and she falls for him. He seemed to me like he had strong marks of being a female fantasy who was lacking in some of the usual male traits, but he is straightforwardly sketched. It's always a bit strange for me to read a book so clearly aimed at women; it feels a bit like eavesdropping.

By the way, the style in general is straightforwardly sketchy, with lots of punchy lines. It is not loaded with accomplished descriptive writing. It is closer to the style of hardboiled detective writing than anything else.

The plot was pretty good as mysteries go. I didn't carefully analyze it for flaws, but it kept me guessing, and at the end it seemed to wrap up its loose ends fairly well. Actually, it tricked me for quite a while.

Silly poem of the day:

Eavesdroppers learn
Just why their ears burn.

I'm not sure how these silly poems started, but they are reminding me of grooks.
(Not as good as grooks, I expect, but reminiscent of them.) You can read about grooks at: