I’m not a literary critic by any means. It kind of surprised me a couple of weeks ago when I was selected as an advanced reader of Cooper S. Beckett’s new book Osgood As Gone. Within hours of getting notice of being selected, I did volunteer, I received a request from a publisher to read and review a book of poetry. I’m still working on that one.
I have read Cooper S. Beckett’s My Life on the Swingset. It was reading that book and Beckett’s ideas that made me look at my own feelings and attitudes about monogamy. It was listening to a few episodes of the podcast “Life on the Swingset” that introduced me to the concept of sex-positive. I knew Beckett is a strong voice for accepting people for who they are and proponent of that being the norm in our society. Some of My Life on the Swingset bordered on the views of an activist. That is fine for that type of publication but could really get in the way of a good story in a novel. Another attitude I went into reading these two Prudence Osgood stories with, they are billed as stories of a “spectral inspector,” was one I use on my more common reading entertainment. I like science fiction. One of my favorite authors, Isaac Asimov, liked to have a bit of mystery in his stories. He made sure the differences in science that make science fiction, fiction, didn’t give him a way to solve the mystery. He set up the clues in a way you could follow where things were going. Like Asimov’s critics when he first started writing science fiction mysteries, I vowed to dislike the Osgood books if there was a sudden solving of the mystery that didn’t come logically from the clues.
Haunting at the Waverly Hotel
I bought a copy of this book, maybe better labeled booklet. Beckett wrote this as a prelude to Osgood as Gone but for some reason choose to separate the two. I had already read Osgood as Gone so in some ways I knew where it was heading but was interested to see how it got there. If you decide to read both, I would recommend reading this one first so you are following along without any idea of what will happen.
Osgood as Gone
Prudence Osgood is the spectral inspector. Much of the hype for the book was that it was the story of a character who doesn’t fit the relationship sexual norms of society. From My Life on the Swingset I knew Beckett could voice some strong opinions. About the time I got my copy, the promotions had changed to some of the clues of the mystery.
I really ended up drawn into the mystery. Beckett met the standard I decided on before reading the book. The clues followed one after another to the resolution. I even felt a little bit of, are the investigators being spoofed, or is there really a spectral situation involved. I read it as a Kindle edition. When I was nearly finished with about the second or third evening’s reading I noticed I was three-fourths of the way through the book. I went ahead and finished, giving up a little sleep to satisfy my desire to know how things turn out.
I just did a search for the book and found some references that all deal with Prudence Osgood being a paranormal investigator. Why would I have come across it in terms of a sex-positive blog? As I’ve mentioned, the author is a bit of a celebrity in the sex-positive world. He started billing it as a story of a woman living an alternative lifestyle as far as her sexuality and expression of that sexuality. I think it is sex-positive in that the promotions have moved beyond that. It is promoted as a mainstream paranormal novel and the readers will just find some different expressions of sexuality when that is part of the story. To me, that is sex-positive. Not making a big deal of sexual choices, just accepting everyone has a right to choose as long as the practices are safe and consensual.