Current Reading: Penny, Todd, Krueger, Grecian

12-lrg-a-great-reckoningI finished Louise Penny’s A Great Reckoning a few days ago, and it’s always good to visit with the familiar characters of the Gamache / Three Pines books. This one has a plot involving the Sûreté Academy,  and Gamache, now out of retirement, is a Commander. There’s an interesting sub-plot about an old map found in the wall of the Bistro during remodeling and the whole thing, including tying the two plots together, winds up quite nicely. Recommended.

duty-to-the-deadAlso read was A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd, the first in his Bess Crawford series about a nurse during World War I. In it, she carries a dying message from a soldier back to England and gets involved in problems the family has including an older son who, at the age of 14, murdered a house maid. I liked the character quite a bit, and though the story got a little slow in the middle, it wraps up nicely.

Vermillion DriftI finished Vermillion Drift, the 11th in William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Conner series. I’d started it before but bogged down after only 15 pages or so. At the time, I had other books to read and wasn’t “in the right place” for it, I guess.

This time I went past that spot and read it right through in a few days. I liked it a lot, as I seem to always do with this series. I have four more in the series before I can get to Krueger’s latest (16th) book in the series, which arrived last Tuesday. I’ve gone on to the next book in the series, Northwest Angle.

black-countryBarbara finished A Time of Torment by John Connolly, and went straight on to the Louise Penny, which she has also finished. She’s now reading The Black Country by Alex Grecian, follow-up novel to The Yard. These are the first two books in the Murder Squad series, about early days of Scotland Yard.

The minute she finishes Black Country, she’ll start on that new Krueger, Manitou Canyon.

How about you?
What are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

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

19 Responses to Current Reading: Penny, Todd, Krueger, Grecian

  1. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    Just finished The Redeemers by Ace Atkins. Only have The Innocents left to read in the series. Waiting on the library for it. Its out right now. Currently reading The Heat a Wyatt novel by Garry Disher. One of my favorite writers. His Wyatt series is a lot like Richard Starks(Westlake) Parker. Also reading the Fisherman by John Langan. One of the better horror writers right now along with Adam Neville and Laird Barron. Next up should be The Gradual by Christopher Priest if it comes on time. And some Malcolm Braly I just bought. Also dipping into Robert Silverbergs Collected short stories series.

    • Interesting stuff, Steve, especially the Atkins. He’ll be at Bouchercon this week. Are you going? Seems like you are often reading multiple books at a time. I can’t seem to that very well, usually I have to read one and finish it, then start another. There are times, however, when I set a book down because it’s not interesting me and try something else, as I did with Vermillion Drift. When I picked it back up, I really liked it.

      • Steve Oerkfitz says:

        I tend to read more than one book at a time, usually from different genres. Sometimes a heavy HC tome and a light PB for carrying around. Or one a novel and one a collection of short fiction.
        Never been to a convention. Not a very social creature.

  2. Deb says:

    I strongly recommend the book I just finished: DISCLAIMER by Renee Knight. The premise grabbed me right away: a woman receives a book anonymously in the mail; as she reads it, she realizes it’s a fictionalized account of an event from her life 20 years ago. But who else knows about it? And why write about it now?

    Psychological suspense tends to be a hit-or-miss genre for me. So many times, the writers seems to think coming up with a great premise is all that’s required and undermine that premise with plodding execution, inconsistent characters, and deus-ex-machina endings (I gave up on Sophie Hannah after a few too many of those), but DISCLAIMER doesn’t fall into that trap. Knight juggles several distinct narrative voices in various time frames while ratcheting up the tension and slowly revealing the shocking secret at the heart of the story. Another aspect of the book I appreciated is that the status quo is not reinstated at the book’s conclusion. Characters have gone through emotional upheavals and do not emerge unscathed. They must face their futures as different people than when the book started.

    Then I went for a real change of pace, Joe Haldeman’s 1974 SF classic, THE FOREVER WAR. Based on Haldeman’s experiences in Vietnam, it’s remarkably prescient today with its talk of drones and the inclusion of women at all levels of the military (although the line about military women being required by law to be “promiscuous and compliant” dates the book badly–although they’re still shown as being competent soldiers). I’m reading a 2009 reprint of the book which features a nice foreword by John Scalzi. And if we’re talking about a forever war, just remember that when Scalzi wrote his foreword seven years ago, we’d already been in Iraq and Afghanistan seven years. Yikes!

    • All ready for Bouchercon?

      Though it doesn’t sound like one for me, I wonder if Disclaimer would be one Barbara might enjoy. I’ll show her your comment and see what she thinks. Thanks for the heads up about it.

      It’s been a while since I reread the Haldeman. The first time was just after it came out in paperback (it may have been a paperback original, I can’t recall), and I was so busy comparing it to Heinlein I didn’t get much from it. The second time I read it as “a classic” with a critical mind and was slightly disappointed. There didn’t seem to be that much to it. I missed the gender soldier bit, my takeaway was just that everybody fought, everybody died. I wonder if you might not like Scalzi’s Lock In.

      • Deb says:

        If Barbara likes psychological suspense, I think she’d enjoy DISCLAIMER. I thought it was very well-written and, as I said, I liked the fact that the characters changed over the course of the book.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Haven’t found it easy reading lately, though I’ve pushed on as best as I can, reading short stories at least. Maybe I’ve been distracted by the upcoming trip or maybe it’s what I’ve tried to read. I have been watching music-related documentaries on Netflix.

    The big book I finished (and mostly really enjoyed) was the previously mentioned THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET by Becky Chambers. Maybe I could have done without the (non-graphic) interspecies sex, but otherwise, I enjoyed it. Also finished was PERCHANCE TO DREAM: Selected Stories by Charles Beaumont. New reads were BEST. STATE. EVER. A Florida Man Defends His Homeland, by Dave Barry, which was not one of his best but had some funny stuff in it. Also the next in Peter Turnbull’s Ch. Insp. Hennessey series, AFTER THE FLOOD. This was one of the better ones, a little more complex than usual and quite nasty.

    I’ve decided to just leave the books home and take the Kindle to New Orleans. If I can’t find something to read on there…well, I have the new Silverberg collection of his older stories to start. I have been reading YOUR BODY IS CHANGING, a goofy collection by Jack Pendarvis, and have the new Carl Hiaasen to read when we get back next week.

    • By the time you read this, you’ll be winging your way to the big easy, full of anticipation and delicious airline breakfast. Well, maybe not the latter. Hope you have a quiet ride and a nice view from your room.

      You seem to be enjoying those music documentaries, I’ll have to try some more myself.

      I’m sure you’ll find something to read at B’con, at least one would hope. If not in the book bag, then in the book room, or perhaps you’ve some pleas to go booking. Still, the Kindle should suffice, I’m sure you have plenty unread there.

      I still haven’t put Long Way to Small Angry Planet on my library hold list, if they have it. […] They do, I now have, on my “For Later” shelf, so I can move into the queue when I want to, and it’s there to remind me. I’ve got a lot of books on that “shelf”.

      Okay, I’ve just ordered the first two Insp. Hennessey books from BookSwap.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        We are sitting in the JFK Jetblue terminal waiting for the flight. It’s all good so far. Flying is such a hassle these days but this was as smooth as it gets – not much traffic, very efficient here – I checked in on line and got the boarding passes so just had to drop off the suitcase, no line at the expedited security, and we’re good to go.

  4. Jerry House says:

    Most of my week was spent compiling my FFB post for last Friday, Richard, so reading was light. We also spent a lot of time watching old Roderick Allyn and Agatha Christie episodes, as well as Star Trek and Marvel Comics movies.. Sometimes I need that just to clear out the cobwebs.

    I read Robert B. Parker’s POTSHOT. Spenser is hired to find the murderer of his client’s husband. The case takes Spenser to a small Western town under the grip of a gang of thugs who are bleeding the town dry and to a powerful southern California crime boss. There’s a bloody shootemup, a lot of doublecrossing, a bit of geology, and a stoic, philosophical Spenser following his strong ethical code. A quick and interesting read with plot holes galore. Spenser is one of those characters you can only take in small doses, which explains why I am so far behind in the series. The book itself reminded me of CHINATOWN.

    The only anthology I read this week was Peter Haining’s THE GHOULS, a collection of stories which were the basis of horror movies, although the connection of the stories and the movies on which they were based were ofttimes tenuous. Some good stuff here and some creakers, with the irritating addition of Haining retitling the stories to reflect the movies’ titles — thus, for example, Tod Robbin’s “Spurs” becomes “Freaks.” Haining often does this in his books and it grates me for some reason. (Forrest Ackerman also had this bad habit with some of his anthologies.)


    All in all, it’s been a quiet week here in Lake Wobegone South. I hope things are going the same in Lake Wobegone Northwest.

    • Jerry, that was a really great FFB you did (as I commented) last week. I had no idea Conklin edited so many anthologies. Fine work, young fella.

      I thought I’d read all of the Robert Parker Spencer books, but that doesn’t sound familiar. I probably did read it and just don’t remember, the old grey cells aren’t as sharp as once was. I didn’t watch any football this past weekend. That’s the first time in 20 years I haven’t bothered with it. I did check scores in the sports section. I guess I’ve just gotten to the point – and the Olympics helped – where the payoff isn’t worth the commercials. And before you or anyone says “just DVR and skip through them”, that’s just another gadget I have to tinker with. No thanks, easier to not watch.

      So I got half of a novel read instead (the Krueger) and was happy with that, along with a little time in the garden. I was thinking the other day about the difference between “the yard” and “the garden”.

  5. Reading TV-THE BOOK by Sepinwall and Zoller Sietz and still at the Gilly Mcmillan mystery (What She Knew) although so far it seems pretty ho-hum to me. More and more the mystery gets left behind as she talks about the way the public blames the mother for a child gone missing.

    • Patti, sorry you’re not going to Bouchercon, though understandable as Phil had recent surgery. I’m sure you would have enjoyed it. Wish we were going, but it’s just too far.

      TV – The Book is more of a browser than a real read-it-straight-through thing, yes? And do I ever dislike it when an author goes off on a side trip like that. If it’s a mystery, then that’s where the focus needs to be.

  6. Although it’s against my policy to read Big Fat Books once I go back to work, I ordered in Caleb Carr’s nearly 600-page tome, SURRENDER, NEW YORK. It’s due tomorrow at the Library so I’m frantically reading it before the deadline. And, no, I can’t renew it because other people have holds on the book. Just another 240 pages to go!

  7. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    Not reading good things about it.

  8. Jeff, I’m not surprised that it’s hot and very humid in New Orleans. I was surprised, however, that Bouchercon was scheduled so early in the year, I expect it to be more than a month later. I’m sure there was a reason, but it seems odd. For convention attire, maybe you can just go with shorts and sandals. Then again, the hotel will be air-conditioned so if you stay inside all the time…but no. What fun would that be? Seen anyone Tip readers want to know about?

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