Share This

Dear Thursday: FROM CAPE TOWN WITH LOVE [Book 15 of 2010]

Okay, I know that I haven’t been great about keeping up with my book-a-week pledge, but I’ve reset and am totally fixing to catch up before 32 CANDLES  comes out. That all excused, here are my thoughts on FROM CAPE TOWN WITH LOVE by Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due, and (fellow CMU-grad) Blair Underwood.

Why I Decided To Read It: Ooh yay, my first full disclosure, since full disclosure rules were introduced: I was sent an ARC, and Tananarive is on my Top Ten Writers of All Time list, so I was on board to read.

What It’s About: In his third outing, bodyguard/actor/detective, Tennyson Hardwick, is charged with protecting the adopted South African child of an A-list movie star and then must find her when she is kidnapped by the South African mafia.

What Makes It Different: You know how black actors are always saying that they want to be the black James Bond, but we’re never going to see a movie like that, because Hollywood is so slow to change its ways? This is kind of like the novelization of that movie.

What I Loved: Great settings, and for a nerd like me, a fascinating introduction to Los Angeles’s popular kids. I also loved Tennyson’s cranky retired-cop father.

What I Didn’t Like: Tennyson is a ridiculous slut. At one point, he’s beating himself up with his urgency to save the kidnapped two-year-old — but then stops to have rather complicated sex a few pages later. Oohkay…

Writing Lessons Learned:

Setting, Setting, Setting. I always find books set in Los Angeles fascinating, because unlike New York stories (which can basically be broken down along class lines), every author seems to have a different version of Los Angeles. I loved that Tennyson had to deal with solving a kidnapping case AND making his call time for a new Spike Lee film. Also, I had no desire to visit South Africa ere reading this, but CAPE TOWN made me want to go on a wine tasting trip there. No, I’m not kidding. Read the first 50 pages, and you’ll see why.

Food as reward. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but it seemed to me that we didn’t really see Tennyson eat until a key scene, after he’s been through a ton. And I could almost taste the In-and-Out burger that he received as his “reward,” it felt so deserved and really made me think about how to write food in a way that wasn’t just food p*rn. On the downside, though, I’ve been obsessed with acquiring an In-and-Out burger  ever since I finished CAPE TOWN, and I’m trying to lose ten more pounds before the 32 CANDLES book launch. Not cool. Not cool at all.

Embrace new technology. I haven’t had the chance to download the Vook of this novel, but I’m impressed that these authors early adopted the Vook and having read the unabridged book, I can’t wait to see how they’ve adapted it to encompass a shorter text with video.

To Whom Would I Recommend This Book: James Bond Fans, Anyone Who Has Been Or Wants To Go To South Africa, Mystery Lovers, Adoptees, Actors, and Bodyguards, Anyone’s Who’s Looking To Try Out The Newish Vook Technology.

Click on the cover pic to buy the book!