Sunday, April 28, 2013

2013 books, #31-35

Entombed, by Linda Fairstein [audiobook]. Read by Barbara Rosenblat. Rearsby, Leics: WF Howes, 2004.

This was excellent; while Barbara Rosenblat's reading will make the phonebook sound good, this is a really well-written, tight thriller which makes you care about the characters.  In this case, attendees at a lawyers' dinner accidentally become privy to the discovery of a walled-in skeleton in a house once inhabited by Edgar Allan Poe.  It's a good twisting and turning plot with a lot of info on Poe and his circle.  I'll be looking for more in this series.

The man who ate the world: in search of the perfect dinner, by Jay Rayner [audiobook]. Read by the author.  Rearsby, Leics.: Clipper/WF Howes, 2008.

Rayner tells the story of how, several years after he became a restaurant critic, a chef told him that Michelin *** restaurants exist only so that the very rich can eat the same food all over the world.  Determined to prove the chef wrong, Rayner travels the world to find the perfect meal.  We have accounts of restaurants in Las Vegas, Dubai, London, Tokyo and Paris, some truly epic meals, some local colour, a bit of a discussion of the food blogosphere and a lot of very funny commentary.  The author's a great reader with very good comic timing, and this is a fun read even if you, like me, will probably never be able to afford to eat in the establishments described...

Valentine Grey, by Sandi Toksvig. London: Virago, 2012.

Valentine Grey hates England in 1897, arriving after an idyllic childhood in India with her father.  The only bright spot is her exciting but irresponsible cousin Reggie and his theatrical friends.  When a volunteer brigade is created to support the troops in the Boer War, Reggie's father signs him up, to Reggie's horror. Valentine decides to save both of them by dressing in Reggie's uniform and joining the bicycle corps.  Both of them find that "freedom" has its price; Reggie's life as a gay man in Victorian London is as confining as the army, and Valentine learns the horror of war.  This is an extraordinary book, both moving and very funny, and with genuine anger about both war and prejudice.

One false move, by Harlen Coben. London: Orion, 2004.  Originally published 1998.

A Myron Bolitar book; and well up to the usual standard.  Myron is conned into looking after rising basketball star Brenda Slaughter, on the basis that he can become her agent. But Brenda's father goes missing, and somehow, someone has links with organised crime.  Myron's life, business and relationship are all at risk, and his compulsion to discover the secret just drive him into more trouble.

Raven black, by Anne Cleeves. London: Pan, 2006.

I gather this is the first of the novels on which the recent mini-series Shetland was based; but it's difficult to tell this other than by the name of the detective.  A young girl, Catherine Ross, is discovered dead in a snowy field, strangled with her own scarf.  There is one obvious suspect, an elderly learning disabled man in the next cottage along, but when the mainland police arrive to investigate they're determined to keep a more open mind than the locals.  There's also an echo of the disappearance of young Catriona Bruce years before, and this opens up long-sealed resentments and family secrets.  I really didn't see the dénouement of this book coming!  I'll definitely be reading the others in this series and Cleeves's other books.


Anonymous said...

'Shetland' was actually based on the book 'Red Bones'

Mary deB said...

*The* Sandi Toksvig? I didn't know she wrote anything, having only seen her on QI! Now I shall see what I can find -- sounds good!

Tracy said...

Agree with you on the Harlan Coben, he's such a consistent writer and I just love Sandi, I could listen to her talk all day! I'm keen to read Anne Cleeves but I'll just have to wait until I move as I can't allow any more books in yet :) Hope you're well Liz.