Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Mystery of Grace

The Mystery of GraceOn the Day of the Dead, the Solona Music Hall is jumping.  That's where Altagracia Quintero meets John Burns, just two weeks too late.

Altagracia – her friends call her Grace – has a tattoo of Nuestra Señora de Altagracia on her shoulder, she's got a Ford Motor Company tattoo running down her leg, and she has grease worked so deep into her hands that it'll never wash out.  Grace works at Sanchez Motorworks, customizing hot rods.  Finding the line in a classic car is her calling. 
Now Grace has to find the line in her own life.  A few blocks around the Alverson Arms is all her world -- from the little grocery store where she buys beans, tamales, and cigarettes (“cigarettes can kill you,” they tell her, but she smokes them anyway) to the record shop, to the library where Henry, a black man confined to a wheelchair, researches the mystery of life in death – but she’s got unfinished business keeping her close to home. 
Grace loves John, and John loves her, and that would be wonderful, except that John, like Grace, has unfinished business – he’s haunted by the childhood death of his younger brother.  He's never stopped feeling responsible. Like Grace in her way, John is an artist, and before their relationship can find its resolution, the two of them will have to teach each other about life and love, about hot rods and Elvis Presley, and about why it's necessary to let some things go.

This was an extremely slow moving book.  In fact, even though it was less than 300 pages, it felt like twice that.  There were times when I had to skim, because the story was just plodding along and was not even a little interesting.  There were interesting parts in the book, and the story idea itself was good, but the execution wasn't good at all.

The author had a very defined idea about who Grace was--she is tattooed, she likes to fix cars, she likes rockabilly music.  That's about it, and it's repeated over and over again throughout the book.  And then when John meets and falls in love with her, he gets interested in the same thing, and we hear a lot about that too, even though it's really not very interesting.

Speaking of John, the romance between Grace and John had so little to do with anything I'm not sure why it was included.  Actually, most of the story had little to do with anything else in the story.  I couldn't quite ever figure out what the point was.  It's definitely not something I'd recommend unless you're a big fan of Charles de Lint.

Book Details
Author: Charles de Lint
Genre: Urban fantasy
Page Count: 269 (but felt much longer)
Publishing Info: March 2009 by Tor
Why I Read It: needed a book with the word "mystery" in the title
Grade: D+
Cover Thoughts: The cover is definitely the best thing about the book.  It's beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard a few people say this book was a slow moving one. I thought it sounded interesting and am still curious about it, but with all the books I have here I think I'll wait on it for a while. :) Thank you for the honest review.