Sunday, August 07, 2011

2011 books, #56-60

The God of the hive, by Laurie R. King. London: Allison and Busby, 2010.

This follows on immediately from The language of bees - it's almost like one novel chopped in two. Another tremendous thriller, with a wonderful character in Robert Goodman.

One of our Thursdays is missing, by Jasper Fforde. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2011.

I didn't enjoy this one as much as I was expecting - somehow, it's got even more meta-meta-textual and has sort of disappeared in a puff of its own cleverness. I haven't been in the "all these novels are the same" camp, so Fforde trying something different with the Thursday series wasn't entirely welcome... There are a couple of very good one-liners though - the idea of giving advice on how to deal with "Robert Pestons in the wainscotting" was funny.

Shark music, by Carol O'Connell [audiobook]. Read by Regina Reagan. Oxford: Isis, 2007.

This was a good sound thriller which plodded along quite nicely - but to be honest, if it hadn't been a reasonably decent reader, I wouldn't have carried on with it. I don't find Kathy Mallory particularly appealing or convincing as a main character, and it should have been more tightly edited to shorten it considerably. I'd try another of this authors on audiobook with another good reader before I give up on the series though.

Memorial day, by Vince Flynn. London: Simon and Schuster, 2005.

Another in the Mitch Rapp series; this one takes a sharp and somewhat unpleasant turn into the post-USA PATRIOT Act world. Previously we've seen Rapp as an assassin but a man with a strict code of honour - here, working for the CIA, he's both involved in, and keen to justify, torture as a means to an end.

Started early, took my dog, by Kate Atkinson [audiobook]. Read by Nicholas Bell. Rearsby, Leics.: WF Howes, 2010.

A Jackson Brodie book, set in Yorkshire where Brodie is investigating the background of Hope McMaster, a New Zealander trying to trace her birth-parents. At the same time, a middle-aged security guard and ex-policewoman buys a child from its uncaring mother in the street. Stories become intertwined, sometimes slightly implausibly so, but as with Atkinson's earlier books, a series of disparate characters whose lives should be entirely separate are brought together by fate. I found the very ending slightly disappointing, but definitely worth going along for the ride.

(Just an aside here, caught up with the television version of earlier books in the series on iPlayer, and although Jason Isaacs wouldn't have been in the frame for Brodie in my imagination, I thought he did an extremely good job; I have to admit to being a longstanding Isaacs fan. I was disappointed with the Edinburgh setting for the first one, as Atkinson did such a brilliant job with Cambridge geography in Case histories.)

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