Saturday, July 14, 2012

2012 books, #61-65

Get her off the pitch!, by Lynne Truss [audiobook].  Read by Lynne Truss.  Bath: Chivers, [n.d.]

Lynne Truss tells the story of her four years as a sports reporter for the Times in the late 1990s, often hilariously but with genuine emotion.  She illustrates the point Andy Miller was making in his book that if you find out about a sport, you'll often end up falling in love with it anyway.  And there's genuine passion there, sometimes when she's criticising aspects of a sport such as football which she loves. One of those authors who really should read her own work.

Death toll, by Jim Kelly [audiobook]. Read by Roger May. Oxford: Isis, 2011.

When a cemetery at King's Lynn is removed to higher ground due to flooding, a young black man's skeleton is found in a local landlady's grave.  Who is he, and when was he put into the 28-year-old grave?  What are the landlady's family hiding, and what lengths will the murderer go to to cover his tracks?  Some very good characters here, not least an utterly unpleasant racist who sounds like someone Kelly might have actually met.

One day, by David Nicholls.  London: Hodder, 2009.

Emma and Dexter have sex on the night after their graduation, the day before they separate and go their separate ways.  This book tracks that night, the 15th July, through their lives.  Emma plugs on in the usual sort of path, Dexter becomes a children's TV presenter, but they remain inextricably in touch through ups, downs, catastrophic relationships, mental breakdowns and triumphs.   When Harry Met Sally, it ain't; but it has some of the same fascination.   Being roughly the same age as the protagonists helps too - some of the cultural references made me laugh out loud.  This was a book group book; other people disliked Dex a lot more than I did.  I found this book unputdownable though, and not only because I had left my usual not-quite-enough-time to read it... 

Gone, by Mo Hayder. London: Bantam, 2010.

Someone is jacking cars with young girls in the back of them, and is then terrorising their families with notes and worse; Jack Caffery and Flea Marley investigate.  Caffery and Marley both have a fair amount of mental baggage, and so do the families whose children have been taken.  This is very tensely plotted throughout and really does rattle along.  I think the most interesting moment for me was the process by which the criminal is finally identified; not something I've ever seen in a detective novel, and yet something so blindingly obvious with a serial offender that you wonder why it's not standard practice!  I don't normally read two books by the same author back-to-back, but I realised I had Ritual, the book before this in the Caffery series, in the to-read pile so have started that one...

Midwinter sacrifice, by Mons Kallentoft. London: Hodder, 2012.

Malin Fors is called out on a cold midwinter morning to witness a huge man's naked body hanging from a tree outside Linköping; there's no indication of how the man got there, and it takes some time even to make an identification.  Rather like Death toll, this death has happened in the heart of a very closed community, among families with secrets they're unwilling to give up that easily.  Fors and her choir-singing partner Zeke have to dig into family history to find the truth.  Meanwhile Fors's 13-year-old daughter Tove is proving something of a worry, and her estranged partner Janne isn't helping...  Interestingly, I wouldn't have known whether the author was male or female without Camilla Läckberg pointing it out in a review on the back cover - a male author with a female protagonist.  This is the first of the books but another seems to be available.

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