Tag Archives: mystery

November’s reading…

The only thing I read in full was a re-read of Jilly Cooper’s Players.   I first read the book years ago, and found a used copy a couple of years ago at a library sale.  It’s one of those books that has not aged well IMO.  It’s very much a product of its time (late 80s/early 90s), with a very specific setting and characters (English monied set and wannabes).  It felt extremely dated in the way that episodes of Dallas, Dynasty, and the like (80s soap operas about wealthy people) would be.  One of the romance storylines was actually kind of squick-inducing.  Eh, into the bin as part of The Great Book Purge of 2013.

Also in November, I read more of Garry Disher’s Whispering Death, which I liked.  But I didn’t finish it until yesterday, so it goes into December’s book count.

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Latest victims of The Great Book Purge

T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton.  This book had a $1 sticker on it, and I’m pretty sure I picked it up from a B&N remainder bin.  I used to read Grafton regularly and she was an autobuy through K but then she sort of fell off my radar for a variety of reasons related to the publishing industry rather than the books themselves.  This installment included the POV (3d person) of the Bad Guy, which was notable for the series.  The pace felt extremely slow to the point that I set the book aside a couple of times and probably wouldn’t have bothered to finish it in other circumstances.

Sacred by Dennis Lehane.  Why haven’t I read more by him?  Really liked this early installment of the Kenzie-Gennaro series.  And it’s a UBS find based on the handwritten price on the inside flap.

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Chelsea Cain & Laura Lippman

Possibly of interest to mystery fans: last week’s podcast at Bitch Media includes interviews or other participation with Chelsea Cain and Laura Lippman. 😀

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What I think I know

A mystery author I’ve enjoyed in the past has a new book out, but I’m wibbling about buying a copy.  While I like the author’s voice and style, the set up of the novel seems unlikely and inconsistent with the character as previously established.

The narrator and main character is not a nice person.  She’s a violent woman who has seen and done some brave, daring, crazy things.  As established in earlier books, she has little or no respect for formal law enforcement and is prone to taking “justice” into her own hands in the form of execution.  I have no problem with these things in the context of those books.  But I’m supposed to believe that she is now an FBI agent?  And that a lot of rules were bent to let her become one because she was such a desirable candidate?

That’s just…stretching the bounds of credulity a little far for me.  I’m having a hard time imagining her passing the psych evaluations at minimum.  Beyond that…the FBI agents I’ve known (not many and not well but through work) may be utter badasses beneath their buttoned-down exteriors but they aren’t violent drunks with enough daddy and anger issues to fill a steamer trunk to the brim.

Eh, too many other books out there to read.  Maybe later.  Or maybe not.

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Adding ages up

Just started a Victorian-set mystery by a new-to-me author. The main character, readers are told, is “perhaps forty”. His best friend and childhood companion is a lady “just past thirty”.

That seems a little odd. Would a young boy be best friends with a girl nearly ten years younger? Later in life perhaps but as a boy?

Then readers are told that the MC’s older brother had been in love with her as a young man, after the MC left Harrow but before Oxford.

If the MC is nearly 10 years older, his older brother would be more. Would an older-than-18 year old ever be in love with an 8 year old?

Or is the narrator being tactful about a lady of a certain age?

Color me confused.

Add to that the premise of the investigation (the lady – a countess by marriage – being close with a housemaid who had left her service) and I’m at the tipping point for DNF’ing this book.

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Added to the TBR

The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Ericksson.  Swedish thriller.  I wasn’t planning on buying this but the trade paperback was on sale for $9.99 (plus 10% off).

The Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch.  Victorian mystery.  Same as above.

Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George.  Paranormal YA mystery, first of a series.

~~~

Realized that the thing I loved best about Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series is the very distinct voice of the narrator and its very specific sense of place:  the books are jammed full of the history and geography of London, and Peter is a Londoner born and bred.  It’s urban fantasy and one review calls it a cross between Harry Potter and CSI, which is kind of true but also not, because it’s really unlike anything else I’ve read. (Not that I’ve read that widely.)  Magic exists next to mundane, as in Harry Potter, but it’s a different type of magic-work; and to call what Peter and his governor, Nightingale, do forensics is really not right — they are detectives, the same as other detectives, just using slightly different means.  Still, I love the series.

 

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Call Me Princess by Sara Blaedel

Translation (c) 2011 by Erik J. Macki, Tara F. Chase

Published in the US by Pegasus, a Simon & Schuster imprint

Wandering around Barnes & Noble over the weekend, I gathered up several books to check out and possibly buy.  Most of the books I picked up were on my “check out” list, but the cover and title of this one caught my eye.  Even before I read the summary, the quote from Camilla Lackberg sold me on the book.  (It just happens that this is the only book I bought — the others are going to be library books.)

An online flirtation can have horrific consequences, as Detective Inspector Louise Rick discovers when she is called to an idyllic Copenhagen neighborhood where a young woman has been left bound and gagged after a profoundly brutal rape attack.  Susanne Hansson met her rapist on a popular dating website; reading the assailant is trolling the site for his next target, Louise is determined to cut hi off at the pass.  But then a new victim is found — dead this time — and the case becomes even more complex when Susanne attempts suicide.  From scanning seemingly innocent singles’ profiles to exploring a digital window on the city’s dark and dangerous nightlife, to understanding a troubled mother-daughter relationship, Louise races to uncover the shocking truth behind the crimes.

Call Me Princess is an enjoyable, quickly-paced procedural novel.  It’s a thriller, in the sense that rapist-killer is being hunted, but it didn’t feel oppressive in the way that thrillers often can.  The material — violent rape and the ramifications, along with the difficulty of investigating and prosecuting the crime — is heavy and dark, yet the books doesn’t ever bog down.  Blaedel balances Rick’s personal observations and involvement in the case with the procedural aspects, along with what’s going on in her personal life.

I thought the subject matter was very timely and current.  Most people I know, single, divorced, widowed, everyone who has been uncoupled for any period time in the last decade or so, has eventually tried online dating; among the women, security/risk of it is something they are extremely conscious of, especially after reading horror stories in the news (because of course the Very Bad Dates get press but the average or good dates do not).  Blaedel uses Rick’s personal life as a reflection point for the dating scene generally — she feels safe, but is she? — and also the online dating experience of another character as a foil to the victims’ suffering and the online trolling Rick does in a professional capacity.  It works very well, I thought, the triangulation of the failed online date, the apparently successful online date, and the apparently successful not-online relationship.

Blaedel’s website (in Danish) includes a booklist that places Call Me Princess as second in the Rick series, so I’m curious about the degree of involvement/development of other characters in the first and subsequent books.  The other book available in English, Only One Life, is actually the third book of the series.  I hope all the books get translated eventually, particularly the first one. (Why do publishers translate and publish series out of order?  It’s frustrating for mildly OCDish people like me who really need to read series in order.)

I’ll definitely be reading more from this author, as quickly as it’s translated and published in English.

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