Current Reading, May 25-31, 2015

cat-among-the-pigeonsI was in the mood for classic British mystery and turned to Christie’s Cards On The Table, which I enjoyed a good deal (oops). I enjoyed that, so I went straight on to another Christie, Cat Among Pigeons, a Poirot book -though he doesn’t show up until page 180 in my paperback edition. The plot in this one has international spies, jewel thievery and murder in a girls school. Though it was fine, it’s not one of my favorite of her books. I’m not sure if I’d read it before, parts seemed familiar but I didn’t remember the ending at all.

I followed that with two of Bill Pronzini’s “Nameless” books, Blowback, the fourth in the series, and Twospot, co-written with Collin Wilcox. I reread Blowback after reading a recent review, and read Twospot because I hadn’t read it yet and wanted another Pronzini and it was the next one. It’s told in alternating sections from the POV of Nameless and Lieutenant Hastings, who I assume is a character Wilcox uses in his own books. It was very good.

What’s ahead? Well, since the fifth book in the Expanse series, written by “James S.A. Corey” (pseudonym for collaborators Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) is due in a couple of weeks, I’ve decided it’s time to get caught up. There are now 4 full length (fat) novels in the series, plus a novella, The Butcher of Anderson Station. All I’ve read is the first novel,  Leviathan Wakes (2011), and the novella. I liked Leviathan a lot. It’s a SF/mystery with strong characterization, a military SF element, classic hard science fiction with a modern plot arc. I have the rest of the books on the shelf, and the new one on order, so it’s time to get reading. It will take me a while, especially since I need to reread – or read/skim – the first book to get back up to speed.


Barbara finished A Cold and Broken Hallelujah by Tyler Dilts, a book she bought at LCC. Now she’s reading Michael Connelly’s The Concrete Blond, her fourth Connelly book. Next up for her will be The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell.

Have you read these books or authors? What are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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24 Responses to Current Reading, May 25-31, 2015

  1. Richard, I have not read an Agatha Christie in nearly three and hope to read her novels soon. I’m currently reading “The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway” where no two stories read alike.

  2. I’m reading Lightless, an SF novel by C. A. Higgins. Set aboard an experimental military spacecraft, two men with connections to a system wide terrorist are captured aboard after they run a virus into the computer system, setting off suspicion in the small craft.

  3. Jerry House says:

    I finished a number of anthologies: John Campbell’s ANALOG 2 and ANALOG 3 and Dorothy L. Sayers’ GREAT SHORT STORIES OF DETECTION, MYSTERY AND CRIME, FIRST SERIES and THIRD SERIES (which were published in the US — with slightly different contents — as THE OMNIBUS OF CRIME and THE THIRD OMNIBUS OF CRIME). Some interesting stuff in those dusty old pages. The one novel I read was Marian Babson’s MURDER ON A MYSTERY TOUR (aka WEEKEND FOR MURDER), a joyful romp about mystery writers and fans.

    I also read (if that’s the word) ASK ANNA: ADVICE FOR THE FURRY AND FORLORN by Dean Koontz and his dog Anna, the latest of a bunch of “dog” books by Koontz with all his proceeds going to Canine Companions for Independence, an organization that trains service dogs for the disabled. These books are all bits of fluff. This one was the first “written” with Anna; all the previous books were “written by” (or “with”) Trixie, who has since gone to that Big Doghouse in the Sky. Two things remain obvious: 1) Koontz is not as funny as he thinks he is and, 2) he sure loves his dogs.

    Current reading includes Peter Haining’s WEIRD TALES anthology and Agatha Christie’s MRS. McGINTY’S DEAD. Coming up are Ray Bradbury’s THE ART OF PLAYBOY, Erle Stanley Gardner’s MEXICO’S MAGIC SQUARE, Babson’s BEJEWELLED DEATH, and story collections by Barry N. Malzberg and Hugh B. Cave.

    June is busting out all over and she should really buy some better fitting clothes.

    • Richard says:

      I’ve read some of the Analog collections (were there four?) but not all, and a while ago. I’ll skip those Koontz, thanks. Is that Gardner one of his travel books? I think he wrote several of them while traveling about in his trailer including to Mexico. Seems you’re going right through Babson’s books.

  4. I just finished a 684-page book on the Constitution and a 500-page fantasy novel. More weighty tomes are stacked up ready to be read. I scored Big Time at the University Women’s Book Sale. I may do a short list of goodies. .

    • Richard says:

      George, I’ve reread about 100 pages of 580 in LEVIATIAN WAKES. The other books are as long. This one is going faster because I’ve remembered bit as I go. That’s a lot of pages on the Constitution. A lot. Yes, a list would be good.

  5. Patti Abbott says:

    I am reading HOW TO START A FIRE by Lisa Lutz.

  6. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I have LEVIATHAN WAKES on the radar since your original review. One of these days I will actually get around to reading it. Did you see that The Expanse is going to be a series on SyFy Channel? Is it going to get an “uh oh” from Bill Crider or will it be watchable?

    I’ve read all the Connelly series books, all the Christies and all the Nameless books.

    My lists to follow.

    • Richard says:

      Jeff, you ought to read it, I think you’ll like it. I don’t trust the SyFy channel on big projects, they’ll try to make it too dark and atmospheric (no pun) they can’t leave books alone any more than Hollywood can. It certainly would be an “uh oh” for me.

      Of course you’ve read them all. I’m always way behind, because I’m a slower reader, I guess, or because I have to many books and spread myself thin. Or whatever.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        I checked on Wikipedia and a few of the actors in it seem to be models or singers. I’ll reserve judgment but it looks iffy at best. I did get a copy of the paperback for $3.14.

        • Richard says:

          I already have a mental image of the main characters (Holden and Miller) and others, so in that case actors faces can throw me off. That happened with the Netflix version of Bosch.

          • Richard says:

            Oh, I looked at the trailer, and didn’t like it at all. As I guessed they’d do, it’s all dark, moody sets, and it looks like their focus is going to be as grimly political as political as possible. Sure, there’s politics (inter-planetary, intra-personal and so forth, but it’s space opera, not Phillip K. Dick. Based on the trailer, I won’t be watching it.

  7. Jeff Meyerson says:

    George, you need to list the goodies you bought.

    Prashant, I’m a big fan of Hemingway’s short stories.

    I did get one book order in this week, including three more of Peter Turnbull’s short Hennessey & Yellich procedurals set in York (After the Flood, The Return, Perils & Dangers); John Christopher’s Year of the Comet (which I’ve wanted to read for a long time); and Spider Robinson’s The Crazy Years: Reflections of a Science Fiction Original. Lawrence Block’s introduction in his THE CRIME OF OUR LIVES was the first I was aware of this collection, from his op ed pieces in the Toronto Glove and Mail.

    The Turnbulls are ex-lib hardbacks, the other two are trade paperbacks. The Christopher was $6.50 and the others around $3.50 each.

    Two new library books to add to the pile: Graham (LAST ORDERS) Swift’s short story collection, ENGLAND AND OTHER STORIES, and Thomas Kunkel’s biography, MAN IN PROFILE: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker. I am a huge fan of Mitchell’s writings about New York.

    • Richard says:

      Is there a collection of his NY writing?

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        There is – UP IN THE OLD HOTEL & OTHER STORIES.has selections from most of his books, including the Joe Gould material. (ABE has copies for about $13 with shipping but most are paperbacks.)

        I just checked. Go to PaperbackSwap. There is a hardback copy of Mitchell’s THE BOTTOM OF THE HARBOR available.It includes “Up in the Old Hotel” among other pieces.

  8. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Reading this week: ROCK WITH WINGS, Anne Hillerman’s second book set in her father’s universe. Like the first, I enjoyed it most of the way through but I think she still needs to work on her endings. I thought Neil Gaiman’s collection TRIGGER WARNING was a little uneven but I found myself enjoying it more as I got deeper into the book, with the later stories stronger than some of the early ones. Lastly was Colin Cotterill’s new book about Dr. Siri Paiboun and his wife and friends in 1979 Laos, SIX AND A HALF DEADLY SINS. Good as usual, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as some of the earlier books. Perhaps the main villain was just too vicious.

    I need to decide which library book to read next, probably the Steven F. Havill. I’m reading the short story collection by David Gates, A HAND REACHED DOWN TO GUIDE ME. I like his writing very much.

    • Richard says:

      I’ve read just the first or first and second of the Cotterill books Liked them but got sidetracked. Think I have a couple more on shelf.

  9. Jeff, if I list the goodies from the University Women’s Book Sale it will only be the tip of the iceberg. They had 250 tables of books! Almost overwhelming. But I loaded up on a lot of mysteries and SF. Don’t tell Diane but I walked away with hundreds of books!

  10. Jeff Meyerson says:

    You and Andy Jaysnovich!

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