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“Blue Coyote Hotel” by Dianne Harman has at its heart an excellent idea and an intelligent concept that is very well presented and told with irony as well as compassion. The main character Jeffrey is an idealistic scientist very much in love with his beautiful wife Maria. Working on an anti-ageing drug initially he compromises his work life for Maria, loses his job and ends up pursuing his dream of making the world a better place by other means at the Blue Coyote Hotel. The book actually begins with the story of one of the visitors to the Hotel and how his stay in their specially ‘air conditioned’ rooms positively affects his life. Throughout the book Maria and Jeffrey’s story is interspersed with segments about visitors whose lives miraculously change after staying at the hotel. For me this concept worked extremely well as we get to see the potential of Jeffrey’s dream and almost accidentally get to know some of the characters that will become more important for the plot later. Harman has created two very interesting main characters with a lot going on in their lives and heads and she takes us honestly and compassionately through their changing circumstances while adding some other very colourful and entertaining people to the mix: A catholic priest, a Native Indian Doctor and an overweight business executive to name some of them. With all the care that was put into the story and the people populating it, the book does an excellent job at making us feel for the characters, even if they bend the rules or are involved in ‘drugs’. You get to see where each character comes from and how their motifs are quite often benign and honourable. Told with wit and a great sense of irony this is a complex and engaging read that stayed with me for a long time after I finished it. With romance, idealism, moral aspects and even some suspense in the story this is a remarkable debut novel by a confident and compelling new writer. Harman tells her story with a perspective changing, confident voice which translates into a great narrative. I read the book in almost one sitting, completely involved, taken in and curious were the story would end. Original, fascinating and very well written this is highly recommended. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of “Coyote in Provence” by Dianne Harman, the long awaited sequel to her excellent novel “Blue Coyote Motel” and I am pleased to have found it just as remarkable and enjoyable as the first one. Maria, the ageing Mexican beauty is now moving to France under a new identity. Harman did a splendid job at tying everything up at the end of the last book but manages to unravel the story again easily. Maria is still ambitious and somewhat of a loose agent who won’t be satisfied with a boring and secluded life and therefore attracts people, of all a detective from Southern California who is on a field trip to locate stolen art. A separate narrative introduces a filthily rich Afghan business woman with a big heart. I don’t want to give away much more of the plot to avoid spoilers. All I will say is that said woman is an amazing character and a great and intriguing addition to the already well composed and wonderful cast. Harman really knows how to write entertaining and thoughtful stories with characters caught in the grey areas of morality and legality. With clever juxtaposition and sharp dialogue Harman makes several important points about those (too often contradictory) concepts. I was impressed how the narratives then come together and how the themes from book one returned so naturally and organically into this story. As far as sequels go this is masterfully crafted and particularly pleasing as the plot is not predictable and the book contains a lot of new elements, yet retains the original character of the series / trilogy (Maybe we can persuade Harman to go beyond the third book?). I found this a gripping and compulsive read and - although I really hate to use this worn out phrase in reviews - I cannot wait for the next book to find out more about how the remaining issues will be resolved. A great equal to book one and a real treat. **** "Cornered Coyote" by Dianne Harman is the superb and gripping final exquisite book in her Coyote Series. I was lucky enough to receive an Advance Review Copy of the book and devoured it within days of its arrival, despite a heavy workload of my own. This time round Maria returns to California and is arrested. It is her business partner, Darya, who comes to Maria's aid by getting the right kind of people to take action. There are several romantic story lines with some very sexy scenes and great chemistry between the partners, there is excellent and convincing court room drama, legal and illegal plotting and scheming and the return of characters from the first two books. The dialogue is cleverly interspersed with the characters' thoughts, lending more perspective and spice to the scenes. Harman has made this instalment a firework of action, romance and suspense. As with her previous books she understands to build her characters in a colourful and intriguing way, always poignant and witty. Well-paced, written with excellent attention to detail and a talent for fleshing out the scenes with the right amount of detail this really hit all my buttons. Highly recommended for fans of well written crime fiction