Friday, September 24, 2010

2010 books, #61-65

The third option, by Vince Flynn. London: Pocket Books, 2001.

Another very gripping thriller by Flynn, which incorporates characters from his first two novels Term limits and Transfer of power. Covert CIA operative Mitch Rapp is sent to Germany to kill a prominent businessman with links to Saddam Hussein, but the operation goes catastrophically wrong. Simultaneously there's a fight for control of the Agency itself - the current director is dying and the political, military and intelligence communities all have their own candidates. Very tightly plotted, and with enough politics to be unputdownable. There's quite a lot of weapons technology, but Flynn writes engagingly enough that you don't have to care too much about the toys to enjoy the story.

Evidence, by Jonathan Kellerman [audiobook]. Read by Jeff Harding. Oxford: Isis, 2010.

I keep giving Jonathan Kellerman another try - I enjoy his wife's, and now his son's, books, and he writes well enough. I don't really understand why I can't engage with the Alex Delaware books, but somehow they just don't do anything for me. This one was read with Jeff Harding's usual panache, but I can't really remember what happens in it even one day after finishing it. I think that's probably my last encounter with Dr Delaware...

The slap, by Christos Tsiolkas. London: Tuskar Rock, 2010. Originally published in Australia in 2008.

This is a book club book - and not one I'd have picked up otherwise. By about 50 pages in I was really wondering whether I'd bother finishing it; a lot of the characters are pretty repulsive, and I didn't really feel much sympathy for any of them. The premise of the book is that at a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who isn't his child, and the characters at the barbecue are explored. Most of it's pretty grim, and examines how much people within families, and groups of friends, can hate each other while still sticking together. But there are moments of hope, and the final few scenes are full of light. I came out of it being glad that I'd read it, but I can't explain why; and it has to be said that nobody at book club had enjoyed it that much. It won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 2009 and was longlisted (but not shortlisted) for the Booker this year.

Last rites, by Neil White [audiobook]. Read by Jack Paulin. Long Preston: Magna, 2010.

Strange one this - set near Pendle Hill, with all the history that involves; abduction, witchcraft and family history all blended in. Pretty compelling towards the end, although it loses itself a little in the middle. Good reading by Paulin, as ever.

The chalk circle man, by Fred Vargas. Translated by Siân Reynolds. London: Vintage, 2010. Originally published in French in 1996.

The first of the Adamsberg novels; and very interestingly French in its slight surreality. Some interesting characters; I could definitely see this as a Jean-Jacques Beineix film... Someone is drawing chalk circles around random objects on the pavements of Paris; the random objects escalate... Gradually, other characters are drawn in, including a very handsome blind man and a world expert on fish who becomes his landlady. I somewhat lost track of this because I lost it about three-quarters of the way through and found it in a basket of laundry, but it was very enjoyable.

1 comment:

shandy said...

I keep checking your blog hoping for your views on the i-knit event, and Alice's class, but no luck so far.