Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 books, #11-15

Another clutch of books - I'm reading a lot more this year, I think due to the Kindle - so much easier to read and knit on the train!

I shall wear midnight, by Terry Pratchett [audiobook]. Read by Stephen Briggs. Oxford: ISIS, 2010.

The fourth and last of the Tiffany Aching series; Tiffany's enemy this time is the Cunning Man, a creature who takes over human bodies to pursue witches. Meanwhile Roland, Tiffany's former beau, is marrying another girl. The Nac Mac Feegles add their usual comic interest, and as ever Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg provide a source of wisdom and weirdness. A very good finale to the series.

Executive power, by Vince Flynn. New York: Pocket, 2004.

The next in the Mitch Rapp series, set in the Middle East and among the upper echelons of the CIA. One of the things I like about Flynn is that the narration shifts ever so slightly depending on the point of view of the character being described; so while you're reading the Israeli's point of view you understand it entirely; and then you move to a Palestinian character with an opposite opinion and that's perfectly comprehensible too. However, there's still a sense that the US actually understands what's going on and knows best, which is less attractive. This thriller rattles along, albeit somewhat shapelessly. My only real criticism of it is that he's turning Anna Reilly, Mitch's wife, into a bit of a shrew, which is a shame.

Defending evil, by Charles Shea. Kindle edition.

Travis Knight and his partner Ray are up-and-coming lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia; and none too scrupulous about the clients they take on. When they take on the case of a former schoolfriend, and famous quarterback, accused of murdering his wife, they find out very quickly that the man is guilty. Then the threats begin... This is tightly written and plotted, and has a twist about two-thirds of the way through which is surprising but not entirely unexpected.

It's your time you're wasting: a teacher's tales of classroom hell, by Frank Chalk. [S.l.]: Monday Books, 2011. Kindle edition.

The title says it all; this is a collection of blog posts about life in what Alastair Campbell once described as "bog-standard comprehensives". The author is the same age as me, and seems to have gone to a similar (quite good) comprehensive school. Some of the anecdotes here are hilarious, some are just sad, and some made me quite fearful about the future. Throughout, though, there's a battered sense of compassion for the kids, whether they're there to learn or not.

The hanging shed, by Gordon Ferris. [S.l.]: Corvus, 2011. Kindle edition.

Douglas Brodie has drifted since being demobbed in 1945; he's making a desultory effort to be a freelance crime reporter in London, having left the police to join the Army in 1939. Out of the blue he receives a phone call from a former schoolfriend, Hugh Donovan, who has been condemned to death for raping and murdering a young boy. Brodie returns to his native Glasgow at Donovan's request. All the evidence points to Donovan's guilt, but he's convinced he's innocent, and Brodie reluctantly starts to dig into the case with the help of Donovan's barrister Sam Campbell. This book is as interesting for the period details - it has some elements of John Buchan or Dornford Yates, but written with today's frankness of gruesome details. I've downloaded another couple of Ferris's books on the basis of this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you're reading and liking the Vince Flynn books. I have to admit I've read them all so far-more or less to see what the right wing in the US is up to. I do have a friend who reads them as if they were non-fiction!

Barbara-your Triscuit connection