Alex Kava and other Addictive Substances


It’s immensely satisfying to discover a novelist whose work is so enjoyable, so engaging, one delights to gorge on it in any free moment available. Particularly at the end of a long preschooler-filled day, which finally ends with quietness, stillness, and an opulent stack of pillows.

Of course, the euphoria of the discovery comes with the downside of knowing that, eventually, the supply will run out—writers can’t write new novels as fast as I can read them, after all. But until then, I’m vicariously enjoying escapades of Agent Maggie O’Dell, a series by Alex Kava, having read six of Kava’s novels in five weeks. Which, tells me, is 2,054 pages combined. And, because I like to break things down, I’ll also say that’s 410 pages a week. Or 58 pages a day.

Looking at the numbers makes me raise an eyebrow (in a figurative sense, as in reality I can’t raise only one), because such numbers look…not large. Especially when I recall I used to read six books a week with predictable regularity. Although, granted, at that time I was in the early years of high school—a demographic with smaller novels and far more free time than they believe they have.

But I find in my current climate of circumstance, 58 pages a day is pretty jolly decent, so I claim gluttonous gorging anyway.

What I love about Alex Kava’s writing is that it’s so tactile. She never forgets to describe how things feel, or smell. I’m not just viewing her scenes, watching a show via the alphabet. She engages my other senses, the ones TV doesn’t touch. But, importantly, she doesn’t waste screeds of space on description. I’m a lot of things, but patient is not one. I like stories that move.

Alex Kava joins a fine assembly of other authors to whom I’ve given a golden toe-tag (or whatever the equivalent, for people still alive): Mark Forsyth—not a novelist, but a most enjoyable and engaging reading experience just the same, Lee Child, Stephen Leather, Sophie Hannah, Jeffery Deaver, and Michael Crichton.

I must go now. I haven’t finished my current Alex Kava novel.


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