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As clues are revealed, Darva's husband seems to be the logic suspect. But his bitter family also provides is also suspicious. Further, Darva's aunt, Miss Eleanore, arrives in town with her accusations. Contradictory reports of Darva's marriage add to the confusion as friends report that Darva and husband Donald were the perfect couple, yet family claims that they were always fighting and didn't sleep together. Donald was contesting his brother's will because it was changed during the last few months of Beau Richmond's life. Donald says he brother was stable enough to make out a new will that changed his heir from being his brother to being his new wife. Millions are at stake.
In addition to a touchy investigation, Sharyn finds herself confronting a host of other problems. District Attorney Jack Winter is determined to express his romantic interest and doesn't hesitate to use political machinations for his own purposes. She also must find a date to attend her mother's engagement party, although her mother's marrying Senator Caison Talbot, a man Sharyn neither likes nor trusts. Her deputies seem to be fighting affairs of the heart that leave her short staffed. Further, because she doesn't see herself or her job as desirable, she's clueless in realizing her medical examiner is interested. To top it off, the dry cleaners dyed her uniforms blue.
Authors Joyce and Jim Lavene combine their creative efforts in UNTIL OUR LAST EMBRACE. A touch of levity gives this mystery punch, making it a fast, fun read. Staunchly independent, and chronically curious, Sharyn Howard is a believable, determined heroine blind to her own possible love interests. Further, the conclusion UNTIL OUR LAST EMBRACE proves to be powerful and satisfying even as it keeps the reader guessing until the end. As each book in the series gets even better, you have to constantly remind yourself that Sharyn and the town of Diamond Springs are a work of fiction. Very highly recommended.
It will grab the reader's attention quickly and hold onto it through out the book and is well written.
Yes, this one is worth you money!
Tracy Eastgate Reviewer
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[By Joyce Carol Oates:] Introduction; [by H.P. Lovecraft:] The Outsider; The Music of Erich Zann; The Rats in the Walls; The Shunned House; The Call of Cthulhu; The Colour out of Space; The Dunwich Horror; At the Mountains of Madness; The Shadow over Innsmouth; The Shadow out of Time
This is an excellent introductory selection of short fiction -- Lovecraft didn't write any other kind -- by one of the major figures in the history of what is nowadays called horror fiction (though a very good case can be made that, as with his idol Poe, Lovecraft belongs among the ranks of literary greats, period). Still, there are comparably fine collections available, e.g. THE CALL OF CTHULHU AND OTHER WEIRD TALES, THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP AND OTHER WEIRD TALES (both of which, unlike the collection being reviewed here, have endnotes), THE DUNWICH HORROR AND OTHERS, and AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS AND OTHER NOVELS.
What makes this particular collection a marketing novelty -- indeed, why it was ever published in the first place -- is that it's edited and introduced by a well-established, much-respected mainstream literary fiction writer, namely Oates. The publisher's hope may have been that some of those who wouldn't otherwise consider reading an oldtime pulp horror writer like Lovecraft will finally give him a try, what with Oates's more widely intellectually respected name attached. As one who believes Lovecraft deserves a much higher rank in the proverbial literary pantheon than the literary establishment generally accords him, I have no complaint about trying that approach.
But marketing strategy aside, the main reason a prospective buyer should consider choosing this particular collection is the moderate-length introductory essay by Oates, since the fiction selections are readily available elsewhere. The question, in other words, is: How valuable is her essay?
Somewhat. It's a repackaging of her review of S.T. Joshi's LOVECRAFT: A LIFE that she wrote some years back for THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS. In it, she makes some sophisticated observations about Lovecraft's psyche, literary techniques, and parallels with various great mainstream American writers: Little that serious-minded Lovecraft readers don't already know, but perhaps have never before seen put so well.
Oates's essay, for those who care to do a search, can be found on her own site.
The stories provided by this selction are very dark, true gothic horror stories which won't disappoint any fan of the genre. Reading Lovecraft's language is like looking at a painting by Van Gogh or Da Vinci - overwhelming!
Lovecraft's words are very sensitive for the story they tell, very true to the heart of the darkness within, as haunting as seeing a ghost by yourself.
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Overall I found the essays well written, and the book to be easy to read. This book makes for some lightweight reading, short and simple, but without much substance. Overall, I don't recommend it.