Current Reading: Lafferty, Steele, Patrick, Camilleri

I finished Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty, a locked room science fiction mystery, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Recommend.

I also read Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson. This was the second book by her I’ve tried, the other being The Reek of Red Herring. I’m sorry to say that though I liked Neighbors better than Herring, neither particularly worked for me. Her writing style lends itself to dense descriptive phrasing, which I rather liked, but the plots didn’t carry my interest. Sometimes authors just don’t click.

Next up was Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steene, which I thought was great fun. It’s the origin story of an updated Captain Future, a pulp character created by Edmund Hamilton. Good fun.

Now I’m working my way through a cozy which two reviews praised: Design for Dying by Renee Patrick (Rosemarie Keenan and Vince Keenan). I don’t read a lot of cozies, but I’m enjoying this one, which takes place in 1930s Hollywood. It’s an amateur detective (Lillian Frost) and homicide cop sort-of team up, with film wardrobe designer Edith Head in a major role. I’m at about the midpoint.

I have two more library books here and two more on the way. How does this happen?

Barbara finished, and enjoyed, The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell. She’s sad because it’s the last in the series, and there will be no more.

Now she’s about halfway along in Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri, an Inspector Maltalbano novel.

So how about you?
What have you been reading?

note: replies to your comments will be delayed due to the usual weekday reason.

About Rick Robinson

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

22 Responses to Current Reading: Lafferty, Steele, Patrick, Camilleri

  1. tracybham says:

    You have been reading a lots. I did not do well with the historical fiction series by Macpherson and I have not tried any of the standalone books yet. I plan to.

    I just finished The Getaway Car: A Donald Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany (which I had been reading off and on for months) and The Butcher’s Boy by Thomas Perry. My first book by Thomas Perry and it was very good. I am now reading The Likeness by Tana French. Only about a chapter into the book and it is very long.

    • Steve Oerkfitz says:

      I read Butchers Boy a long time ago and remembering enjoying it.
      This week I read a Tim Powers novella called Down & Out in Purgatory. It was okay, not among his best work. Read a short collection by Elizabeth Hand called: Fire .Enjoyable pieces about Thomas Disch and James Tiptree. Also includes The Saffron Gatherers, one of her best stories. And I read a Midwestern noir by David Joy called The Weight of His World which I liked and am just finishing Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino which I liked but it was a bit too look. Just dipped into Holiday From Hell, the newest collection from Reggie Oliver, one of my favorite short story writers. Kinda a cross between M.R. James and Robert Aickman. Also spent Friday & Saturday going thru the third season of Bosch on Amazon.

      • tracybham says:

        I will have to ask my husband if he is familiar with the Reggie Oliver collection. He likes both M.R. James and Robert Aickman. We haven’t started the 3rd Bosch season yet and we will take it slower. We are looking forward to it.

        • Steve Oerkfitz says:

          Lot of Reggie Oliver collections but they tend to be from small presses and pricey. The e books are pretty cheap though.

    • Deb says:

      I love THE LIKENESS! It’s my favorite Tana French book. Yes, you do have to suspend disbelief somewhat, but I had no trouble doing so.

      • tracybham says:

        I got to read one more chapter before bedtime last night and I am liking The Likeness a lot. I can see where it could be hard to believe, but the author writes very convincingly.

    • Glad I’m not the only one who didn’t get rapturous about Macpherson. I’ve heard a lot of people say they liked that Perry book.

  2. Deb says:

    I finished Sarah Pinborough’s BEHIND HER EYES. The promised wtf-ending was indeed a doozy, but I didn’t find that it developed organically from the plot and it seemed more of a marketing gimmick than a great ending to what had been, up to that point, a very interesting and well-plotted story of a love triangle.

    Then I read Barbara Vine’s THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT. I thought I’d read all the Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine books, but somehow this one slipped through the cracks. It’s set during the early-to-mid 1990s and is about a Conservative MP who arranges a role-play “kidnapping” of his married mistress. Things go disastrously wrong and the self-serving MP spends the next several years desperately trying to avoid the reckoning that is inevitable in the Barbara Vine universe.

    Then it was on to Julia Chapman’s DATE WITH DEATH, which I’d read about on Lesa’s blog. Although its title, cover, and hero/heroine names of Samson and Delilah would indicate that this book is a “cozy”, the story is rather dark and there’s an air of economic malaise hanging over the Yorkshire Dales village where murders (involving people who have joined a local dating service) take place. This is Chapman’s debut novel and I think she needed another edit to make her book either a full-on cozy or a much darker murder mystery.

    Next up: David Grann’s KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON, a nonfiction about a series of murders on the Osage Indian Reservation in the 1920s. I was interested in this book because my husband’s family is from Oklahoma, where the reservation is located, and because Maria Tallchief, the first Native-American prima ballerina, was growing up on the Osage Reservation around the time the murders were taking place. I’m not sure if her family was personally affected; I do see that Grann has listed Tallchief’s autobiography in his bibliography but, most disconcertingly, his book does not include an Index. Shouldn’t that be de rigueur for a big non-fiction book?

    • I rather like the idea that Chapman’s book is an in-between cozy/harder mystery. I just finished one that was sort of that way (next week, please) and some relief from the coziness was welcome, especially a small bit of gallows humor.

      An index should be required for all non-fiction. Absolutely.

  3. Jerry House says:

    I finished SEPULCRE, a horror novel by James Herbert. Not the best of his I’ve read but still very interesting. Also read EXILES of Time by Nelson Bond, my FFB this week, which I enjoyed a lot. The was the only novel of his which was published while he lived (another was posthumous), and I’ve read all his short story collections. I have really liked everything I’ve read from him.

    I read John Connolly’s BAD MEN, a standalone novel (although Connolly’s regular protagonist Charlie Parker makes a cameo appearance) about a woman and her young son who have escaped her violent husband and found shelter on an isolated Maine island. The husband gathers a gang of stone cold killers and tracks her down, not knowing that the island itself has been waiting for a chance to release evil forces. A fairly involved supernatural thriller with some very interesting characters. Well told.

    I read two graphic novels this week:VISION, VOLUME 1: LITTLE WORSE THAN A NAME and VOLUME 2: LTTLE BETTER THAN A BEAST. Vision, the android created by Ultron and now a member of The Avengers, has created an android family for himself — a wife and two teenage children. Unfortunately, androids have a lot to learn about humanity. Virginia, Vision’s wife, has become a murderess. As Vision tries to protect his family, the Avengers are forced to act. A quirky, tragic story arc. Not having enough Marvel comic book characters this week, we binge watched LEGION, the FX television show based on the Marvel comic. A rather trippy and somewhat confusing series that tied together very well by the last episode. Looking forward to the second season due next year.

    Hoping you usual weekday reason turns out well and that you are able to enjoy beautiful April weather in your garden. Stay strong.

    • That Connelly sounds pretty interesting, especially if it has a satisfying ending (i.e. bad guys get their just desserts). As for the weather, it’s still cold and rainy, but we’re promised a nice weekend coming up. I’m ready for it.

  4. I’m down to a dozen Library books in the Read Real Soon stack. I’m about to start THE VINYL DETECTIVE: THE RUN-OUT GROOVE, the second book in Andrew Cartmel’s series. The NHL Playoffs are cutting into my reading time. A record-breaking 18 Overtime games in the First Round! That’s a lot of late nights!

    • I’m getting reading time on you, as I’m absolutely not a hockey fan. Nor a soccer fan. So the NFL draft tomorrow (Wednesday) is about it for me. I hope the Seahawks draft smartly.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    How does this happen? I assume that is rhetorical. Every time you or Bill or George or Deb or someone mentions a book that sounds interesting, I check the library and /or Amazon or whatever, and add it to the list. The Lafferty is there, on the ebook hold list (I have 5-6 on hold there) and I just added the Steele to the regular hold list (it is #8). Fortunately (ha!) I am down to three library books at the moment, having read or returned the rest.

    Hope Barbara enjoys the Camilleri. I am up to date with the Montalbano series. Glad Tracy enjoyed THE BUTCHER’S BOY. Next should be METZGAR’S DOG. A lot of different and very interesting-sounding books by everyone this week, even if they aren’t all to my taste.

    I read MARTIANS ABROAD by Carrie Vaughn, one of Rick’s recommendations, which I liked a lot. She definitely set up a sequel. Then an article about Steve Earle’s writing music for an starring in an off-Broadway show (SAMARA) mentioned his short story collection, DOGHOUSE ROSES, so I borrowed the ebook from the library and read it. Good stuff.

    I liked Rachel Caine’s first YA about The Great Library of Alexandria, which controls all knowledge in the world and what books can be read (never owned), INK AND BONE. But the library didn’t get the second when it came out last year, so I had to wait until now to read PAPER AND FIRE, another very entertaining and fast-moving tale. The third will be out this summer.

    I know Rick did not like Bill Pronzini’s THE VIOLATED, but I very much disagree, as I raced through it yesterday. Yes it’s nasty, but it is as readable as anything he’s written. Rick did not like the shifting viewpoints, but each chapter is clearly marked indicating which character’s perspective we are getting. This is as least the second time Pronzini has used this technique – A WASTELAND OF STRANGERS is the one that comes to mind. A man is found murdered by a river. He was suspected of being a serial rapist, though there is not even enough evidence for an arrest, let alone a conviction. The implication is that someone close to one of the victims got revenge. The viewpoint characters are not only the victims and their loved ones, but the cops on the case, the sleazy, ambitious Mayor, the local newspaperman, etc. Good stuff.

    When Open Road had their free book offer last year one that I downloaded was Bel Kaufman’s collection of non-fiction pieces, as I’d recently reread her UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE. Much of the book – THIS AND THAT: Random Thoughts and Recollections – was written in the 1970s, when New York was facing severe financial difficulties, and that is a topic, as is her teaching career and his memories of her grandfather, Sholom Aleichem. Kaufman lived to be 103, and she is worth reading.

    • tracybham says:

      Thanks for the recommendation for METZGAR’S DOG, Jeff. I had read a bit about that and it sounded good. I have one other standalone (DEAD AIM?) and the first in the series he writes about Jane Whitefield.

    • Yes, rhetorical. I finished another last night and am now reading another library ebook. That leaves one here and two at the library. I may just return those and clean the plate.

      Barbara said yesterday she’s glad there are so many Maltabano books left to read as she likes them quite a lot. She’son #5 while I’ve read two plus the big story collection (First Case). Everybody but me liked Bill Pronzini’s THE VIOLATED. That’s okay. It’s the POV switch I found bothersome. It’s the first Pronzini I haven’t liked a lot. I read UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE a long time ago, remember liking it.

  6. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Current reading? After reading John Waters’ book piece in the NY Times, I decided to check out one of his recommended authors, Lydia Davis. I downloaded a collection, CAN’T AND WON’T, from the library. It is mostly very short (a page or two, for the most part) stories. Interesting. I started Michael Chabon’s MOONGLOW, a sort of fictionalized memoir of his grandfather that interested me. And I’ll get back to the Saki collection. I do have a couple more books, by Ben Aaronovitch and Carrie Smith, on hand, and a Peter O’Donnell Modesty Blaise collection in transit. I’ll have to see what else turns up this week and what catches my fancy.

  7. Gonna order avengers of the moon!

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