Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sometimes corpses have familiar faces

Fiction writer and Pulitzer prize winning journalist Edna Buchanan continues to strike gold with her best selling novel The Corpse had a Familiar Face.

Originally published in 1987, Edna Buchanan ruthlessly grabs readers by the wrist and drags them down the rabbit hole that is the life of a news reporter on the police and crime beat, like no one else can.

Throught the course of this journey readers will realize three very important truths:

#1 - Finding your dream job is often just a matter of looking for it. Early in the book Edna talks extensively about her passion for telling stories. As the book progresses she talks about her move to Miami and how she managed to turn the personal escape of a creative writing class into a lifelong career.

#2 - Sex is the bane of human existance. "Sex gets people killed, put in jail, beaten up, bankrupted, and disgraced, to say nothing of ruined -- personally, politically, and professionally." (pg. 84)

#3 - No matter how many times they screw up, the judge is still more likely to rule in favor of the mother. (pg. 316-317) Sam, an almost three and a half year old, had "swallowed bleach, overdosed on pills, escaped from his room when it mysteriously burst into flames so intense that they shattered windows, and turned blue and stopped breathing, his air cut off by a plastic laundry bag found over his head" before drowning in a mere seven inches of bathwater. His father sought custody, and the judge ruled against him in spite of all of this, and the fact that the mother's first child died in the same squalid drowning.

At a glance:

Who: Edna Buchanan

How: The Corpse Had a Familiar Face published by Pocket Books

When: 1987 and revised and updated in 2004

Why: Because it's just damn fun to read.

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