Current Reading: Cartmel, Wilson, Lemaitre

vinyl-detective-1I finished both Fear of Drowning by Peter Turnbull and The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Both were just above average, though the Turnbull was the better of the two.

I started The Vinyl Detective – Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel. It’s the first in what is now a four book series. The protagonist is a London record collector who advertises that he can find any vinyl record, given time and his fee. I’m enjoying it quite a bit, especially the many record, equipment and jazz references.

darwiniaBut then a book I’ve wanted to read for some time finally came from the library in ebook format, Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson. It’s a 1998 science fiction / alternative history novel that was nominated for a Hugo. I’ve just started it but have high hopes.

blood-weddingBarbara finished The Family Plot, by Cherie Priest, which she said was good for the season, sort of Halloween light. It’s not her usual kind of reading, so she won’t pursue other novels by Priest. Now she’s reading Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre. author of the The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy, Alex, Irene and Camille

What about you? What are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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27 Responses to Current Reading: Cartmel, Wilson, Lemaitre

  1. Deb says:

    Although I thought I wouldn’t be able to lose myself in a book until after the election, I was pleasantly surprised this weekend to be able to do just that. First of all, I finally finished WORLD OF TROUBLE, the final book in Ben Winters’s THE LAST POLICEMAN trilogy. I tend to agree with some of the comments here that the each book decreased in quality from its predecessor. WORLD OF TROUBLE wrapped things up, but the last quarter of it seemed one long piece of exposition, as various characters reappeared to “explain” their actions. Good but not great.

    Then I picked up Brad Crouch’s DARK MATTER. I’d read and enjoyed one of his WAYWARD PINES books a few weeks ago, but DARK MATTER is a far more ambitious (and, in my mind, better) book. The basic plot involves a happily-married physics professor who is kidnapped one evening and sent to an alternate universe where he never married but became a rich, world-renowned research scientist. There’s a lot of exposition as to how the alternate universe/infinite worlds system works (I must admit, my eyes glazed a bit during those scenes), but the basic plot of a character trying to get back to the life and family he loves was very enjoyable and the pages breezed by. I actually finished it in one day (yesterday).

    Now I’ve picked up a couple of “dip-into-able” books that George recommended on his blog a couple of weeks back: Peter Bogdanovich’s WHO THE DEVIL MADE IT and WHO THE HELL’S IN IT, collections of interviews with and essays about directors or actors from the silent era all the way through the late-1990s. Perfect reading if you’re having trouble concentrating for more than a chapter or two right now.

    • It’s all been said about the Winter trilogy, and you’ve agreed, so on to your next remark. I haven’t read any of Couch’s books, and am unlikely too, given the number of things lined up here, but Dark Matter sounds better than the other ones. So you read it in one day, while watching the Saints hand the Seahawks another loss. Sigh.

      I have insufficient interest in directors and actors in film to try those. I only pay attention to the story on screen, not who is making/doing it.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I could have written Deb’s first line too. For me the book that worked was the new Harry Bosch book by the great Michael Connelly (I know some of you aren’t fans, but that’s OK too), THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE, out this month I believe. Thanks to a friend (thanks, Maggie!) I got an ARC at Bouchercon, and I raced through the nearly 400 pages on Saturday. Bosch is now a private investigator, while working as a cop part-time at the small San Fernando police department. Naturally there are two cases. The police case is a serial rapist. The cold case is about an 85 year old billionaire who wants to know what happened to his pregnant girlfriend and the child she was carrying over 60 years ago, and if he has a living heir he can leave his massive fortune to. Bosch does a masterful job with the case. Highly recommended to fans.

    Also read PRESUMPTION OF GUILT, the latest Joe Gunther case set in Vermont, by Archer Mayor. This didn’t engage me as much as the best of the long (25+ books) series, but was still a good one. Also reading the collection of stories based on Edward Hopper paintings, edited by Lawrence Block, IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW. Megan Abbott, Michael Connelly, Stephen King, and Joe R. Lansdale are among the distinguished authors here.

    And there were a couple more nights out taking up time: Lewis Black on Broadway on Monday, and Steely Dan with guest Rickie Lee Jones on Tuesday.

    I’ve finished (or returned) all my library books, so have turned to the Kindle for the 8th Tony Valentine book on casino cheats and grifters, JACKPOT by James Swain. Someone is stealing jackpots from casino slot machines and Valentine agrees to help when the man who killed his uncle decades ago in Atlantic City is identified as the guy behind it. It’s a very fast read. I also have his ebook prequel, set when Valentine was a cop in Atlantic City.

    • I read The Concrete Blond and didn’t like it and haven’t tried another Connelly, but I know I should. One of these days. Nice concerts. Have you seen Hamilton yet?

      I have the next couple Swain paperbacks (after the first one) waiting in the TBR, but have not made it to the smaller, more exclusive, Soonest To Read pile.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        To be honest I have little interest in Hamilton – though as Jackie does I guess we’ll see it eventually. But we don’t pay full price for shows as a rule, and this one is sold out months in advance.

        • We saw a program Saturday on PBS on it, with interviews of the writer/lead and historians, actors, etc. it was fascinating, we thought. So now I’m very interested. Of cours by the time it comes to Portland, it will be many years from now. I might try the full play on CD or better on DVD if that’s available sometime.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    THE VINYL DETECTIVE does sound interesting, and I’ve considered looking at DARWINIA after a couple of recent reviews.

    • I’m at the almost-halfway point in Vinyl Detective, and eager to get back to it, but the library ebook has priority right now. I have a couple other library books here too, so things are stacking up

  4. THE DARKEST SECRET by Alex Marwood and THE AVIATOR’S WIFE for my book group. I dreaded the later but it’s not as bad as I feared.

  5. It’s EXAM TIME again so I’m dealing with troubled students, online exam issues, and Halloween. I have a stack of short books to read if I ever find time. Meanwhile, I’m just reading a short story per day. Retirement is starting to look better and better.

  6. macavityabc says:

    I enjoyed The Vinyl Detective – Written in Dead Wax, and I think I reviewed it on the blog a while back. Recently reread a lot of Alistair MacLean, perfect for escaping the current scene.

  7. I want to read Darwinia also. I think I may have a copy around

  8. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    I recommend Darwinia. I’m a big fan of Robert Charles Wilson. This last week I read Fields Where They Lay, the newest Junior Bender novel by Timothy Hallinan which I liked a lot. Been dipping into a short story anthology called Highway Kind which includes Michael Connelly, C.J. Box, Ace Atkins, George Pelancanos and Joe Lansdale(my favorite so far.) Halfway thru Zoo Station, a WW2 spy novel by David Downing. I’m enjoying it so far. Will start the new Michael Connelly next, it comes out tomorrow. He is one of my favorite writers and am glad Jeff liked it.

    • Steve, Fields Where They Lay just showed up for me at the library, I’ll pick it up today or tomorrow. See my comment to Jeff on Connelly.

      • Steve Oerkfitz says:

        I liked Fields Where They Lay-not my favorite of the Junior Bender novels but still good. I place Connelly in the top 2 or 3 contemporary crime writers. I have read most of his books more than once.

  9. By the way, it’s been very windy (good bye, Fall color) and rainy here. The most rainy days in October (27) since 1947.

    • Jeff Meyerson says:

      And here we were ten inches below normal annual rainfall before cutting that down by a couple of inches last week.

  10. Jerry House said

    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!

    • Jerry, I pasted your comment (left on last weeks’ post) here.

      I gave up on S. king some time ago, too long and not very interesting to me, but you make The Invaders books – or at least that 2nd one sound really interesting. Maybe on of these days. I like Satterthwaite but have not read any lately. I guess that’s something I could say about many authors. If you slide over to George Kelley’s blog you’ll see my Halloween comments.

  11. Andrea J says:

    Very excited for your thoughts on Darwinia!

    Cherie Priest writes mostly steampunk and such, right? I’ve met the author a few times and she is exceedingly nice, but it’s rare that I pick up one of her books and say “I’ve got to read this right now!”.

    I finished Willful Child by Steven Erickson, which I recommend to anyone who enjoyed the movie Galaxy Quest. The novel pokes friendly fun at Star Trek, it’s a huge high five to Trekkies.

    Now onto Fix, by Ferrett Steinmetz, the 3rd in his ‘mancy series. The novel is heavy on the action so far, so I’m hoping it will settle down into characterization and family scenes that made the first two books so good. Also slowly reading The Narrator by Michael Cisco, it’s sort of China Mieville meets Gene Wolfe? Very beautiful language, must be savored slowly.

    • Steve Oerkfitz says:

      I like Michael Cisco although his books are sometimes slow to get into.

    • Yes, Boneshaker and the others that followed it. The book Barbara read is a stand alone.

      Haven’t read Erickson, nor did I see Galaxy Quest. Si out of the loop, I guess. I have seen mentions of both The Fix and The Narrator but have yet to choose either as reading material. Package may arrive today or tomorrow.

  12. Bob Napier says:

    Still reading The Mote In God’s Eye. It’s 530 pages and I’m about half way through. Also dipping into Guilt By Association, by Marcia Clark. I almost bailed in the first few pages when she had a female black lawyer talking like that sassy woman in the fried chicken commercials, but it got better after that and even the black woman toned it down.

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