Sunday, September 20, 2009

Booky update

I've managed to fit in a few books since my last post. I finished The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly. It was good, as you would expect from a writer of Connelly's quality but legal thrillers are never really going to hit the spot for me. I liked finding out a bit more about Harry Bosch though and even Jack McEvoy put in an appearance.

Then I read Tempting Evil by Alison Brennan. This was for my crime reading group, though I didn't manage to get there to discuss it. Probably just as well. It was a thriller of a sort that I particularly dislike - a beautiful and talented main character, stalked by a psychopathic prison escapee, saved by an incredibly handsome and charming sherriff. Apparently this is part of a series she's written, all around prison breaks. Can't say I'll be seeking out any more of them. It wasn't particularly well-written and it had a gratuitous graphic sex scene towards the end that almost caused it to be hurled across the room (except it was a library book so I couldn't do that). There was no empathy with the characters and nothing surprising or original about it at all. Oh, and I still have no idea what relevance the title has to the book.

For a bit of a change I then read Touching Distance by Rebecca Abrams. This is a novel set in Aberdeen in the 1790s and is about a doctor who is trying to solve the mystery of why so many women are dying just after they've given birth. There's a lot of medical stuff in here but it's all fascinating. Alec Gordon is the doctor in question and he's fighting against the establishment, and against the ignorance and traditions of the local midwives. He's got a pregnant wife himself and is desperate to discover the cause so his wife won't be in danger too. I'd highly recommend this book for the excellent writing, period detail, fantastic sense of place and interesting characters.

While I was in Scotland (bookwise at least) I went a bit further north and devoured Red Bones by Ann Cleeves. This is the third in her Shetland quartet and it's a cracker. This book focusses more on Jimmy Perez's sidekick Sandy as the death that opens the book is that of his grandmother. Sandy is drafted in for his local knowledge of Whalsay, a very small island community that, of course, has secrets aplenty. I really liked the way Cleeves developed Sandy's character in this book and let us see Perez through Sandy's eyes. As usual there is the high quality plot and a wonderful sense of the remoteness and otherness of the Shetlands. I love this series.

Quite by chance just as I had finished Red Bones I got hold of a copy of Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton, also set on Shetland. This however is a very different place from Cleeves' islands. Tora Hamilton is a consultant surgeon recently moved to the islands with her Shetlander husband. She's digging a pit to bury her dead horse (as you do) when she finds a woman's body. There are Nordic runes carved into the body, just like the ones on a fireplace in Tora's cellar. Everyone keeps tells her to leave well alone but Tora can't help but get drawn into the investigation. I liked this. I'm not sure I'd like to live in her Shetland though - full of suspicion and corruption and prejudice. The plot's good though and the characters are mostly believable. I would certainly read another of her's.

Now I'm reading The Incendiary's Trail by James McCreet. I've only just started it, so it's a bit early to tell but it's off to a good start. It's set in Victorian London and seems to have an authentic feel and an interesting detective. More on that later.

Tomorrow I will be playing with lumps of wood and probably swearing a lot as I try and assemble the loom I bought. It arrived yesterday and currently resembles an explosion in an Ikea factory. It came with no directions and doesn't seem to be the same model as the downloaded directions I've got off the internet. Should be fun.

1 comment:

Maxine Clarke said...

Of the books you've noted here, I loved Brass Verdict (being a huge MC fan) and I agree totally with YOUR verdict (ha!) on Red Bones. I also liked Sacrifice, though I found the conspiracy, when finally revealed, somewhat hard to believe. (also too drawn-out in the final sections). I think I read an Alison Brennan book once too and had exactly the same reaction as you.

Good luck with the loom! Scariest thing in this post ;-)