Friday, February 27, 2009

Serial Killer Fix

Much as I've enjoyed many of the books I've read over the lst month or so, something has been missing. I've been in need of a good serial killer fix. Now, some of you may disagree, but as far as I'm concerned no-one does serial killer fiction like the Americans. I like British crime fiction, I like a bit of European crime fiction now and again, but for a really good serial killer you need to cross the pond.

So, I picked up a little selection on Sunday at a car boot sale - all authors I'd never read before - and settled down for a good fix of serial mayhem.

The first book off the pile, though it looked like a crime novel from the cover, turned out to be a romantic novel in disguise. The Murder Ballad by Jane Hill (she's British!) was a sheep in wolf's clothing. It was about a woman who meets an American folk singer, marries him with undue haste and moves to the backwoods of North Carolina with him. Unsurprisingly he turns out to have a few skeletons in his closet. It wasn't a bad book, and once I was resigned to the fact that there was ne'er a serial killer in sight, I kept going and enjoyed it in a half-hearted sort of way. Having just watched and loved the BBC's Folk Americana series I was interested in the old ballads that were mentioned throughout the plot, but you never got all the words or all the story. If you wanted to read a better book about traditional music (though these are set in Tennessee, not Carolina) then you should take a look at Sharyn McCrumb's Ballad series, and in particular, The Songcatcher (which seems sadly to be out of print in the UK). It charts the passing down of a song though the generations of a family. Much better fare.

Still on my quest for sequential murder I picked up The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe. This is actually set in Canada, not the US of A, but at least it has a killer, and he's onto his fourth (and I'm not even half way yet) so that definitely makes it a series. I'm liking the main character who is, unlike most detectives in this genre, a lady in her sixties living with her ageing mother. So far so good. This is different enough to pass muster, but it has those familiar markers common to the genre - mysterious killer (probably a sociopath), experienced police chief, rookie cop. Suits me.

1 comment:

Maxine Clarke said...

You know, the book that has been on my shelf unread the longest is by Jane Hill! I think it is called Grevious Angel. Perhaps I should actually just get down and read it. Do you find that there comes a time when if you haven't read a book, it never gets read? I'd love to be in a situation where I don't have a book backlog, but I never have been and don't suppose I ever will be....