Saturday, November 19, 2011

2011 books, #111-115

Carved in bone, by Jefferson Bass. London: Quercus, 2008.

The first of the Body Farm novels; I was a bit worried that I'd spoiled myself by reading later books first, but there's much more to this than a case which comes up later. A corpse is found in a cave in a backwoods county of Tennessee, preserved in adipose state, and with a dog-tag around her neck. Bill Brockton is brought in to find out how she died and when, but after threats are made he becomes intrigued as to who the woman is and what her story might be. This does absolutely nothing to challenge some of the 'southern redneck' stereotypes, but many of Bass's characters tend not to lend themselves to typecasting.

No second chance, by Harlen Coben [audiobook]. Read by George Wilson. [S. l.]: Recorded Books, 2004.

This reminded me (in a good way) of Coben's other book Tell No-One. Marc Seidman wakes up in hospital to be told his wife is dead and his 6-month-old daughter Tara has been kidnapped. A ransom drop for the child fails after her grandfather involves the police, and it seems that Marc's sister Stacey was also involved. 18 months later, another ransom note is sent, and Marc and former girlfriend and FBI agent Rachel set out to try to find Tara. There are so many twists and turns in this book, particularly towards the end, that it's slightly dizzying; and I'm not completely sure how convinced I am of the eventual outcome, but it's definitely worth hopping on for the ride.

Dead man's grip, by Peter James. London: Macmillan, 2011.

The latest Roy Grace novel, and a good one. A student is hit by a white van while riding down the wrong side of the road to university, and falls under the wheels of an articulated lorry. Meanwhile, a solicitor on her way to work takes evasive action, ends up hitting a café wall and subsequently tests positive on a morning-after breathalyser. So far, so tragic - but the student is from a New York mafia family, and their rules are somewhat different. Meanwhile Grace is dealing both with Cleo having problems in pregnancy, and trying to have his long-lost wife Sandy declared dead. This all wraps up pretty satisfactorily in terms of the plots for this book, but the characters' ongoing personal circumstances are going to continue to make for good reading in future books.

Free-range knitter, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Kansas City, Miss.: Andrews McMeel, 2008.

Christmas and birthday books always seem not to be read straight away - I think it's the 'having a new hardback and keeping it for best' syndrome... I started this book and for some reason put it back down in the pile, which is a shame, because it's vintage Yarn Harlot - witty, insightful and occasionally very moving. It's a bunch of short essays which talk about knitting's place in a knitter's life, bite-size pieces but there's always something which makes you want to stop and think.

Dead run, by P J Tracy. London: Penguin, 2005.

Four Corners is a pretty dead town in northern Wisconsin even before it is literally a dead town when a milk tanker full of poison gas overturns, killing all life; and Grace MacBride, Annie Belinski and Sharon Muller are heading straight into the area, on their way to help the Green Bay police. Another cracking plot, and the development of the relationships between the characters is part buddy-movie, part Stephanie Plum, and extremely touching and funny.

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