Saturday, August 31, 2013

2013 books, #71-75

My father and other working-class football heroes, by Gary Imlach. London: Yellow Jersey Press, 2006.

This is a wonderful book.  Gary's father Stewart Imlach played in a cup-winning team for Notts Forest, and in a World Cup for Scotland, in the 1950s.  After Stewart's death, Gary realises that he knows much too little about his father's life and times, and goes to investigate.  What results is a picture of English and Scottish football of the 1950s and early 60s, and the vast gulf between these professionals and contemporary footballers. Gary Imlach is an excellent sports journalist, particularly known for his cycling coverage, and managed to draw me in to that sport; it shouldn't really be a surprise that he had me completely absorbed by football half a century ago, but this is definitely one for anyone interested in social history or family research, whether interested in football or not.

Compulsion, by Jonathan Kellerman [audiobook]. Read by Jeff Harding. Oxford: Isis, 2008.

Really couldn't get into this one, and thought the plot was a bit of a mess.  Jeff Harding's reading meant I'd go through to the end with it, but really, I couldn't do a proper summary of this one.  If you like Alex and Milo working as a team, it's probably an OK one, but I couldn't get enthusiastic about it...

A faint cold fear, by Karin Slaughter. London: Arrow, 2004.

Sara Linton is called to the local college campus to examine the body of a young man who has apparently jumped off a bridge into the lake; while Sara is engaged in this, her heavily-pregnant sister Tessa is brutally attacked. Sara and estranged husband Jeffrey investigate, but their task isn't helped by former policewoman Lena Adams, now a security guard from the college, who appears to be hiding things.  Very good, tightly-plotted novel; one slight whinge is the late discovery of something the readers couldn't have been expected to guess (is there a technical word for this?), but the result is satisfying enough that this isn't overly annoying...

Savage moon, by Chris Simms [audiobook]. Read by Toby Longworth. Bath: BBC/Chivers, 2008.

I was beginning to think I'd gone off audiobooks after several I couldn't really concentrate on; not this one, though.  Something, or someone, is killing and savaging people in the Saddleworth Moor area where there have been mysterious sightings of a large black cat. The victims are found with their throats ripped out and clutching long black hairs. DI Jon Spicer is unconvinced by the big cat theory, and finds himself hunting down a killer; meanwhile, he's worried about his wife, who is becoming obsessed by civilian deaths in Iraq and may not be coping with their new baby. Toby Longworth's reading is as good as you'd expect from this veteran of the BBC radio theatre company.

Bruno, chief of police, by Martin Walker. London: Quercus, 2008.

I heard about this series on Radio 4's Food programme, due to the concentration there is on the food of the area. When that area's Périgord, it makes for excellent reading and eating...  At first, I wondered if this series was going to be rather like the Hamish Macbeth books; but there's a harder edge to these, both in subject-matter and in a lack of romanticism where it matters.  The local mayor, for instance, could be a comic figure, but turns out to be an énarque with his fingers in many important political pies; and the eventual dénouement of the plot is buried deep in France's history of racial and political tension. I'll certainly be reading more of these; it's an area I love and there are some very engaging characters here.

1 comment:

Lixie said...

I have jumped onto Amazon and bought the Kindle edition of that Bruno one. Looks rather interesting. Have you read Cuckoo Calling (the JK Rowling under a different name one)? Possibly I am reading it because you said it was ok! In case it wasn't you it's actually not bad. I'm not a Potter fan so was mildly concerned but I'm quite caught up in the story. Only half way through though...