One of those books that appeared in my bookstore and called to me from the shelf, I took this beat-up paperback to bed one night and stayed up past 2 a.m., giggling.
This book was just plain fun, and then right at the end it has one of the loveliest “didn’t see that coming” moments ever. Which you will not get as a spoiler in this review, because I don’t want you to miss the enjoyment of reading Huff’s sf novel.
Summon the Keeper has a cast of thousands – including Claire, the pragmatic heroine; a lovesick ghost named Jacques; Dean, the gormless hulking guy from Newfoundland; a sarcastic cat (book quote: “No one had ever been able to determine if cats were actually clairvoyant, or merely obnoxious little know-it-alls.”); and a bratty little sister who goes around turning sofas into pygmy hippos (prompting this response from their mother: “If she does call, would you please explain to her that turning the sofa into a pygmy hippo for the afternoon might be a very good transfiguration, but it’s rather hard on the sofa, and it confuses the hippo.”)
There are other characters, too.
Claire is a keeper; she mends holes in the fabric of the universe when people mess it up with bad magic. She gets put in charge of a hotel that has a hole in the basement leading to Hell, which is problematic and must be closed. The book turns on this plot device, but if ever the words “character drives plot” were proven, it is in this fun read. The joy lies not in what, but who and how.
The whole book rollicks along like a sitcom with smart writers behind it, charming and snappy. The best news is that Summon is the first of three books in the KEEPER series. Short enough as a series to keep its zip, but a good satisfying run.
And except for the sprinkled-at-just-the-right-intervals sweet moments when you say, “Awwwwww,” you’re going to giggle all the way.
Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, humor, Hunger Games, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, out of things to read, publishing, reading, Sarah Nelson, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch, what's on your bedside table, writing, YA fiction
Jack’s weekly guest blog as the haunted househusband of Big Stone Gap’s Little Bookstore…
Regular readers will have been following the refurbishment of our basement and how it tested my construction skills. When I successfully installed an “up-flushing” toilet in what we now call the “caretaker’s flat” (Wendy’s and my cozy hide-away in the bookstore basement) I thought I could rest on my laurels. After all, these places are called rest rooms in America, are they not?
Perhaps through jealousy for all the attention the upstart up-flusher was getting, two of the other three rest rooms in our bookstore promptly developed leaky toilet tanks (caused, I think, by people leaning back against them and disturbing their ancient hardened seals). In addition, the new upstairs kitchen sinks for our Second Story café started leaking! I began to have nightmares about drains, and said as much to Wendy. She looked at me with wifely sympathy and said, “I am haunted by waters.” (That’s the closing line from Norman Maclean’s story A River Runs Through It. She knows I don’t like the book, so it was a double whammy. Hmmph.)
As I tackled these haunting, daunting waters, matters were not helped by numerous trips to our local hardware, and then to Lowe’s, for obscure parts. I should explain that a toilet tank is called a ‘cistern’ in Britain. This caused much confusion-turning-to-merriment amongst the people I asked to help me.
Still and all, the patron saint of plumbers must have noticed me out of the corner of her eye, because despite not having a clue what I was doing, I successfully fixed first the ancient leaky tanks and then the brand new sinks in the kitchen. Don’t ask me how, or expect any professional advice – I’ve no idea what I did. Perhaps swearing at inanimate fittings DOES work after all!
That was last week. And of course this week, with the polar vortex creating sub-zero temperatures, I’ve been dreading burst pipes. So you can imagine my dismay when our excellent café chef Kelley called down to me recently that there was a ‘leak in the sink’. I sighed inwardly and headed up yet again to do battle with the dreaded drain–to find Kelley working hard to keep a straight face while indicating the sink basin. In it was nestling a leek – of the garden green variety.
Ha ha, very funny. I am haunted by leeks….