Sunday, July 28, 2013

2013 books, #56-60

Garment of shadows, by Laurie R. King. London: Allison and Busby, 2012.

I did enjoy The pirate king on first reading, checking back... But was extremely glad to see Russell casting off her actor friends and getting back to the plot in this book.  There's a slight stretching of credulity at the beginning when Russell develops amnesia, but it does prod the plot along, and gets them back to Middle Eastern derring-do; this time in 1925 Morocco.  Couple of nice plot twists, and some detail of the actual politics of the period.  Good enjoyable read...  This one also contains the novella Beekeeping for beginners  which was published as a Kindle standalone; reviewed it earlier this year.

Murder in the Sentier, by Cara Black. New York: Soho, 2002.

Another intrepid female protagonist here in Aimée Leduc, computer consultant and private investigator.  When an ex-convict appears claiming to have shared a cell with Aimée's mother, who walked out on the family when Aimée was eight, our girl's understandably curious.  When the woman is found dead shortly afterwards, and there are links to a 1970s terror group, Aimée has to investigate; sometimes in a series of very unlikely outfits.  I really enjoy these books because the Paris geography is just so excellent; you can walk these books with the map provided in the front, and the atmosphere is spot on.  The only thing which jarred in this one was the slightly lame naming of some of the organisations.  If the author had used two German surnames, rather than calling the terrorist group "Haader-Rofmein", or had a generic left-wing publishing house rather than using "Tallimard", it would all have been seamless.

A belated catchup on what I read on holiday: books read on the Kindle don't have to go back to the library or head off to the charity shop, so they don't get reviewed.

A textbook case, by Jeffery Deaver. Kindle edition.

This is a novella to introduce The Kill Room, Deaver's newest Lincoln Rhyme novel; and it was an excellent hour or so's read.  Although I've enjoyed Deaver's short stories before, something about the shorthand in the writing about characters we know well somehow jarred; but his complete mastery of a plot kicked in.  And there are some interesting medical teasers for the next book too (I'm hoping to get hold of it from the library in the next couple of weeks).

The Lewis man, by Peter May. Kindle edition.

The second of this trology. Fin MacLeod has cut ties with the mainland and moved back to Lewis permanently, but can't resist the urge to investigate when a body is found by peat-cutters; the theory that it's a prehistoric bog burial is put paid to when the corpse turns out to be sporting an Elvis tattoo.  The body is DNA tested and is found to be closely related to Marsaili, Fin's childhood girlfriend; but Marsaili's father Tormod has always said he was an only child... Tormod is now deep in the throes of dementia, and parts of the narrative show his confusion; Fin has his work cut out to piece together the life story.  Gripping, like the first part...

The ides of April, by Lindsey Davis. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2013.

Taglined Falco: the new generation, which made me worry.  Shouldn't have, of course - Flavia Albia is a marvellous character.  Davis has wisely taken the action a few years forward, and made Flavia a young widow with an office in Falcon Court, under the reign of Domitian which is considerably more sinister than that of Vespasian.  Helena Justina and Falco himself appear as shadowy figures in the background, but the stage is largely left clear for this feisty, articulate investigator.  There's one "could have seen it coming a mile off" element to the plot, but it really doesn't matter; with any luck, this is the first of many in this new series.  I was sad when Davis announced she'd come to the end of the line with Marcus Didius, but this is a worthy successor.

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