15 December 2009

Book Banter -- Out at Night

Title: Out at Night

Author: Susan Arnout Smith

Genre: mystery/thriller

Length: 293 pages

Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Authors on the Web review copy

Plot Basics: Crime tech Grace Descano is called into a hotbed case by her FBI agent uncle -- uncovering the truth about the brutal murder of a professor in a field of genetically modified soybeans -- right before a big agriculture conference. Protestors abound and tempers are high about the modified seeds, leading to plenty of suspects, even within Grace's own family. As as radical environmental group plans a major act of terrorism, only Grace can stop it and save thousands of lives.

Banter Points: The whole premise of this book -- genetically modified food and ecoterrorism -- was what kept Word Nerd reading. It was clear that Smith had done her homework on this topic, but not to the point of overwhelming readers with science. She put enough info to make it more than a little creepy to think about what could be (or is) going on in the food industry.

Bummer Points: This book needed another pass by a copy editor. The number of typos that made it through was astounding, from characters names being misspelled to many sets of missing quotation marks. Also, this is a sequel and Word Nerd felt like there was a lot about Grace Descano that she should have known from book one and didn't. Word Nerd didn't really like Grace, as a character, because she let the people in her life walk all over her. Smith tried to make her a 3D character with a subplot involving her daughter and her ex-guy (never clear if they were married or not), but it just took away from the good thriller plot and made Grace seem less strong as a character.

Word Nerd Recommendation: It was an OK read, but she's not going into the library stacks to find the first one.

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