Current Reading: Gil North, Kent Krueger, Mark Billingham

Methods of Sgt. CluffI took a break from Krueger to read a quite different book, The Methods of Sergeant Cluff  by Gil North. This 1961 novel is the second in the Cluff series, and I wish I’d gotten the first one, Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm and read it instead, as there are amny references to it here. I’ve ordered it and will read it soon.

Vermillion DriftI also finished Mind Changer by James White and so have now read all three novels in the omnibus I have. It will be a Friday Forgotten review coming soon.

The reason I read those two books is I’m having slow going reading Kent Krueger’s Vermillion Drift. It’s just not grabbing me, yet, though I’m plugging away. From a bookmark I found I realize I stopped at the exact same spot once before. He’s a favorite author, so I’m sure it will pick up soon. Meanwhile I’m reading short stories until the new Louise Penny shows up sometime Tuesday.

die-of-shameBarbara finished and liked The Yard by Alex Grecian. It’s not her usual fare, but she enjoyed it and she’s planning to read the next book in the Murder Squad series, The Black Country. It’s on hold at the library.

She also just finished Mark Billingham’s Die of Shame. This one’s about a therapy group, one of whom is murdeA Time of Tormentred and the rest are all suspects. Billingham has long been a favorite of her’s, so she’s liked this stand-alone novel a lot.

Next up – she may be already reading it, depending on when you’re seeing this – is the latest John Connolly, A Time of Torment, which is a Charley Parker mystery. I think one or two of the readers of this blog have already read it, but there was a long waiting line at the library for it and it’s just now popped up.

How about you?
What are you reading?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Fiction, Mystery. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Current Reading: Gil North, Kent Krueger, Mark Billingham

  1. Deb says:

    Between the floods (we were ok; many we know or relatives of people we know were not so fortunate) and finally getting the twins settled at LSU, I haven’t been reading much. I finished a Mary Balogh Regency romance (“brain candy” reading) but have now started Harry Bingham’s TALKING TO THE DEAD, the first in a series featuring D.C. Fiona Griffiths of the Cardiff, Wales, police. I went in with a bit of trepidation: it’s written in first-person, which I usually don’t care for in murder-mysteries, and Fiona is written in a way that makes me think she’s supposed to have Aspergers or a form of high-functioning autism. There’s a trope about “magical Aspies” as one of my daughters, who has Aspergers, calls it, where they have special perceptive powers because they see through social artifice. Cue the Marge Simpson “hmmmmmm” of scepticism. However, so far there have only been a couple of those moments in this story of the murder of a prostitute and her young daughter, and the book does a good job of capturing what it must feel like to be unable to read social cues and to blunder by not observing them. I have several other books on my library list but all of them are still checked out to others.

    • ** Yawn ** I just finally dragged myself out of bed after being awake late thanks to a loud, into the wee hours pool party (another one) next door. So good morning, New Orleans, and I’m very glad you were okay in the drenching and flooding. It will certainly be a memorable beginning to the twins (girls, yes?) time at LSU.

      Sometimes I find fifties SF can be that kind of brain candy for me, or those graphic novels I was reading, or even books on gardening. The Bingham doesn’t sound like my cuppa, but I can see that it would be of interest to you. Love your line “Cue the Marge Simpson “hmmmmmm” of skepticism”. Lately it seems we (Barbara and I) both have books on the hold lists at the libraries (we borrow from both Multnomah and Clackamas county systems) and that’s good except when things suddenly pile up and several come at once. Then the reading pressure gets fierce.

  2. Jerry House says:

    I’ve probably read less this week than any week in the last five years, The only book I finished was my FFB, THE DAY HE DIED by “Lewis Padgett” (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore). I’ve been plugging away at several books but haven’t found a concentrated block of time to do them justice. I’ve read some short stories, and that’s it.

    My week has been filled with “stuff that happens.” Working with my daughter to buy a house, shuttling kids back and forth to everywhere, prepping in case a hurricane decides to drop in, and adjusting to a new kitten in the house. I did manage to watch some old (and mindless) black and white mysteries from the Thirties and some John Oliver Youtube clips. Oh well, next week will be better.

    I hope you have had a far more productive week than I have had, Richard.

    • I hope the hurricane / tropical storm misses you! Do you ever wish you’d stayed put in Maryland? That life events rob reading time thing happens to us all. Sometimes old, mindless movies are just the ticket. I hope the house buying thing goes well, seems lousy to be doing it when a big storm is (maybe) coming. Be well.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Gil North was one of those authors whose books I’d pick up in paperback while book hunting in Britain. They were cheap and plentiful. At the end of 1993 I was looking for a fast read to bump up my reading stats for the year, so I read the first – and then the second – North book. They had the virtues, as I recall it, of being quite short and readable, but I don’t really remember anything much about them – they were set in Yorkshire, right? – and I never read another.

    Got one new book (from PaperbackSwap.com) this week, one discussed on the George Kelley blog: Robert Silverberg’s UP THE LINE.

    Books read: the latest Colin Cotterill, I SHOT THE BUDDHA, featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun and his entourage – wife, friends, colleagues – in 1979 Laos (and Cambodia). It was a little show at first but picked up nicely.

    Oops, need to stop here and go eat as Jackie has an early appointment for a root canal. Back later.

    • Jeff, yes, the Cluff books are set in the Dales, and sense of place was a big part of the one I read. I just wish, as I said, I’d read the first one first. I try to always read series in order, but somehow didn’t think it would matter this time, and was quite wrong. After I read that first book, we’ll see if I want to continue. The edition I read was just over 170 pages, which took me four days. That’s my usual pace, which is why I read about half as many books as you. It might have been fun to have the Brit editions of these books, but the British Classics Library editions are handsome and well made.

      I’ll get back to Colin Cotterill eventually, I suppose, as I certainly liked his first two in the series. There must be, what, a dozen now?

      Good luck to Jackie with her dental work.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        I was wrong. No root canal was involved. It was a cavity that was under a crown, so her dentist sent her to this specialist to do it to make sure the crown didn’t crack. It went fine. Of course, it wasn’t exactly cheap.

        The Cotterill was #11 in the series.

        Back to this week’s reading. I haven’t read everything Stephen King has written, but I have read a lot. (Not the fantasy stuff, for the most part.) I’d read all of her collected “short” works (stories and novellas) other than HEARTS IN ATLANTIS, which, for some reason, I just never really started. But it was his “‘Sixties” book so I started it. The first, and by far the longest (325 pages) story was set in 1960 and the main characters were 12. It was OK. But the second (about 200 pages), the title story, was the one that grabbed me: 1966, first year of college, even the main character’s addiction to playing Hearts (which we used to play), all got to me, not to mention the music, the anti-war movement, etc. Great stuff, and the rest (mostly involving Vietnam, and its aftermath), made for a satisfying end.

        Then was the (400+ page) new Alan Banks (finally promoted to Superintendent) by Peter Robinson, WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER. My problem with it was there were two stories, not related (though you could see a parallel if you wanted to, about the sexual exploitation and abuse of young teen girls). The “historical” story was Banks’s, involving a Jimmy Saville/Cyril Smith-like sex scandal, with rape claims nearly 50 years later. The second, which understandably took over most of the book, was the vicious rape and murder of a girl whose body was dumped in their area. Though Banks was the overall supervisor, Annie Cabbot was in charge of this one. As always, worth reading if you can stand the subject matter.

        And lastly there was another dark chapter in the Amish series about Kate Burkholder (former Amish girl, now Police Chief in Painter’s Mill, Ohio) by Linda Castillo, THE DEAD WILL TELL. Another Amish family is brutally murdered, and now 35 years later several people are being threatened, and then killed, for what they presumably did all those years ago. Once again I raced through the 300 pages in less than a day, and I have the next two from the library. This is a very good series.

        I’m reading the short story collections by Michael Swanwick and Charles Beaumont, still. Not sure which book I’ll start next, as I got three more from the library this morning.

        • I went and read a synopsis of the novellas, and they don’t sound like something I’ll be reading. I didn’t read the Dark Tower books either, so the connection there would be lost on me. I have read a few King books, but have so many other things to read these days I’m just not digging into anything that’s not pretty much in my groove (or rut, someone might say).

          Re: the Robinson, I could probably stand the subject matter, which I assume with his books occurs off stage, but 400+ pages seems a bit long. Couldn’t the story have been told in 250?

          Your library must love you, a star patron. We get just about everything from our library these days, and I’m donating books at a slow clip too, trying to reduce inventory. We’ll see. Two new books coming tomorrow.

          Oops, no one tomorrow, one Wednesday. I’m hurrying to finish the short story anthology I’m reading, about 1/3 to go.

        • I played a lot of hearts in my first two years of college when I was in Laguna Beach. Used to sit on the sand in the afternoons, eight of us, four playing cards, four playing two-man beach volleyball, and the losing v-ball team would go to the hearts game when the next team up left to play. I was very cool, fun, a really great memory now. We drank a lot of Dr. Pepper then, too.

  4. I’ve been dealing with students now that the Fall Semester has started. Other than my daily short story, not much pleasure reading is possible during the chaos. We’ve had a week of temperatures near 90 (unusual for Western NY). Our air conditioner is leaking water so the service guys are coming out this morning. It’s always something!

    • Perhaps you’ll be giving the economy a lift with a new A/C unit soon? Hope instead it’s just an easy fix, such as tightening a fitting. The school chaos will settle down soon and then, a year or so from now, you’ll miss it. Maybe.

  5. steve oerkfitz says:

    I enjoyed the Peter Robinson. It didn’t seem that long. He’s always a fast read for me. I just finished The Broken Places by Ace Atkins-third in his Ranger series. I’ve enjoyed all 3. Fast reads. Also read Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen. A bit different from most Nordic crime which tends to be police procedural. Staalesen’s main character is a private detective.Liked it enough to order others of his. Also reading the new story collection by Jeffrey Ford. Just started A Wizards Henchman by Matthew Hughes-a favorite writer of mine. For fans of Jack Vance.

    • I like long books that don’t seem long, I guess if they have to be long, that’s the best thing. Naturally, any long book that I’m really enjoying isn’t long enough…

      You read a lot of interesting things, Steve. I have some Hughes on the shelf. Let’s see, I’ve got The Damned Busters and the story collection Gist Hunter and Other Stories. Both unread.

      • steve oerkfitz says:

        Richard-The Damned Busters isn’t typical Hughes. The Gist Hunter is.
        The length of a book doesn’t necessarily put me off. Some 500 page novels read quickly and some 300 page novels read slowly depending on the writer.

  6. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Let me add that the 333 included over 100 plays, I believe, mainly two very different writers – Noel Coward and Eugene O’Neill. I took several theater courses in college. But I also read a lot of Erle Stanley Gardner, John Creasey, and Emma Lathen (among other mystery writers) that year (1973), plus a lot of British and American history.

  7. MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON, Elizabeth Strout. Didn’t like it as much as OLIVE KITTEREDGE but it was a good hospital read.

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