Saturday, October 08, 2011

Reading matters

A new Ian Rankin is always welcome. And as usual it was a great read. A.N.Wilson has this to say of the book...

"After the wonderfully gloomy Rebus novels, we now have Ian Rankin's second great sleuth: DI Malcolm Fox, who investigates bent coppers. Here, he's in Fife checking out a possible police cover-up when he unearths an extraordinary story of terrorism in the Kirkcaldy of the 1980s. This is vintage Rankin, a five-star crime novel by an author at the height of his powers. After reading it, you'll never look at the SNP in the same light again."

And so the story and its political setting was of particular interest to me given that my own work in progress hints at significant mischief which could follow a Scottish declaration of independence.

It is quite a long time since I have posted under this headline, not since the end of July. There are now over two dozen paperbacks on the floor under my coffee table... read, but not mentioned in the blog. Up to now when I have posted about some of my reads I have moved the books in question out into my wee hallway where they get stacked up against the wall. There they await an ultimate disposal which will most likely be transport to the local Oxfam shop since nobody here in Munich trades in second-hand English-language thrillers.

I suppose I have not blogged about those books on the floor because none did more than fill two or three evenings. Pulling out a first pile from under the table I note that twelve are the work of reliable journeymen (and women) who have... well, done their job, I guess. I am unsure how much I enjoy my Scandinavians, Camilla Lackberg (The Hidden Child) and Jo Nesbo (The Redbreast)... I find the tricky Swedish and Norwegian place names tend to make the reading tiresome on occasion. J.A.Jance has been around a long time but her Fatal Error, published this year, was my introduction to her work. Noteworthy is that I read it in a single sitting. But that was because I started it sitting outdoors on one of our Indian summer afternoons and continued when I got home. 

Belinda Bauer is an up-and-coming writer, winning the Gold Dagger for the Best Crime Novel of 2010 with her first novel. I greatly enjoyed the atmospherics and the original characters in her second book, Dark Side 

Ann Cleeves' Silent Voices is also a 2011 release. Her Vera Stanhope is a wonderfully tormented Detective Inspector, in the words of an Amazon reviewer "a wholly original character. Vera is an unattractive, overweight, uncouth middle-aged woman who is also one of the most intelligent, cunning and ruthless police detectives you're bound to come across. Who could resist that combination? She cheerfully manages to anger most people she comes in contact with - suspects and colleagues alike." Great fun!

So on to the final volumes to be moved to the hall... Nine I feel no need to cite. 

Another Philip Kerr again riffs on the Third Reich to good effect in Hitler's Peace, Henning Mankell with Inspector Wallander's final case (The Troubled Man) contributes further to my indecision about Scandinavian noir.

Raphael Cardetti lives in Paris, where he is a professor of Italian (specialising in the Renaissance) at the University. Death in the Latin Quarter is his first novel to be published in English. Clearly with such a title I was bound to buy the book and I had no regrets whatsoever.

[Now the dust-bunnies under my coffee table have nothing to read![

One final mention... Panic by Jeff Abbott. On his own website the writer has this to say...

"I am thrilled to announce that my first young adult novel will be published in the United Kingdom on July 7, 2011. For my first book for teens, I have taken one of my most popular novels, Panic, and transformed its hero, Evan Casher, into a sixteen-year old boy. Evan is a student who discovers that everything in his life... his parents, his girlfriend, his worst enemy... is a lie. I had a fantastic time re-imagining the world of Panic... a book rewritten from the ground up with new villains, new dangers, and new challenges.  Now Evan Casher is a desperate but brave teenager fighting to avenge his mother, save his father, and discover the truth about his life."

Huh? 'Young adult'...  'for teens'... Now I stopped counting as a teenager in 1960! And of course I only consult the web after finishing a book and so had no idea that this was a re-worked narrative. It was one I enjoyed hugely, unlike many Amazon reviews who were distinctly unimpressed. 

And in spite of my half-century of distance from Abbott's target readership. How bizarre!


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