I finished Dust about an hour ago and I’m still not sure who all dunnit. It’s not easy to get me all twisted around in a mystery but Ann McMan did.
Dust is a published Xena uber centered around Evan Reed and Julia Donne. Sort of. Evan was hired by the father of her child who works for a sort of sleazy guy who is very successful at getting people elected to public office. Evan is a “Dust Buster”; she digs up dirt on potential candidates so the sleazy guy can manage the leaking of the dirt and control the fallout. Evan’s been hired to investigate Julia’s husband, Senator Andrew Townsend. Initially he appears to be squeaky clean but Evan quickly figures out that there’s much more going on.
I was already a fan of McMan’s work after reading Jericho and getting a chance to chat with her on Cocktail Hour. Dust is different from Jericho in a few ways. For one, it’s shorter; I started it yesterday evening and finished it this afternoon. There also wasn’t any explicit sex. There was lots of sex going on between the characters, we just didn’t get to play Peeping Tom for any of it. The other major difference was the incredible speed at which Evan and Julia proclaimed their love. It was a little quick for me but I do understand the whole “love at first sight” thing. But the biggest difference is that the story isn’t driven by the romance. This book is about figuring out how the characters fit into the mystery. I’m not going to go into any more detail than that.
What shined about Dust, for me, was that I didn’t know what the hell was going on until the end. And even then I wasn’t sure about everything. McMan’s humor, and love of booze, came through clear and I love all of the pop culture references that, I’m quite sure, most people under 35 or so won’t get. I’ll definitely be buying the sequel once it comes out. Until then, I still have some of her online work that I haven’t read yet. Oh, and if you’re wondering where you can find the online version of Dust, you can get it right on the author’s website: http://www.annmcman.com/books.htm
Thanks, Ann, for another great read! I raise my Cosmo to you.