Tex’n the City: Item No. 8 — Security

After taking off a week for Thanksgiving, Brandon James Singleton is back with his countdown to turning age 30. This week: He looks at what it means to have security in one’s life … and sees it’s not necessarily what he expected.

I’m trying to think of a song that can perfectly describe what I’m wanting to say. I mean, come on Katy Perry — you have one for everything from extra terrestrials to fireworks. You must have one for me.

I simply want some security. I wanna know that everything I’m doing now will lend to the goal of not having to worry when I’m retired in my villa off the island of St. Bart’s. OK, maybe I’ve been watching a few too many Real Housewives. But ultimately, I just want to know that my husband Mario Lopez and I, along with our eight offspring, will live comfortably and happy.

Right now, my savings account is sorta non-existent. Times are hard. Ya dip once. Ya dip twice. And ya go back a third time, and realize, ya should’ve stopped at once.

So I suppose it’s time to re-activate that account. But what’s gonna keep me from just repeating the same mistakes of my past? I mean, if Lindsay Lohan can’t even do it, is there hope for the rest of us?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Plain Jane

Lesbian fiction author Ellen Hart loses her way with latest Jane Lawless mystery, ‘Lost Women’

The Lost Women of Lost Lake, by Ellen Hart. Minotaur Press (2011), $26, 320 pp.

Cordelia Thorn figured she would just lend a quick hand. Tessa Cornell, Cornelia’s old friend in the northern Minnesota ’burg of Lost Lake, had taken a tumble and hurt her leg. Tessa was directing the community play, so somebody needed to finish the job while she was healing; Cornelia volunteered, and invited her best friend, Jane Lawless, along. Jane, a restaurateur and part-time private investigator, was still mourning the death of her long-time partner; a trip would do her good.

Tessa was happy to have help with the play, but she didn’t need any company — definitely not some P.I. wannabe.

Jonah Ivorsen hated moving, so when he decided to hitchhike from St. Louis to Lost Lake, he was sure his aunt Jill and Jill’s wife, Tessa, would let him stay with them. But then a body was discovered and another one followed it fast. The authorities were zeroing in on a mysterious fire, and Tessa was obviously lying to everybody. Can Jane Lawless sort things out before someone else dies?

Oh, how I love books with Jane Lawless in them! Jane is an unlikely heroine and reluctant private eye who doesn’t seem to want her hobby to turn into work, yet there’s a will-she-make-it-permanent thread in this book that’s satisfactorily solved. There’s also a possible romance angle that slyly teases readers.

But as much as I love Ellen Hart’s main character, the supporting cast in The Lost Women of Lost Lake almost all need to take a dive. I had to work to keep my eyes from rolling, not only because of the cliché peripheral characters but also for the cliché things they say. Triteness definitely taints this otherwise fine mystery.

Fans of the Jane Lawless series should be able to overlook these faults, but if you’re not already a fan, start with another book. For you, The Lost Women of Lost Lake will not be looked upon swimmingly.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Don’t miss our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide and the online exclusives

We are officially in the midst of the holiday season. I mean seriously, where did Thanksgiving come from? That’s next week already. Of course, Thanksgiving means one thing — Black Friday. Before you head out to retailers at midnight, check out our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide for your shopping ideas. With items for the home, that special person and even for man’s best friend, we cover a wide array of gift giving ideas that run from stocking stuffers to helicopter rides.

But don’t stop there, we also have our 2011 HGG online exclusives posted here. Just some additional gifts to add to the mix. We’ll add to those with our Gift-a-Day posts that you’ll read about in the online exclusive list.

By the end of it all, we hope we’ve helped you out with your shopping list. And don’t forget to get you a little something for yourself.

—  Rich Lopez