January 24th, 2016

_Welcome to New Orleans ... How many shots did you hear?_, B.J. Schneider

After I read _A Thousand Naked Strangers_, I thought to myself, Self, you know a guy who rides ambulance. You should FB him and find out if he has an opinion of this book. He had not heard of it, but put it on his to read list, and recommended this one.

Schneider's book and Hazzard's have a variety of things in common and some important differences. Two southern cities, check -- Hazzard's book is in Atlanta, Schneider's in New Orleans and surrounding parishes. Two guys who you definitely do NOT want bored, check. Pranks appear during quiet times in both of them. Stories about fishing bodies out of water, check. Stories about people moving decomposed bodies without understanding what was about to happen next, check. Highly episodic in nature and both men appreciate how the world changed around them during their careers.

But big differences stand out, other than the relentless typos, word-os and other problems in Schneider's self-published (looks like he went with CreateSpace) work. Schneider seems to have traveled more and worked in more places. He seems to have had a much more traditional career path: Army, medic, cop. He had less of a Let's Climb to the Top of the local ladder orientation (Hazzard absorbed some sort of status system associated with working for Grady and pursued it, knowing it would burn him out ... and burning out). Perhaps because of all these differences, Schneider seems less angst-y than Hazzard. Or maybe that's an artifact of something else.

They are both very entertaining reads. Having read them both, I would urge anyone who finds themselves being transported in the care of medics to offer no violence to the medics. Because wow, some of these people apparently arrived at the hospital a lot worse off than when they were first loaded. I'm not blaming the medic -- who would? -- but geez. Don't be That Guy.

ETA: Last Monday, I also told my book group about Hazzard's book, and asked my friend A., who does some volunteer work for MERT (<-- not its real name, but I call the town I go to book group in Mayberry, so the Emergency Response Team in that town would logically then be MERT) if she knew the guy I know who rides ambulance. She does! Small world. In other small world stories, when T. and I were at the Starbucks in the new retail development in Littleton, I came back from the bathroom and realized that the table T. and I were sitting at was two tables away from M., who I know from walking around the block with my walking partner, a different M. We had a lovely chat. Small world, indeed! It makes all those ambulance stories in _Welcome to New Orleans ..._ in which the author goes to a call and sees a family member that much more believable, altho no less tragic.

_Outtakes from the Grave_, Jeaniene Frost

The Night Huntress series is basically complete, altho the ancillary series about other characters in it continue. When the last book in the series came out, I reread the rest of the series, so it is all relatively fresh in my mind. I cannot imagine reading this book without having read the series, and if you haven't ever reread, just read the series book by book as it was rewritten, you'll need a sharp memory to make sense of some of this.

What is is: Frost did something that you aren't ever supposed to do if you are going to be published, but of course, you don't _know_ you are going to be published before you are (or at least, that's how it used to work). She wrote multiple books in a series before selling the first one. She recognizes this, and describes how she got started during that period before self-publishing e-books became a viable option, and how having the first several books written both worked for and against her (it is utterly amazing to me that she sold them all). Her publishing/editorial team obviously wanted a lot of rewriting, and Frost's narrative style borders on chatty, so it is unsurprising that there would be cutting. This book isn't all the individual words that got cut -- it's big scenes, whole chunks of subplot that was removed and/or reworked, usually over pacing concerns. These sections might actually work as standalone short stories. They are funny, character driven and have a beginning/middle/end with a point to them (har de har har). Other sections, including the one which is at the end of the book, were removed or extensively reworked because Frost made other choices as an author.

HEY YOU! Patra and Gregory are working together to get YOU if you care about spoilers and keep reading. Yeah, I know you _think_ they're safety out of the picture . . .

Turns out Frost wrote a version in which Gregory didn't just compromise Cat's memory. He got to Bones, too, leading to a very, very different stuck-in-New Orleans sequence, and a lengthy get-to-know-each-other-again storyline. Frost discusses on-and-off through the book how her own personal experience (as she characterizes it, but I suspect it is more representative of her region/sociodemographics than she is implying) leaving home and marrying at 19 led to her write a heroine who is a lot younger than is typical for the genre. One of the most captivating aspects of the Bones-without-memory-of-Cat storyline is the idea of Bones meeting Cat once she's actually grown up. I really liked it, but I agree with the author that it was just way too mean to the characters to actually leave in the official arc of their storyline.