I’m reading two books concurrently, something I don’t often do, but I’d started one from the TBR shelf when the other came in from the library.
Fear of Drowning by Peter Turnbull is the first in a series featuring Detective Inspector George Hennessey. In this one, a shocking – to the community – double murder results in the police coming up with two pretty obvious suspects, and as the investigation continues both of them look more and more likely for it, but we readers know there will be at least one twist. At the halfway point, I’m waiting for it.
The library book is The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (author of the award-winning The Witch’s Boy). This one is aimed at “young readers” as opposed, I suppose, to YA, and sure enough, it’s something I would have liked pretty well at age 8 or so. Well written, but the story not quite interesting enough for me, even as an enjoyer of the occasional YA novel. Would be great for your grade schooler, though.
Barbara is still reading The Family Plot, by Cherie Priest, which is going slowly due to a lot of time spent on other activities, mostly quilt making. She’ll finish it (the book, not the quilt) this week.
Waiting to be read is Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre. author of the The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy, Alex, Irene and Camille.
What about you?
What are you reading?
Right now I’m reading an old Loren Estleman The Hours of the Virgin. Just finished Mad Dog Barked by Rick Ollerman and a collection of stories by Laird Barron called Swift to Chase. Next up Bruce Springsteens autobiography and the new Junior Bender novel by Timothy Hallinan if it gets here in time.
I’m digging about with older stuff, or things I’ve seen on Friday Forgotten Book days, or such. I did get an Estleman short story collection last week or so, but it’s a bit down in the TBR pile.
I like Estleman as a short story writer but prefer the novels. Private detective stories work better at a longer length.
My FFB this week was HOW TO SPEND MONEY by Robert Silverberg under his “Walter Drummond” pseudonym, a casual advice book for the young, rising professional of the early Sixties. I found it amusing and entertaining from my vantage point of more than half a century. How hip were we all trying to be back then? Purely by coincidence, I also read George’s FFB, Asimov, Greenberg, and Waugh’s THE 13 CRIMES OF SCIENCE FICTION, a highly recommended anthology with some great stories. Another collection this week was THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF M. P. SHIEL, edited by his friend and admirer “John Gawsworth” (T. I. Fytton Armstrong), who inherited the dubious title of King of Redonda from Shiel. (Armstrong supposedly kept Shiel’s ashes “in a biscuit tin on his mantelpiece, dropping a pinch as condiment into the food of any particularly honoured guest.” Yes, Armstrong was as eccentric as Shiel.) This collection includes three Prince Zaleski stories considered to be mystery classics. I find the author readable in small doses.
I also finished two juveniles: Ellen MacGregor’s MISS PICKERELL AND THE GEIGER COUNTER, which I found to be not as good as others in the series, and Jay Williams’ DANNY DUNN AND THE SWAMP MONSTER — also a bit below others in that series. The DANNY DUNN was also credited to Raymond Abrashkin, the series’ co-creator who had died from ALS at age 49 shortly after the fifth book was published; Williams insisted his name go on the remaining ten books in the series.
I’m back to reading graphic novels again. This week, three from Marvel: THING: THE SERPENT CROWN AFFAIR, VENOM, and ZOMBIES CHRISTMAS CAROL, with the last two being very good.
The weather is beautiful here, just cooling off a little. I heard some locals complain about the cold weather this week, which tickled my New England soul.
Have a great week, Richard.
Weather? Cloudy, rainy, a bit gloomy, but we like that or we wouldn’t live here. We had an absolutely perfect Fall day here last week, Friday, I think, and had a wonderful walk by the river.
Those juveniles don’t sound very good, but wait – the Miss Pickerell books are juveniles? I did know the Danny Dunn ones were. Zombue Christmas Carol? A Little ahead of the season, friend.
I didn’t finish THE FAMILY PLOT nor did I finish GOOD AS GONE. I am more than tired of missing girls. Now I am reading the first Ruth Ware book. It may be about a missing person. I hope not.
When you say you “didn’t finish” Family Plot, do you mean not yet or stopped reading it?
Let’s face it, Patti, missing persons, and missing persons presumed dead, are a staple of mystery fiction. It’s the rest of the plot, and the solving, that makes the book.
Patti–I didn’t care for the Ruth Ware either (I assume you’re reading IN A DARK DARK WOOD): I thought the characters were way too young (they should have been at least a decade older to be so grounded and established), the villain was obvious, and there was so much “busyness” about cell phones, it was exhausting.
Rick, hope you’re feeling better. I just finished Dan Brown’s INFERNO. The Tom Hanks movie based on the novel opens this week and Diane wants to see it. I finished up some non-fiction books now that I submitted MID-TERM GRADES for the Last Time. Retirement paperwork takes up a lot of my time. Who knew getting to Retirement was such a cumbersome process!
Unfortunately, I felt better enough to watch the second half of the awful Seahawks game. I haven’t read Inferno, but admit the trailer makes me think I might want to see it, I saw the first two films based on Brown novels.
The Turnbull books are mostly straightforward procedurals with certain scenes – Hennessey thinking about his long-dead wife, his “surprising” affair, Yellich with his wife and learning disabled son. I like the York city setting, as York is a favorite city of mine. Often you know the killer from the start.
Hope your migraine is long gone.
This week: finished A NATURAL HISTORY OF HELL, Jeffrey Ford’s latest collection of fantasy (and some horror) stories, the second I’ve read. SANTORINI CAESARS is the latest Ch. Insp. Andreas Kaldis book by Jeffrey Siger, though he takes a back seat to his subordinates for much of the story, which is set mainly on the title island far southeast of Athens. I wouldn’t put it near his best, but I did enjoy it and the finish was excellent.
AN OBVIOUS FACT is Craig Johnson’s latest Walt Longmire, taking him and Henry Standing Bear (and ultimately, Vic Moretti) to the world’s biggest motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, as well as the nearby Devil’s Tower area near Hulett, Wyoming. I like the relationships in the books better than the television adaptation. Good stuff.
Lastly (other than more short stories, some from MISSISSIPPI NOIR and some from EQMM) was a book I picked up free at Bouchercon, Max Allan Collins’s EARLY CRIMES, containing two short stories he wrote in college (one a Jim Thompson homage) and an early short novel (never before published), SHOOT THE MOON. The latter (as the introduction makes clear too) is an obvious attempt at a “humorous” Donald Westlakian novel, which shows that it isn’t as easy as Westlake often made it appear, certainly for a young writer. It is quite readable but immediately forgettable.
We were also busy this week with a concert (Lampedusa – Concert for Refugees, with Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant, Steve Earle, Buddy Miller) and a show for our Anniversary (which is actually today), BEAUTIFUL – the Carole King musical. Oh yeah, and I think there was a debate in there. This week: Lewis Black on Broadway (tonight), followed by Steely Dan and Rickie Lee Jones at the Beacon tomorrow.
Next, Archer Mayor’s PRESUMPTION OF GUILT.
Happy anniversary, Jeff and Jackie!
Jeff, your description of the Turnbull book is spot on. I managed to read another 40 pages yesterday in short bursts between lie-downs in a dark room, and I know who did it, and why, so now it’s just a matter of the coppers catching up to the obvious, unless something unexpected occur late in the book. I have the next in the series but am not in a hurry to read it. It seemed Yellech was as much a main character as Hennessey.
Migraine better – meaning down to a mild regular-type headache – this morning, but didn’t get much sleep.
Barbara agrees with your assessment of the Siger. I still need to start the Longmire series. No short stories for me this week, but hoping to read a few this week. Sounds like you have a terrific concert week ahead. I love Steely Dan.
Happy Anniversary to a wonderful couple! May you be blessed with many more years together.
Obviously, that should be “Max” up there,
I caught them and made the correction.
I always mean to proofread but often forget until it is posted and it’s too late.
I catch and edit the obvious things, though would not change titles, meaning or intent in any way. But if I see teh I’ll change it to the, and the like.
‘teh’ is probably my most common typo. I usually do notice that, though. Or at least spell check notices it.
I’ve just about given up and accepted that I won’t be able to settle my mind to do any long-form, non-political reading until this damn election is over. I’ve been trying to make it through Ben Winters’s WORLD OF TROUBLE, the final book in THE LAST POLICEMAN trilogy. This one is far more picaresque than the previous two. So far, it’s one extended road trip as the main character attempts to locate his sister as a meteor hurls toward the earth. I have several other books sitting on my end table, none of which I have even cracked open. I have at least 25 books on my library list, but I haven’t activated the request on any of them. Roll on November 9–for so many reasons!
I’m trying to read, read, read in order to block out the damn election stuff. I have spent my time reading and researching the local people and propositions, and just about have my ballot filled out (it’s all vote by mail here), just a school board person or two to go, and one thorny proposition to decide. Then I’ll drop it off at the library where I have 2 books waiting. I have to pick them up by Wednesday closing.
You’re reactions to the Winter trilogy follow Barbara’s and Jackie’s.
Happy Anniversary, Jeff and Jackie! How many years is it now?
Thanks. 46 years, believe it or not. Needless to say, we got married young. We’ve been lucky. We don’t do gifts anymore, but our anniversary “treats” were Lewis Black on Broadway last night and Steely Dan at the Beacon tonight.
By coincidence, Deb, John Scalzi said on his blog that his latest book was weeks late getting to his publisher because of obsession with the election. I’m definitely spending more time on various articles, as I need to send Jackie the ones I know she will want to read. She is spending (to my mind) an inordinate amount of time (don’t tell her I said so) watching MSNBC, now even extended to weekends.
One of these days I’m going to try and read one of those “The Girl Who…” books. They almost sound like the How To…” books I used to read way back.
The Mote in God’s Eye. Dang, but it’s long.
It’s a good one, though, Bob. Hope you are enjoying it.
Loved the aliens but was put off by the misogyny. They introduce a interesting female character who spends most of the book mooning about the main male character. I also remember disliking the last 25% of the book.
I finished EMPIRE by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard. It’s the second in their INVADERS SF trilogy. The first in the series, CONQUEST, started slow and took a long while to take off; once the plot and action started moving I liked it a lot. This one grabbed me from the first page, sending me on a wild ride throughout the galaxy. Intergalactic plots, space battles, political intrigue, alien monsters, a secret race controlling the alien conquerors without their knowledge, a religious cult of women training teenage girls to become psychic assassins, likable and very unlikable characters, blood and gore and death, daring rescues, as well as true love — the books has it all and somehow manages to rise above these kitchen sink themes to become an enjoyable and exciting read. Now begins my search for the final book in the trilogy.
I also read Walter Satterthwait’s NEW YORK NOCTURNE: THE RETURN OF MISS LIZZIE, a 1920’s New York City mystery. Sixteen-year-old Amanda is spending the summer with her cosmopolitan uncle at his apartment at the Dakota. Unfortunately, a week into the vacation, someone stoves the uncle’s head in with a hatchet. Because the case could involve some of the city’s biggest and most influential mobsters, the police hope to pin the murder on Amanda. After all, this was the second corpse murdered by a hatchet that Amanda has discovered in a space of three years. (The first was in MISS LIZZIE, an earlier adventure.) Amanda’s friend Lizzie Bordon hears of her plight and comes to her rescue. Lizzie, her friend Dorothy Parker, and Amanda go in search of the killer to clear Amanda’s name. Satterthwait’s writing is smooth and witty. Here’s his description (as related by a female) on a woman we later learn is Mae West: “Her small, voluptuous body was tightly sheathed in a glistening black silk gown that left her arms and pale round shoulders bare. It also left bare a large percentage of her chest, which took up a large percentage of her body.” A wonderful book which I recommend highly.
My FFB is week was Allan Ullman & Lucille Fletcher’s SORRY, WRONG NUMBER, a tight, claustrophobic thriller.
While cataloging my books I came across several more Danny Dunn juveniles. This week I read DANNY DUNN ON THE OCEAN FLOOR. I’ll probably read some more over the next two weeks.
I spent yesterday at a 4-year-old’s Pumpkin Party which wore me out. Luckily, I have had enough time to recuperate for Halloween festivities today.
Enjoy today, Richard, and don’t take any wooden candy bars!