A Summer Must Read - "the Queen Of Bedlam"

As we plunge head long into the hottest days of summer, it is most important that we arm ourselves with the necessary tools to get us through to Labor Day. What tools would those be, you ask? Well, there is the suntan lotion with SPF 2500, or if you prefer, a full body, chemical and biological protective clothing for when you hit the beach.

But also, inside that tote; you must have a copy of Robert McCammon's, "The Queen of Bedlam."

Not being a literary guru, and having barely passed any and all English courses in my life, I do not know much about writing. Yes, I know, you can tell. But I know a darn, good storyteller when I read one. And Robert McCammon is one heck of a good storyteller.

I ran across him many years ago when I picked up his book, "Swan Song," a story of good versus evil in a world devastated by a nuclear exchange. The story crisscrossed America, and yet, always felt local. The plot was epic, yet the strands of subplots that dealt with the main characters felt intimate, for a lack of better term. That book hooked me to this writer.

Since then, I have read all his books. Like all great authors, to my mind such as it is, Robert brings us (me) into the story. His writing engages me and makes me feel for the characters. The plot needs to be there, having said that, it is the characters and their development within the plot that gets me.

For a while, I just could not find any new books or stories from Robert. Then, I saw a new title, "Speaks the Nightbird," part I. It introduced Matthew Corbett within a historical setting in the late 17th century America. A woman is accused of being a witch and Corbett must investigate.

It is a tremendous book with so many characters and so many subplots that I have no idea how Robert kept track of all the characters. I had always assumed that Robert wrote in the horror/supernatural genre of books. I assumed that this plot would fall into that genre. This book transcends that genre. It is a novel of suspense and intrigue. Yes, it deals with good versus evil, but all the assumptions twist and turn as the book slowly builds to its conclusion. It is like a force of nature.

It is a darn good book.

Matthew Corbett continues his journey from the "Nightbird" to his rendezvous with the "The Queen of Bedlam." Again, Robert McCammon showcases his versatility and amazing talent in crossing genres directly into a suspense novel.

This page turner is set in early Eighteenth century Manhattan. There is a serial killer on the loose and Matthew must find him. Then, the book morphs into a journey of rich characters, hairpin turns, unexpected surprises, and a bunch of "wow, who would have thought that."

For a hot, lazy day at that beach, this book will engage your mind and imagination. Your biggest challenge will be in not forgetting that you are baking under a torturous sun as you read this wonderful novel.