Sunday, August 13, 2017

2017 books, #21-25

Dominion, by CJ Sansom [audiobook]. Read by Daniel Weyman.  Rearsby, Leics.: Clipper, 2012.

It's 1952 and Britain is twelve years into Nazi rule under Lord Beaverbrook, Winston Churchill is leader of the Resistance and the British Jews are being rounded up for deportation to camps on the Isle of Wight.  Civil servant David Fitzgerald is recruited to the Resistance and asked to break scientist Frank Muncaster, an old school friend, out of the mental hospital in Birmingham where he has been confined after being accused of killing his brother.  This is very cleverly done - you find yourself thinking aaaah every now and then as another piece of the alternative world slots into place - and a good read.  Daniel Weyman narrates this very competently and reminds me that a well-read audiobook is a very satisfying thing indeed.

Silence, by Shusaku Endo. London: Picador, 2015. Originally published in 1966.

Portuguese priest Sebastian Rodrigues sets sail for Japan in 1640 to help the suppressed Christians there; and to find out what has happened to his former mentor who is rumoured to have renounced his faith under torture. Rodrigues is idealistic, but life in Japan gradually brings him to the realisation that although there are still faithful people there, his presence is as much of a danger as a comfort to them.  This was... interesting... but really, if you want to read an account of a priest examining his usefulness in a hostile environment, you'd be better off with Greene's Power and the Glory.  There's a curious lack of detail about daily life in 17th century Japan to distinguish this from the Greene, too.

The wrong side of goodbye, by Michael Connelly. London: Orion, 2016.

A Harry Bosch book; and a good one. Bosch is working for the cold case unit in San Fernando, California, as a retired volunteer detective, and also doing private investigations on the side.  He is summoned to a meeting with a billionaire aerospace company owner who is at the end of his life, and tortured by the idea that he may have a living heir.  Bosch makes progress quite quickly despite worries about the people who might be interested in his not finding out about living relatives; but at the same time, the "cold case" he's working on, a series of rapes, suddenly starts to heat up again with another suspected attack.  This is very good indeed, even by Connelly's usual standards; having read much less than usual this year for whatever reason, I raced through this in a day and really enjoyed it.

Strangers on a train, by Patricia Highsmith. London: Vintage, 1999. Originally published in 1950.

Guy Haines and Charles Bruno meet on a long-distance train; after a night of drinking, Bruno proposes that he dispose of Haines's troublesome estranged wife, in exchange for Guy killing Bruno's hated father.  It would, he suggests, be the perfect crime as both would be entirely motiveless. Haines shrugs it off as a chance encounter; but then he leaves a book in Bruno's train carriage with his address in it, and creates a disturbing link between them...  I'd forgotten quite how compelling this thriller really was; it seems much more modern than something written in 1950, and most of us in my book group found it unputdownable once we'd started to read it. Very glad to have read it again.

Gun Street girl, by Adrian McKinty. London: Serpent's Tail, 2015.

Sean Duffy has what looks like a double murder and suicide to deal with. But as ever, he seems to be determined to make it as complicated as possible, at least in the eyes of his superiors.  The more information he turns up about the suspect, the less convinced he is by the initial view of the case.  And then a mysterious American agent, and MI5, turn up on his doorstep.  This series continues to be extremely engaging.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I absolutely adored Dominion - I've recommended it to so many people! The reader was excellent, too, not getting between me and the story like some do. It was just all unrolling in my head as I stitched, and I was right there in the middle of the action, heart thumping (or breaking).