Monday, April 25, 2011

Grey Zone by Clea Simon

Melon is taken aback by a plot twist!

Reviewed by Jeanne

Dulcie Schwartz, the grad student we first met in Shades of Grey, is still trying to juggle her teaching and mentoring duties with finishing her thesis and having an actual life. The latter is definitely on the losing end. She’s still researching her mysterious author, which leads her new advisor to accuse her of stalling—of not wanting to finish and move on. Boyfriend Chris is just as busy, so they haven’t really had any time together and her new kitten is getting into all sorts of mischief. In short, Dulcie feels a bit like Lucille Ball in the infamous candy factory sketch: things are moving too quickly for her to keep up, though she tries valiantly.

Still, Dulcie doesn’t realize quite how disconnected things are until she sees a poster about a missing woman—who just happens to be one of Dulcie’s former students. Overburdened and overworked, Dulcie hadn’t really followed up as to why the girl dropped her class. Determined to make amends, Dulcie tries to track down a current student who also seems to be falling through the cracks—and ends up being at the scene when a professor falls from his upper story office. Did he jump? Or was it murder?

One of the things I like about this series is the academic setting, with its sometimes antique and arcane rules butting up against the electronic age. Dulcie’s particular area of interest is an old gothic novel, which inspires her dreams of castles and fog while her daily routine includes computer searches, email and cell phones. While there are supernatural elements (Mr. Grey, Lucy’s premonitions, and Dulcie’s dreams), these are always grounded in a more pragmatic world. The cats are always a joy: enigmatic Mr. Grey, her ghostly advisor, makes his pronouncements and Esme, the empress in training, exerting her feline will in ways any cat fancier will recognize. I also have to comment on the cover:  gorgeous! I do like well done cover art, and this one is charming.

I found the ending to be most satisfying. It just felt right for the characters and was, for me at least, hopeful and very comforting. To explain further would spoil it for everyone else, but what I will remember most is that moment of pure happiness, when all is right with the world.

You don’t need to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this one. Give it a try!

Grey Zone is by Clea Simon and the call number is F SIM


  1. Thank you so much for this - was on vacation, so could see but not comment. And I LOVE the picture. Melon is a natural!

  2. Thanks, Clea! Hope you had a great vacation!