Monday, March 18, 2013

2013 books, #16-20

The last witness, by Joel Goldman.  Part of the Dead times four anthology, available for the Kindle.

Wilson "Blues" Bluestone, ex-cop, blues-bar-owner and friend of Lou Mason, is arrested for the murder of prominent local politician Jack Cullan.  It's pretty obvious that there's no real will to go looking for another suspect, so Mason realises he'll have to track down the truth himself.   Even Blues's ex-partner Harry is convinced to Blues's guilt.  Lou enters the world of dirty politics, dirty law-enforcement and dirty justice to try to dig down to the truth.

Cold truth, by Joel Goldman.  Part of the Dead times four anthology, available for the Kindle.

A talk-show psychotherapist is thrown out of a 6th-floor window in the Kansas City business district.  The obvious suspect is Jordan Hackett, disturbed daughter of the radio-station's owners; and as ever, Lou Mason is engaged as the lawyer in a seemingly hopeless situation.  Jordan herself isn't the most helpful of clients, particularly when she confesses to the murder and then recants.  This is a wonderfully complex story with lots of action scenes, and a bit of romance; perfect roller-coaster entertainment with some interesting social points thoughtfully made.

Deadlocked, by Joel Goldman. Part of the Dead times four anthology, available for the Kindle.

Lou Mason witnesses an execution by virtue of giving an old friend, the arresting officer in the case, a lift to the jail.  After the execution, both the mother of the executed man and the son of his two victims ask Mason to sue the other co-defendant, a man acquitted of the crimes, who is now a prominent local businessman.  Mason puts his relationship and his life on the end to try and determine the truth.  I'm very sad that there only seem to be four of these novels as Mason's an engaging character and this series could run further; with any luck, the Kindle anthology might prove successful enough for the author to write another one.

Capital, by John Lanchester. Kindle edition.

The inhabitants of Pepys Road are surprised by the launching of a campaign of postcards featuring the front doors of their houses with the message "We Want What You Have".   As each card arrives, we find a little more about the people and lives in this largely-gentrified London street; the old lady who was born in the house she lives in (and her Banksyesque grandson), the nouveau riches, the banking couple with the nanny, the Polish builder, the Asian corner shop owners and the young footballer from Senegal, his father and his agent, the Zimbabwean traffic warden who walks the street...  Every situation has its interesting points and there's an intertwining of people's lives.  The panoramic scope of the novel means that there's sometimes a lack of depth, but it's a fascinating read for all that.

Bad pharma, by Ben Goldacre [audiobook]. Read by Jot Davies. Rearsby, Leics.: Clipper, 2012.

A fascinating and very scary discussion of the pharmaceutical industry from the point of view of doctor and investigative writer Goldacre, which explains the testing procedure, publishing tendencies and modus operandi  of the industry, and why the newest, shiniest drug is very often far from being the best one.  It's explained in language that anyone reasonably intelligent can understand, even without any prior knowledge of the drugs and conditions involved, without being patronising.  Must find out what else he's written.

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