May 27 2006
Dear Ms. Murphy,
I’ve had a copy of your first book “Urban Shaman” lying around the house for a while now but just never had gotten to it. Then I got my hands on a copy of your new Jo Walker series book “Thunderbird Falls” without realizing it was a sequel. Silly me. Well, I was all set to go back and read the first book since I get twitchy if I read books out of order but my blogging partner Jane urged me to read TF first. Turns out she just wanted to do an experiment on me to see if this book will stand alone or if we’d get hoards of your fans descending on us.
Well, I can tell Jane that I think TF stands alone very nicely. You give us enough detail about the characters and incidents of US to get new readers up to speed without bogging this story down. And I don’t think returning fans will be impatiently tapping their toes waiting to get back to the new stuff. Well done.
I was immediately sucked into this urban fantasy and didn’t want to stop to sleep or eat until I’d gotten to the end. I love heroines like Joanne Walker. She’s intelligent though not always smart, funny without going overboard with wisecracking comments or actions and she’s not so beautiful she makes my teeth hurt. She’s got her vulnerabilities but she doesn’t agonize over them. Plus she drives a snazzy restored 1969 Mustang. My brother in law spent 2 years and tons of money restoring a 1964 ½ Mustang (cherry red, convertible) so I know how great these cars look.
I thought you handled her reluctance to embrace her Shamanic abilities believably. It would be a huge change in someone’s life and something to approach cautiously. And I admire how you introduced the villains without raising a red flag and all but screaming, “Here’s a bad guy!” I had my doubts about them but not enough for me to be sure of them and unsure of other characters. I like to be kept guessing.
I do wonder where you get your inspiration for Jo’s trips to the Astral Plane and the Underworld. I’ve never taken mind altering substances but after reading some of these scenes, I think I know what dropping acid must be like. Very inventive writing, I must say!
I liked Jo’s interactions with Coyote who acts just as tricky as he should. Will she learn more about her spirit animals in future books?
I do have some niggles though. It sure seems like a lot of people know about Jo’s special abilities. I guess I like this better than the way no one ever connects Clark Kent to Superman but would this many people be able to keep their mouths shut? And I know this is a fantasy book but if I lived in a city that had just experienced a 6.2 earthquake, began seeing or having friends see bizarre creatures roaming the streets and then watched a battle over the skies between two mythological beings, I think I’d be a bit more freaked out than the citizens of Seattle in this book appear to be. But maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, good job with Thunderbird Falls and B for you.