Thursday, November 28, 2013

A quick review: Artful Dodging

I am a die hard book junkie.  There is no cure, not that I would ever want one. For as long as I can remember, I've always been an avid reader.  While occasionally I'll dip my toe into unfamiliar subject matter, I'm quick to grab a thriller or mystery.  It's not unusual for me to get caught up in a series or want to read other works by an author I enjoy. 

When trying a new author, I'll give it an honest read. But if they haven't caught my interest within the first twenty pages, I may dump the book. Occasionally, I may find the setting, dialogue or characters unappealing and will catch myself not paying attention.

This was not the case with "Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders" by M.S. Spencer.  Having read one of Spencer's other works recently, I was looking forward to this one.  Spencer weaves a good story, with an abundance of remarkable characters. The story takes place in Virginia, with most of the action occurring in the actual World War II torpedo factory which has been converted into artist studios.  Spencer wastes no time blending personal and professional conflicts, with flashes of jealousy, intrigue and deception.  Mix in a dash of the local scenery, various culinary delights and the right amount of passionate interludes and you've got a fast paced, engaging tale.

Now, one thing that Spencer and I share is the fun of creating memorable and meaningful character names. The heroine in this novel is named Milo. I must admit that's the first time I've seen it used for a female. But based on the description, her attitudes and behavior, Milo quickly became a woman that got my attention. It's easy to see why her romantic interest found her so irresistible. Like many authors, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the traits that make Milo such a great character were taken directly from the author.

Just to add a little irony here, my current work in progress, which has the temporary title of "Fleeing Beauty"
is the third book in the Jamie Richmond series. The story centers around the discovery of a storeroom filled with sculptures created by Jamie's late father. I'm basing details about the studio and storeroom on a smaller scale version of the Torpedo Factory, set in the Detroit area.  There are a number of old factories that have been converted into lofts and galleries. While I've had this idea for some time, it was ironic that Spencer's novel describes not only a similar locale for artists, but captured much of the same elements of the characters with a touch of that Bohemian lifestyle that I've been looking forward.

You can find "Artful Dodging" at the links below.

I'd give this book 4 stars.


  1. Great post. Even if I don't like a book, I have to read the last twenty pages or so to find out how it ends :)

    1. I'm not one to often write a review, but this one really impressed me. Hope you'll pick it up.

  2. Wonderful review of the book. M.S. Spencer is a fab author! Of course so are you Mark! Keep up the great work!

    1. Melissa,
      Thanks for your kind words. I'm going to have to check out one of yours soon. Just have to find the time !