Thursday, March 10, 2011

2011 books, #16-20

Death in Oslo, by Anne Holt [audiobook]. Read by Christopher Oxford. Bath: Oakhill, [n.d.].

The (female) US president is kidnapped on a visit to Norway; the Oslo police and the secret service reluctantly co-operate in trying to recover her. However, unknown to them, the motive for her abduction isn't political. Hanne Willemson, the police detective from 1222, read earlier in the year, also features in this one, and while her presence is as the result of a very unlikely coincidence, she's still a fascinating character.

Home, by Marilynne Robinson. London: Virago, 2009.

This is, as one of the cover reviews says, the saddest book I've ever loved. Jack and Glory end up at home in Gilead, both of them outcasts from their own lives in diffferent ways, and look after their elderly father. Glory has been rejected by her fian├žee, Jack has been wandering for many years and has always been the black sheep. Nothing very much happens on the surface of this book, but the old man's dementia and religious conviction lead to a gradual stripping down of the layers, and revelations of what has happened to bring the characters home again. There are glimmers of resolution or redemption, but ultimately this is a heartbreaking book. Another Kniterati book I'd never have read otherwise. I'm glad I read it, and also that I had a good supply of tissues for the end.

The forgotten, by Faye Kellerman [audiobook]. Read by Jeff Harding. Oxford: Isis, 2002.

I realised a couple of tapes into this that I had actually borrowed this audiobook before - but it was a long time ago, and before I started reading this series in chronological order; and Jeff Harding could read the stock exchange prices to me and I'd listen. Another Decker book - the synagogue the Deckers have helped found is vandalised by a teenager called Ernesto Golding, a schoolmate of his Decker's son Jake. Golding confesses, much to the shock of his ultra-liberal parents, and is put into therapy as part of his reparation. However, this is only the beginning of his problems, and Decker gradually uncovers a web of deceit and intrigue, including some unpalatable facts about his younger son's life.

All the pretty girls, by J. T. Ellison. Richmond, Surrey: MIRA Books, 2010. Kindle edition.

For a change, I'm just going to steal the Amazon summary here, because it's better than I'd manage for this book.
When a local girl falls prey to a sadistic serial killer, Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson and her lover, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin, find themselves in a joint investigation pursuing a vicious murderer. The Southern Strangler is slaughtering his way through the Southeast, leaving a gruesome memento at each crime scene - the prior victim's severed hand. Ambitious TV reporter Whitney Connolly is certain the Southern Strangler is her ticket out of Nashville; she's got a scoop that could break the case. She has no idea how close to this story she really is - or what it will cost her. As the killer spirals out of control, everyone involved must face a horrible truth - that the purest evil is born of private lies.
This is a debut novel, but it certainly doesn't feel like one - extremely gripping.

The glassblower of Murano, by Marina Fiorato. London: Beautiful Books, 2008. Kindle edition.

This is a wonderful book, and the fact it's set in Venice is absolutely vital to the plot and atmosphere. Leonora Manin's husband has left her, and she leaves London for her father's city of Venice, to continue to make a living as a glass artist. She is engaged by a company in Murano on the grounds of her own skill and her ancestral name; her ancestor Corradino was a famous glassblower in the 17th century. Gradually her own growing curiosity about the mystery of her ancestor, and the possibility of a new romance, lead her to try and discover her past. Meanwhile, we begin to learn the story of Corradino through his own eyes. This is beautifully written and there are some very puzzling parts of the 17th century story which are gradually resolved as the novel comes full circle.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

I never managed to get very far into "Home"!