I finished Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie, and found it to be sort of BBC Father Brown lite. Enjoyable, but not a series I’ll continue reading.
Like hot mud bubbling from the earth, a book has risen to the top of the ToBeRead “pile” and I’ve started reading it. This happens so rarely that it’s noteworthy. There always seems to be something else that needs reading; a book from the library, or a book not in the TBR pile makes it’s voice heard above the general clamor. You see, my TBR is a small 3 shelf bookscase and on top of that are a few books stacked together that are the tip of the iceberg. When something gets moved there, it really is in imminent certainty of being read. Books get there, but sometimes they linger. Case in point, Dead Irish by John Lescroart.
I’ve not read anything by Lescroart before, and I have no idea why, when or where I got this book though it was probably on PaperBack Swap, from the looks of it. It is the first Dismas Hardy novel, so it’s the beginning book in a series which now stretches to fifteen books. It was nominated for both Shamus and Anthony awards, so maybe that’s where I heard of it, though nothing about it is familiar. The blurb told me nothing except the main character is an ex-cop.
So I read it. I found it extremely wordy, bound up with multiple characters and their complicated backstories, the telling of which took the first third of the book. There is much dwelling on the culture of San Francisco in the late Eighties, and in the end not much of a mystery. Disappointing.
Now I’m reading a science fiction novel which is also disappointing. Maybe it’s me.
Barbara finished Blind Sight by Carol O’Connell. Her interrupted reading of it (the glued pages episode) slowed it down for her, but she still enjoyed it.
Next is another in the Murder Squad series, The Harvest Man by Alex Grecian, which she’ll be starting by the time you read this.
What about you?
What are you reading?
Sorry, it seems like your reading is mostly disappointing right now.
Currently I am reading ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE, by Martin Edwards. Before that … STRONG POISON by Sayers, and before that, THE COFFIN DANCER by Jeffrey Deaver. All very different books and all good reading.
I go through these spells, Tracy, but there are lots of good books waiting for me on that TBR. Barbara liked The Coffin Dancer, as she does most Deaver.
I hope you like the Lescoart. I loved his early books but, for me, as soon as a great author defaults to a series I tend (with some notable exceptions) to switch off.
As you see by my comments, I didn’t much like the book. Maybe something else by him, but I won’t be reading any more of this series.
I’m reading a stack of modeling magazines and a Western by Robert Vaughan, the second in the Reminton series.
Sometime I feel the urge to read a western, but I never seem to get around to it.
Have you read any of Crider’s westerns?
Just Outrage at Blanco.
I remember liking Dead Irish. I have read all the Dismas Har4dy books and have enjoyed them. Just finished reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy for the third time. Love this book. Also finished The Gradual by Christopher Priest and am currently half way the Revenger by Alastair Reynolds. A SF novel with a 60’s feel to it. Enjoying it so far. On deck I will probably reread Huckleberry Finn for about the 10th time. My all time favorite novel and one I can read usually in 2 sittings.
We’ll agree to disagree on Dead Irish, I guess. How did you like the Priest?
I loved the Priest but if you haven’t read him before this is not the place to start. Its part of his Dream Archipelago series. I would start with The Dream Archipelago or a stand alone novel Inverted World.
I can’t recall Dead Irish specifically but know I liked his work as a whole.
Richard, only yesterday I picked up Paul D. Brazill’s collection of noir stories, THE LAST LAUGH. Gritty and well-written.
Sounds good, Prashant.
It’s been a weird week. The twins were home for several days (Fall break) and the house was suddenly full of noise (until all hours) and people. Then I was obsessively watching the Weather Channel: my parents live on one of the coastal Georgia islands; they evacuated to my sister’s home, but I was still worried about their house and the area as a whole. (As of yesterday, their house is still standing but–due to power and sewage issues–authorities aren’t letting people back into the islands yet.) Then the whole political landscape right now (I really don’t think I’ll get a good night’s sleep until November 9)–and it all added up to me reading only one book: Ben H. Winters’s COUNTDOWN CITY, the second in the LAST POLICEMAN trilogy. I liked it, but not quite as much as the first book, but enough that I will read the final book, WORLD OF TROUBLE, this week.
Those twins are sorta-adults now, they need to be a little more considerate. As for politics, I made it through 40 minutes of the “debate” last night before going to another room and reading. Barbara watched it all, of course. From what I saw, I don’t know why Clinton isn’t zooming ahead in the polls, and since she isn’t, what that says about the Americn voting public scares the hell out of me.
Hoping your parents’ home is okay, “sewage issues” doesn’t sound too good. But then life on a barrier island… So far your experience with the Winters books matches Barbara’s, and I believe, Jeff’s.
Still reading the Berney book (THE LONGS AND FARAWAY GONE), which I like more and more as I read on. That seldom happens so I am happy. Oh, our friends have a second home on an island outside Savannah and they are beside themselves wondering if it’s ok. They haven’t let the residents back in there yet either.
It’s always good to find a book that pulls you in as it progresses. Death of An Englishman that I recently read did that, as do the books by Jeffrey Siger.
It’s been a short story week for me, Richard. First, QUICKER THAN THE EYE, a Ray Bradbury collection and my FFB this week. An excellent collection, but I have to take Bradbury in small doses these days. I have a few more of his books to get to but it will probably be a while.
My main reading this week consisted of three Isaac Asimov themed anthologies. ENCOUNTERS (edited with Greenberg and Waugh) had sixteen stories about mankind encountering aliens. The stories were mainly from the Fifties with most by well-known authors (Knight, Simak, Tenn, Anderson, Clement, Oliver, Leinster, Asimov himself…). The only clunker in the bunch was a two-page not-very-good pun; everything else was top shelf. MACHINES THAT THINK: THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES ABOUT ROBOTS AND COMPUTERS was a thick (600-plus pages with 29 stories) compilation done with Greenberg and Patricia Warrick. Warrick, an expert in robots and computers, coauthored a nonfiction book with Asimov about robots and provides the story introductions here. A good selection of stories here with (again) a heavy sampling from the Fifties. CREATIONS: THE QUEST FOR ORIGINS IN STORY AND SCIENCE (edited with George Zebrowski and Greenberg) is a science fiction/science fact collection which also includes selected passages from Genesis and from the Hindu Rg-Veda. The book has four sections covering the origin of the universe, of the solar system, of earth, and of humankind. Good stories with interesting articles by Asimov, Carl Sagan, and Steve Weinberg.
Other reading this week included two juveniles (MISS PICKERELL GOES UNDERSEA and MISS PICKERELL MEETS MR. H.U.M., both from the series by Ellen MacGregor. Lavinia Pickerell is an elderly and determined woman who lives on a farm outside Square Toe City with her beloved cow. Her wry adventures have taken her to outer space, the arctic, and many points in between, always with a dabble of science in the background. These books appeal to the ten-year-old in me.
Only one graphic novel this week for me: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: OMEGA. So-so.
My daughter, her girls, and five of the six pets moved into their new home this week, leaving our house full of quiet. (The last remaining pet, Gingerbread the cat, sensed something was up and evaded capture with lightning-like moves. Didn’t know she could move that fast. Sooner or later, she’ll slow down so we can move her to her new home.)
I’m currently occupied with yelling at the television news and with Alan Bradley’s newest Flavia de Luce mystery, THRICE THE BRINDLED CAT HATH MEW’D. One of these is truly enjoyable, the other merely therapeutic.
Enjoy your week.
Encounters sounds pretty good, did you find it at the library, or on one of your book hunts? I “converse” with the television news too, and don’t always use gentle language, and it drives Barbara nuts so I usually just skip the news. More than less of the local news isn’t really news anyway, it’s “personal interest” stories or something old dredged up, or whatever, and on the national news is a treadmill of politics and social media crap. In my old fogey opinion, if it’s a Tweet, it ain’t news, it’s heresay. Every time you mention the Flavia books I say I mean to read one, but never seem to.
Perhaps Gingerbread wants to stay with you.
Shortly after posting this, I cornered Gingerbread and managed to get her into a cat carrier for pickup later today. She is not a happy cat. I love animals, Richard, but it will feel good to walk on a floor that is not covered with pet hair for a while.
1. I never watch the national news.
2. I watch the local news for the weather.
Barbara is a news hound and watches local and national on NBC, then local and national on CBS, then PBS Newshour on PBS. That’s 5pm to 8pm every weekday. I may catch the weather, or not, but skip the rest. I do scan the local newspaper, which is pretty provincial.
Jackie records and watches Moring Joe – which runs 3 hours – every day on MSNBC. She also watches 5 to 7 at night, and checks at other times.
I can’t wait for the election to be over.
Always disappointed with Bradbury’s work after Something Wicked This Way Comes.
I must admit I’m with you on the Lescroat. As mentioned, my mother was always touting his books so I read DEAD IRISH (10 years ago) but never felt the desire to read another. Meh.
I did get three library books read, all downloads to the Kindle. First was Jeffrey Ford’s collection, CRACKPOT PALACE, which I liked, though I am enjoying his current collection (A NATURAL HISTORY OF HELL) more.
Next was JERNIGAN, the first novel (and last book I hadn’t read) by David Gates. I’d read his two excellent story collections and his PRESTON FALLS. (This was touted by Jack Taylor in Ken Bruen’s latest novel.) Anyone (like George) who has read Richard Ford’s Frank Bascombe series will recognize the milieu, a falling apart divorced/widowed guy living in New Jersey while his life more or less falls apart. (Ford’s THE SPORTSWRITER was published in 1986, INDEPENDENCE DAY in 1995; JERNIGAN came out in 1991.) The man (like the Ford, it is first person narration) is falling apart before our eyes. I know it sounds a little bleak but it is worth reading, as is all of his writing.
Third was one you recommended last week, Charles Todd’s collection TALES, with two stories about Ian Rutledge (one in WWI) and two about Bess Crawford (one set in India when she was 10). Good stuff.
Besides the Ford collection, I’m reading an early John O’Hara that was recommended recently, HOPE OF HEAVEN (his third novel), with the new Jeffrey Siger in the wings.
A fine week’s worth of reading for you, Jeff. I’ll skip the Ford, even though you say it’s worth reading, just because I’m avoiding bleak or depressing these days. I get a little too introspective about such stuff. Glad you liked the Todd. It led me to reading the first Crawford, which was okay, but I suspect the series gets better as it goes. I may have read the first Rutledge not long after it came out, as I think I was at a Bouchercon or Left Coast Crime around that time, but I didn’t already have it, so I bought a paperback, and have yet to read it.
I mean to read some short stories soon but haven’t picked which.
Richard-I have never found Jeffrey Ford to be particularly bleak or depressing.
I guess we all have our own reactions to what we read, that’s why it’s so nice to have these conversations on the blog. Thanks!
I’m reading Lee Child’s NEVER GO BACK to prepare for the Tom Cruise movie opening next week. I scored some books while on this trip to Ohio so I might dive into one of them or I might find I have to read a Library Book that’s on the cusp of being OVERDUE.
I’ve not had, as an adult, an overdue library book (he said, halo glowing), but then there is auto-renew. I can think of few actors as unlike the tall, husky Reacher as Cruise.
Cruise has had so much “work” done recently that he’s getting that sand-blasted Bob Costas look.
Read one Reacher novel and didn’t much are for it. Reacher just seemed to over the top. He can do anything. The same problem I have with Robert Crais’s Joe Pike.
Barbara has read a lot of them, I have yet to try one, though she gave me one she thought I’d like. I read Crais’ Elvis Cole novels – the first 6 at least, but Pike was a secondary character.
I’ve read all the Reachers. Some are definitely better than others. I read the first two Elvis Cole books. I liked Joe Pike.
The problem with Joe Pike is that his role became bigger. I didn’t mind him as a secondary character but find Elvis Cole much more interesting. It reached the point where Joe Pike got his own books.