Monday, March 5, 2012

In which I try another audiobook with Come In and Cover Me

Come In and Cover Me
Come In and Cover Me
Gin Phillips
Narrated by Angela Brazil

I remember buying Gin Phillips's first book, The Well and the Mine, back when I was in college.* My roommate and I liked to go down to the local Barnes & Noble and wander around, looking for books to read. We didn't always buy something, but we always had fun. Ever since them I've been waiting for her to come out with another book. Well, she finally has.

Come In and Cover Me is the story of Ren, a talented and respected archaeologist who made an important discovery of Mimbres pottery early in her career. She has a secret, though - her discovery was made with the help of the spirit of a young Mimbres woman, the artist herself. Or so Ren thinks.

When she's called away from her desk job at a museum to evaluate pottery at a new dig site, Ren is eager to see if more of "her" artist's work has been uncovered. She finds more than just sherds of pottery, though. She finds Silas, another archaeologist, who seems to know that Ren's hiding something about who she makes her discoveries.  Will she reveal her secret? If she does, will he believe her just think she's imagining things and turn away?

As much as I liked parts of the book, other parts just didn't work. Like the characters. They seemed to act, well, out of character. Ren, in particular does things that don't seem in keeping with an archaeologist who's been working in the field for nearly twenty years. Nothing major, just little things here and there. And Silas - he's like the all-knowing genius who knows everything. (Yes, I know that's repetitive. So is the book.) Really, you have all the answers?

Speaking of Silas, I just really disliked him. He seems okay from Ren's point of view, but once the point of view shifts and you hear from him more directly - wow, what a douchcanoe. There's one instance where he's thinking about the Mimbres people and wondering what they'd think of modern humans disturbing their burial grounds. He's thinking of the usual reasons given - it's for posterity, to gain knowledge. Then:
“He did not think the dead woman would know those words.”
Ugh. Okay, I get the point. The culture they're digging up would not necessarily be happy with being dug up. But seriously, a modern educated white guy thinking that a long dead Native American woman would not "know those words" - posterity, knowledge - bugs me. Especially from Silas, who as I may have mentioned, knows all the things.

I did enjoy Phillips' descriptions of the physical, tangible aspects of the novel. You could feel the dirt in your hands, the rocks under your feet, the sun beating down. I even thought the sexyparts were well done - and this comes from a reader who'd prefer those things be hidden under a blanket. At first, I thought someone reading those sexyparts to me would be weird and uncomfortable, but I liked how Angela Brazil was just very straightforward and matter of fact. It worked.

On the other hand, I wasn't thrilled about the voices for the characters, particularly Ren. She sounds too delicate and precious. Also, the voices aren't consistent throughout the novel. Sometimes the characters sound too much alike, which gets confusing.

Overall, while I wasn't blown away, I enjoyed it, and was happy to have the chance to try another audiobook. I do hope that Gin Phillips doesn't wait so long to write her next book.

*I just looked up the publication date for The Well and the Mine, and it seems like it actually came out in 2008, which would be after I graduated. I swear that I read this in college, though. Hmmm...

This copy graciously provided to me by AudioGO.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks. I love Mimbres pottery and the land they lived on. Glad to have some books to read that relate to them--even if they are flawed.

MJ said...

@mdbrady: I wasn't familiar with them before listening to this, but I'm definitely interested in learning more. And few books are prefect, so those that are less so just make the others sweeter!

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

Yeah, I read this in print and had similar issues with the characters (although Ren bothered me far more than Silas). I'm sorry to hear that the narrator didn't help ameliorate the problems of this book.

MJ said...

@Jen: I guess the thing that bothered me about Ren was that I just flat out didn't believe she'd act in certain ways. I just thought Silas was a jerk.

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

MJ - Exactly. I couldn't credit her various actions as coming from her character as I understood it.