Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)

So I turned in the essay yesterday, and now I have nothing hanging over my head as far as deadlines are concerned, which is kind of lovely. Oh, sure, there are edits and revisions that are bound to come; and then page proofs and all of that, but this is the first time Ive not had a deadline in I don’t know how long. Seriously. I am visiting my family this week preparatory to doing Murder in the Magic City this weekend in Birmingham and Wetumpka, so I may or may not be around much until I am safely back in New Orleans Sunday evening.

The drive took about eleven hours–maybe about ten minutes over, and considering that Google Maps said the drive would take eleven and a half hours, I think I made great time, stopping a total of three times (twice for gas, once to eat). The car handles wonderfully, and the ride is very smooth as well. All in all, I am very pleased with my purchase–which, given how much I spent (and will spend) on it, is an enormous relief. It would be terrible to spend that kind of money on something and not like it, you know?

As I was packing and going through my bookcase, looking for books to bring along to read on the trip, I realized, much to my shock, that my bookcase contained a Laura Lippman novel I hadn’t read; it must have come out in a year when I was judging a book award or something, and so it went onto the shelf and by the time I was able to read again, she must have published another book–or something like that. It is inexplicable to me, otherwise. But what a find! Here I was thinking I was going to have do without a new Lippman to read until 2018.

They throw him out when he falls off the barstool. Although it wasn’t a fall, exactly, he only stumbled a bit coming back from the bathroom and lurched against the bar, yet they said he had to leave because he was drunk. He finds that hilarious. He’s too drunk to be in a bar. He makes a joke about a fall from grace. At least, he thinks he does. Maybe the joke was one of those things that stays in his head, for his personal amusement. For a long time, for fucking forever, Gordon’s mind has been split by a thick, dark line, a line that divides and defines his life as well. What stays in, what is allowed out. But when he drinks, the line gets a little fuzzy.

Which might be why he drinks. Drank. Drinks. No, drank. He’s done. Again. One night, one slip. He didn’t even enjoy it that much.

“You driving?” the bartender asks, piloting him to the door, his arm firm yet kind around Gordon’s waist.

Laura Lippman is one of those authors who never disappoints. I always say that the best authors are the ones who write books that make me think, make me reevaluate how I write and create, and make me want to do better. One of the reasons I decided to go off contract and no longer have deadlines was a sense that I was rushing too much; that my work might be better if I wasn’t pressured to do it in a set amount of time, and that I could explore doing different things if I had more time to polish and rewrite and think about the book at hand; and part of the reason I think that way is because of reading amazing writers like Lippman.

The Most Dangerous Thing is a fine novel, and while there is a core crime at the heart of the book, Lippman uses that crime to explore her characters, and how that crime affects and changes the course of their lives, how they interact with each other and how people can become locked into perceptions, not only of themselves but of other people–and how reality can be so very different from what you perceive it to be.

HIGHLY recommended.

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