Friday, March 7, 2014

Lee Child, Gene Kerrigan, Cormac McCarthy and More

I've been busy traveling and have managed to read quite a bit while doing so, despite the lack of blog posts! Here are a few highlights, with more to follow soon.

I finished reading Lee Child's Never Go Back, A Jack Reacher Novel.  It was a typical Lee Child go-go-go plot salted with Reacher's droll humor and observations.  I enjoyed the book, but somehow it felt a little thin. Perhaps I am growing a bit weary of the formula for this particular series. Nonetheless, if you are a fan of Jack Reacher, this is a must read.

Moving from the familiar Jack Reacher to a new police procedural, I read The Rage by Gene Kerrigan. Set in Dublin during the depth of Ireland's post-Celtic Tiger economic depression, the novel features Detective Sergeant Bob Tidey.

Tidey, investigating the murder of a Dublin banker, is sorting through the snarl of economic tricks and corrupt practices that developed during the boom years and led to economic chaos. Tidey and the police have to determine, given all that is going on, who wanted to murder this particular banker? And does anyone really want to know why? Meanwhile, on the other side of the tracks, a violent young criminal named Vincent Naylor is plotting a big score with his crew. Will Naylor's rampage be successful?

Featuring nuns, ruffians of all sorts, office politics, and the daily grind, The Rage is interesting reading.

Finally, while in Mexico I read read two books by Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men. Why haven't I read these two excellent books before? Too many books and too little time, I guess. In any event, sometimes there is an excellent synergy between the book you are reading and the place you are reading it.  I found Mexico is the perfect place to read and enjoy these two works, and particularly All the Pretty Horses as much of the plot takes place there.  But if you haven't read them yet, don't wait for a holiday to check out these must-read classics. Both are gripping works and a pleasure to read.

More winter travel reading reports coming soon!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Highly Recommended: Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin

Inspector John Rebus is out of retirement and back on the Edinburgh police force in Saints of the Shadow Bible.  Returning to the job isn't easy.  On the one hand, the force has changed and finding a place for Rebus in the new order is difficult.  For example, he is now operating at a lower rank than when he retired, and people he used to supervise are now his superiors.

On the other hand, things one might have considered to be ancient history are getting dug up.  The police department's internal affairs investigators have begun looking into whether or not officers Rebus served with when he started on the job cut to many corners, or even committed murder.  Was Rebus involved? What does he know about possible police corruption?

What hasn't changed is that Rebus knows how to solve a case.  In between the internal affairs investigation and office politics, Rebus unravels an intriguing mystery that starts with a simple car crash and leads to bigger crimes with wider implications . . . and death.

This is a highly entertaining and absorbing police procedural.  It also weaves in interesting plot points concerning the upcoming vote in Scotland on whether or not Scotland should become independent and leave the United Kingdom.

Check out Saints of the Shadow Bible if you are looking for a great weekend read.

Friday, January 24, 2014

What are you reading this weekend?

This weekend I'm going to read Ian Rankin's Saints of the Shadow Bible. Rankin's past books featuring Edinburgh homicide detective John Rebus have been good, and Marilyn Stasio called Saints of the Shadow Bible a "terrific new procedural" in her New York Times column.  

So, that's what I'm into this weekend. You?


Longbourn by Jo Baker. Have Your Read It?

Last night I finished reading Longbourn by Jo Baker.   The novel is about the lives and dramas of the servants in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  I found it to be a pleasant read, with the second half of the book a bit more engaging than the first.  It is not, however,  groundbreaking fiction.

Have you read Longbourn?  What did you think?  It has inspired me to read again Austen's novel.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Good Cop is a Good Book

I wrapped up reading Brad Parks' A Good Cop.  It was the type of mystery book that I enjoy: engaging, humorous at times, and simply entertaining to read.  A Good Cop is one of a series of books by Parks that features a character named Carter Ross.  Ross is an investigative reporter for the Newark Eagle-Examiner. In this outing, Ross looks into the apparent suicide of a police officer.  Of course, things are not as they seem and Ross sets out to break open the story.

Check out The Good Cop: A Mystery (Carter Ross Mysteries) if you need a book to cozy up with during this spell of cold winter.

Friday, January 10, 2014

What are you reading this weekend?

I've finished reading Mohsin Hamid's excellent novel How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.  If you are looking for a weekend read, check it out.  The story is cast as a self-help book and follows the life, loves, and ambitions of an unnamed man, living in an unnamed country, as he makes his way in a new world order. A lively, engaging, and memorable story.  I now intend to go back and read the author's debut novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist.


With that wrapped up, this weekend I'm turning to The Good Cop, which is the fourth installment in one of my favorite mystery series. The series is created by Brad Parks and features a protagonist named Carter Ross, an investigative reporter at the Newark Eagle-Examiner.  I love the tone of these books: mystery with a dash of levity.

That's what's on my reading agenda.  And you?