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What book are you currently reading?

Presumption of Death, by Perri O’Shaughnessy.”

Tell me about the book.

“It is a legal thriller. It is about an arson in Carmel Valley. Two boys went into the hills. I think they meant to catch the arsonist in order to get the reward money [but] it went badly and one was found dead and burned. The other is alive and is accused of being the arsonist [but] they were just after the arsonist, actually.”

Were you prompted to read the book because of the fires here last October?

“No, not at all. A friend just gave me the book a few weeks ago and I really liked it.”

Is this the sort of book you usually read?

“I read a lot of different things. I like a lot of thrillers, but I do read literature as well.”

Do you have any favorite characters?

“I like the protagonist, the lawyer. She is a woman on her own with a teenage son who’s had a kind of rocky life: a single mom, then remarried, and then her husband died. She’s very strong, very smart, a little bit of a risk taker. I like her.”

How would you describe the author’s writing style?

“It’s good. I think it is well-written, easy to read, fast.”

How does this book compare to other thrillers that you’ve read?

“One writer I really like is Elizabeth George [BBC’s Inspector Lynley author]. She’s from England. Her books are of the same genre, but are a little bit deeper in the analysis of character. Nevada Barr is one writer that I’ve read because she is a park ranger and so each of her stories takes place in a different national park, which is kind of nice. I like reading about the parks.”

Who is your favorite author?

“As far as thrillers are concerned, Elizabeth George, because she is more in-depth compared to a lot of others in terms of developing the characters.”

What magazines or newspapers do you read?

“Okay. Very unusual. Get ready: The Economist, National Geographic Adventure, Backpacker. We get other magazines like U.S. News, but I just glance at them. Fortune I don’t like. Business Week we also get: I just glance at it. I get most daily news from the radio, from NPR.”

Are you the kind of person who reads articles to the end or just the first couple paragraphs?

“To the end. Yes.”

Do you talk to your friends about reading?

“Yes, quite a lot. I have a lot of friends who are good readers and we share, we trade books.”

What are your conversations like? Do you focus on the plot or on character?

“No, I think we mostly focus on whether it’s an interesting subject, whether you would like it, whether it’s well-written. For example, with me, I like the outdoors. It’s not so much about the characters, more about the genre, or ‘this is very good, you would like it.’”

Name: Veronique Kaplinsky | Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
Neighborhood: Rancho Peñasquitos | Where interviewed: Starbucks, Poway

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