Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011 books, #116-120

A full dark house, by Christopher Fowler [audiobook]. Read by Tim Goodman. Rearsby, Leics.: Clipper, 2003.

I enjoyed this immensely while it was happening, but found the plot pretty confusing and the motive unclear.  This may well have been due to no fault of the author though - three of the CDs, including the last one, were really badly damaged.  The final disc looked as if it had been deliberately scratched...  This has a dual setting in the early 2000s and in 1940, when Arthur Bryant and his partner in detection John May first meet at the fledgeling Peculiar Crimes Unit.  It has a great deal of humour and period detail; I'll definitely read another, preferring to believe that it's the jumps in the recording rather than the author's skill which was at fault with this one!

The best American mystery stories 2010, edited by Lee Child. Kindle edition.

Well; if these were the best American mystery stories of last year, it wasn't a great year.  There are a couple of gems - Doug Allyn's An early Christmas, Kurt Vonnegut's Ed Luby's key club and Philip Margolin's The house on Pine Terrace are excellent, but the rest were a combination of the confusing, the somewhat unpleasant, the overly gory and the just plain badly written.  

Fell purpose, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles [audiobook]. Read by Terry Wale. Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear: Soundings, 2009.

A young girl's body is found on parkland near Wormwood Scrubs prison.  Fleetingly, Slider's team believe she may have been a prostitute, but it soon turns out that Zellah Wilding was a nice girl from a strict Christian family.  Trying to discover what was happening is steadily more confusing for Slider, as the more he finds out about Zellah, the less he knows.  Excellent vintage Bill Slider, with all the humour and humanity you'd expect.

Open season, by C J Box. Kindle edition.

The first of the Joe Pickett novels - not available on Kindle when I started reading the series.  Joe's daughter tells a tale about a monster who came into their garden the night before - when Joe goes out to reassure her, he finds the bloody body of an outfitter (professional hunter who acts as a guide to amateurs), clutching the handle of an empty cool-box with animal scratch-marks on the inside.  As Joe tries to investigate the murder, all the authorities seem to be against him; he is suspended from his job, and his life and that of his family is threatened.  Box always takes the theme of a good man pushed one step too far; but it's always far more interesting than that.

Betrayal, by Karin Alvtegen [audiobook]. Read by Sophie Ward.  [S.l.]: BBC Audio, 2008.

When Eva discovers her husband is having an affair, she plans her revenge. Before she's able to put her plans into action, she has a one-night stand with a young man who has been keeping vigil beside his much older girlfriend, who has been in a coma for two years.  There's the betrayal of the title in the story, but there's also desperation, and a growing sense of impending disaster.  It's very much in the tradition of the Barbara Vine stories - damaged people coming to a seemingly inevitable collision in the dark.  Not the most cheerful of reading...

1 comment:

littlelixie said...

I would agree about "Full Dark House". I read the book and found it hard to keep track of what was going on and that was with being able to flick back a chapter or two. Can see if I've still got it if you want a lend?