Sunday, October 10, 2010

2010 books, #66-70

Ash and bone, by John Harvey. London: Heinemann, 2005.

A non-Resnick novel (although Resnick appears in a cameo), with the same characters as his earlier Flesh and Blood. Frank Elder is again persuaded out of retirement in Cornwall, this time to investigate the murder of an ex-colleague. Meanwhile, his own daughter is facing a drugs charge in Nottingham. This is very tightly plotted with some interesting characters, and well up to John Harvey's standard.

Little girl lost, by Susan Kelly. London: Allison and Busby, 2002.

It seems simple enough: a child is abducted from her home by her social worker, while her father is asleep. But it all becomes much more complicated, and things which had been known as facts turn out to have been so many lies. Another Greg Summers novel; Summers is an interesting character, and the relationships between the different police staff are as interesting as those between the protagonists. There's a heartbreaking side story about Alzheimer's, too.

To darkness and to death, by Julia Spencer-Fleming. New York: St Martin's, 2005.

Another one in this tremendous series; this time based around conservation versus logging, and land transfer deals. Clare's personal life also becomes steadily more complicated. Some of the plotting here seems less realistic than with the other novels, but the characters have almost become more interesting than the plot. (The next two books in the series are in the post from the US.)

Nemesis, by Lindsey Davis [audiobook]. Read by Christian Rodska. Oxford: Isis, 2010.

I put on the first CD of this book expecting the usual slightly comic opening to the most recent (20th!) Falco historical detective novel. I didn't expect to be reaching for the tissues within 10 minutes! The opening is amazingly touching, and the rest of the novel is excellent, too. Falco is now at a bit of a crossroads, established in his home life and now moneyed, but still with the sense of adventure which has led him into so much trouble. The sub-plot involving Albia, his adopted British daughter, is a great touch, too. Christian Rodska's reading is superb as ever - when I realised who the reader was, I happily waited the extra time for the audio version to come from the library. He gives Falco just the right slightly-wrong-side-of-the-tracks edge without caricature.

Things fall apart, by Chinua Achebe. London: Penguin, 2006.

A Kniterati book group book, and another I wouldn't have picked up if it hadn't been a group book, but was very glad to have read. I began with a great deal of exasperation for the main character who is so hard and violent with his family as a reaction to his father having been a weak man; but gradually, because the characters are so well-drawn and the traditions and relationships so well explained by the author, my sympathy transferred to him in his plight. And the ending is quite heartbreaking. It all made for very interesting discussion; thanks to Penny for her suggestion and the background information she had.


Mary deB said...

Ah, To Darkness and to Death... I have now finished that and the next one. Wait, maybe the next two... Eeeek! Fast becoming soap opera-ish, but compelling and thrilling. Luckily I got the paperback edition of the most recent one I'd read, which had the first chapter from the next book!

Yes, the one after Darkness is very very very exciting.

Joan said...

I'm so glad to meet another lover of the "Falco" series, and you are right... the opening of the book was absolutely poignant. I wonder if Davis imagined this, or if it was based on her research?