Wendy's Reviews > Hiss of Death

Hiss of Death by Rita Mae Brown
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's review
Apr 13, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: did-not-finish
Read from April 12 to 13, 2011

I didn't finish this book and let me tell you why. After two chapters I remembered why I hadn't finished the last Mrs. Murphy book either: the author's insistence of putting her opinions about government and politics and all kinds of other issues into the mouths and minds of her characters.

Here's the thing, I don't necessarily disagree with Brown's opinions on global climate change, entitlement reform, or gay rights, but this book series isn't the place to voice them. I've been reading these books for years and had read the previous seventeen to much delight (except for that one where the main characters went on vacation, that just didn't work).

Harry has always been a frugal character. Rita Mae Brown used to paint that characterization well by having Harry talk (either out loud or internally) about how she loves her old truck and why, despite looking longingly at a newer fancier model someone else has, that she won't spend the money because the old truck is fine. But now Harry's internal thoughts go more like "the average American household has fifteen thousand dollars of credit card debt. I guess I'm not as as average an American as I thought." Hello, heavy-handed anyone?!

This isn't limited to Harry. There are political talking point shoved inelegantly into conversations and thoughts every couple of pages and the result is jarring.

If Brown wants to voice her opinions about these issues, she would be better served to write a non-fiction book on the subjects or sound-off in a blog format. Trying to preach via a mystery series where some of the main characters are cats and dogs who talk amongst themselves to solve crimes is very misguided and a disservice to her readers.
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03/08 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Vicki (new)

Vicki G You must not like ANY books then, b/c I've never READ a book where the author isn't putting her opinion into the book.
The last book I read by Tabitha King had her opinions inserted into the character's mouths-and they were unrealistic replies for the context of the situation. That's why I discarded the novel halfway through, refusing to read another word.
That's just one of about a thousand examples from a thousand different people. Poul Anderson puts his views in his books too.
I can't find anyone who DOESN'T do it. That's why I say the book doesn't resonate with me and try to judge it by the mechanics of writing. Based on what I KNOW of the particulars of writing a novel, anyway.
I'm a paramedic not a writer, but I have 7 college credits in creative and magazine writing.

Wendy Vicki wrote: "You must not like ANY books then, b/c I've never READ a book where the author isn't putting her opinion into the book.
The last book I read by Tabitha King had her opinions inserted into the charac..."

Way to paint with a broad brush, I've always been a voracious reader, my point is that the way that this author has started expressing her opinions has become out-of-character from her previous 15 novels. I gave a clear example of how she used to talk about a character being frugal and now she's just beating people over the head with talking points from a cable news show instead.

message 3: by Vicki (new)

Vicki G I wasn't trying to make a point. I was just relating my own experience, and that's all I was doing. Just b/c it seems like everyone else online is trying to talk down from some spiritual hilltop doesn't mean I'm one of them. There are two good reason for NOT doing that: One, I know everybody isn't going to think like I do and Two, I think it would be a boring world if they did.
When I talk about personal experiences, there's no hidden agenda, mainly b/c I wouldn't know how to hide an agenda anyway. I'm not good enough at essay writing to slyly carry a hidden message in my writing, and I have no interest in it, b/c I hate when people do it to me.

Mary I'm afraid I agree with you. I've noticed this tendency more and more in her recent books and it's about to make me give up on her too. That said, I will give this a try and see if I can ignore her preachifing.(less)

message 5: by Vicki (new)

Vicki G For the record, I also quit reading her books but not for the same reason. It was similar but not exactly the same.
Something about the books changed after the woman married Fair Harrison that turned me off, so I stopped reading them.

Heidi I finished this book as I wanted to know the ending but it was difficult. I wish she would stick to the story. ms brown can and used to express here view points through the characters with out preaching. I believe the sadly was my last sneaky pie book.

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