Sunday, March 04, 2012

2012 books, #11-15

Catching up with some more of these.  For some reason, it's really difficult to remember to review books read on the Kindle!

Angle of investigation: three Harry Bosch stories, by Michael Connelly. Kindle edition. 2011.

Another set of promotional stories for The Drop put out for 99p by Connelly, and definitely worth the money!  Stories from different points in Bosch's career.  The first story features repeat robberies in a pawnshop; Bosch and Jerry Edgar find the robber dead, apparently electrocuted, in mysterious circumstances. In the second story, a father is distraught at the death of his disabled son, left in an overheated car in his work parking lot - Bosch's partner Ignacio is convinced there's more to it than the man says. The final, title, story takes place over a long period - Bosch, working open-unsolved cases, comes across the case of the first dead body he saw on the job, that of a woman drowned in a bath with her dog.  Coming back to it with both the experience and modern forensics, he uncovers the almost unthinkable.

In plain sight, by C. J. Box. Kindle edition.

Another Joe Pickett story.  Ranch owner Opal Scarlett disappears - the only people who miss her are her sons Arlen, Hank and Wyatt, who settle their problems by trying to beat each other to death with shovels. Joe's daughter Sheridan is friends with Julie, Opal's grand-daughter, and becomes involved accidentally in the feud.  Meanwhile, a relative of Joe's former foster daughter April is out to track Joe down.  Joe's family, job and life are threatened, and his relationship with Randy Pope, the head of the Wyoming Fish and Game service, seems to be going downhill still further.  Another excellently plotted story which also maintains a lot of the existing relationships and characters.

The hard way, by Lee Child [audiobook]. Read by Jeff Harding. Whitley Bay: Soundings, 2006.

While there's often some humour in the Jack Reacher books, Lee Child excels himself here by transforming the latter half of the action in this book to the UK, and specifically to rural Norfolk.  There's a lot of knowingness here from ex-pat British author Child; scenes where six-and-a-half foot Reacher tries to blend into the landscape in a country pub, or has to drive a Mini Cooper around Hyde Park Corner, are extremely funny while the pressure on the plot is fully maintained.  Excellent novel, and very well read by Jeff Harding, himself an ex-pat American living in the UK for the last couple of decades.

Gamble: a Dick Francis novel, by Felix Francis. London: Michael Joseph, 2011.

The existence of this book is pleasing enough - the previous 4 collaborations between Felix and Dick Francis were right back to the standard of the early Francis novels, and this one is also extremely fine.  It covers well-trodden paths, although this time round the protagonist is an ex-jockey who has gone into a firm of independent financial advisors; but honestly, just saying it's a really good Dick Francis novel is probably enough for aficionados.

Lazybones, by Mark Billingham [audiobook]. Read by Steve Perrin. Rearsby, Leics.: Clipper, 2004.

Someone is killing convicted rapists on their release from prison; and one of the difficulties for the police is actually caring about the victims.  Tom Thorne struggles with this as much as his officers do, until he finds a genuine victim in the case.  This really does go for the hairpin bends at the end of the book and the ending is definitely pretty surprising!

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