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Marilee J. Layman

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05:15 pm: Channeling Cleopatra by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
A beading friend needed to sell some books to get some money and this was the only one I thought I'd like to read. Annie is a friend of my friend and I've met her as well as reading a fair amount of her older work. I knew when she described the Portland Convention Center early on in the book, that she was accurate because she's been to bead shows there.

This book proposes a way to "blend" personalities and memories from dead people with live people. Our protagonist, Leda (yeah, yeah), is from the Northwest, has been in the Navy, and is a forensic anthropologist with an Egypt fetish. So when an old friend who works for the blending company offers her a new job in Alexandria working with antiquities, she takes it in a second. Her father, Duke, also finagles a job as the company's security chief there. There's a lot of political, social, and geological disasters as people are blended wrong, people die, people change.

My problems with the book: The science is laughable -- our personalities and memories are encoded in our genes and they can be remastered and processed into other people via a particular light frequency aimed at the eyes. Leda sounds like an idiot and misses vast numbers of clues that pretty much anybody would have seen. I found it easier to read when I gave her Kyra Sedgewick's The Closer sarcastic drawl, which is clearly not how she was intended. And at the end, all the problems get solved by the company owner's money.

There's a sequel, which my friend told me she didn't get because she didn't think this one was good enough and I agree. In fact, I think Annie Scarborough may have been writing with Annie McCaffrey too long. That would explain the science and lack of personality. (I still buy Pern books, I have them from the beginning, but I know it's not great writing.)

I can't recommend this. I'm going to take it to bookgroup because there are two of the women who might want to try it and if they don't, it's going to the Friends of the Library for their sale.

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