Book lovers never go to bed alone

December 6, 2009

November books

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chantal @ 12:29 pm

Torchwood: Pack Animals108. Torchwood: Pack Animals by Peter Anghelides

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What do we want from tie-book? Solid characterization, that the characters sound like the original we know and love. Pack Animals does this and is entertaining too. The plot is a little foggy in places but the author doesn’t shy away from what makes Torchwood fun and attractive. Namely, Jack being Jack, competent Gwen, amusing Rhys and putting forward Cardiff and making it real and interesting. A good tie in reads like an episode without the special effects that the production couldn’t have afforded anyway. This one makes the cut.

Un été ardent109. Un été ardent by Andrea Camilleri

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A solid Montalbano. You get the main ingredients that makes this series set in Sicily so delightful : food, an investigation that involves local traditions (mafia, corruption and a twisted individual), Montalbano trying to be good and in this one book in particular being too good for his own good. I did see the ending coming a mile away than again, I’m not an aging detective trying to be loyal to oneself and his values. Just saying. A very solid 3 stars.

Un nom de torero110. Un nom de torero by Luis Sepúlveda

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Totally different from The Old Man Who Read Love Stories. Sepulveda wrote a noir, hard boiled post-Berlin wall treasure hunt with characters that have nothing or very little to lose. Hard, rough but smart characters. Hard men that spent their lives fighting, plotting, surviving. The lead character is as dangerous as the rest of them but still has a tiny part of his soul alive somewhere inside. Sepulveda writes compelling characters, he shows you, doesn’t tell you. You go along for the last ride of Juan Belmonte’s life in hunt for Nazi gold all the way at the end of the world where the sky meets the ocean.

Uniform Justice (Commissario Brunetti #12) 111.Uniform Justice by Donna Leon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A young man is found dead, hanging from the ceiling at a military academy. Suicide. Case closed. Not so much in Brunetti’s mind. This is one of the most depressing and cynical Brunetti novel’s yet.

Even Electra can not bring some light and colour in this very cynical tale of corruption, politics and honour (or the lack of it).

Good but a downer.

Doctored Evidence (Commissario Brunetti #13)112. Doctored Evidence by Donna Leon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
More like a domestic type of mystery for this mellow yet oppressive plot. Leon succeeded in taking a prosaic, down to earth, petty motive and transforming it into a commentary on the human psyche. Not bad for a mystery series novel. So it’s the height of summer and when Brunetti comes back from vacationing with his family, he finds a case that Scarpa has almost closed but ends up being a bone of contention between them. Scarpa, the villain of the series is more present in this novel than just being the dark cloud over Brunetti. Vianello is becoming Signorina Electra’s apprentice in hacking database. This story is so good because it’s banal, prosaic and so very human. To quote Stephan Eicher : “L’homme est un animal.” So very true, down to its petty, petty crimes.

Les Cochons d'argent113. Les Cochons d’argent by Lindsey Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The opening bow of Marcus Didus Falco is like a Chandler noir novel, with first person point of view, big corrupt city and this disenchanted, cynical PI who’s at the wrong place at the right time.

Davis succeeds in creating a believable Rome set in Vespasian’s time (70 AD) with it’s corrupt politicians, corrupt army, corrupt police and public administration and makes it connect with our modern life. That’s a tour de force.

Of course like any good noir novel, there is a damsel in distress that meets an horrible fate, there’s the traitor, the amazing leading lady and all the fauna you are used to. Davis introduces two strong characters Falco and Helena Justina who’s relationship molds and drives the series. You start reading the series because the plot and the set up is interesting and well done but you keep going back because of Falco’s and Helena’s love for each other, their family and friends.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd114. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Of course re-reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd gives you a different view of the novel and how brilliant Agatha Christie was. Not gonna say anything about the plot, why it’s so brilliant because if you haven’t read it, it would be a crime to spoil it. But I highly recommend that you do read it or read it again. Especially if you write yourself even if it’s just for yourself or fun. This is such a great way to see how it can be done.

A l'ombre des conspirateurs115. A l’ombre des conspirateurs by Lindsey Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This closes the conspiracy case Falco was assigned by Vespasian in the first book. The mystery is obvious and not really the strength of the book. It’s the characters that make you happy. Falco’s and Helena’s dance around each other and their almost modern way of dealing with the problems and tragedy. I especially liked Falco’s nephew in this. His family is as important as the mystery and in this book even more. The case is closed but Falco makes himself a dangerous enemy that will haunt the next few books. Even as a reread it’s pretty good.

Une veuve romaine116. Une veuve romaine by Lindsey Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
More like 3 1/2 stars. This is the first post conspiracy novel and it focuses on what works: the relationships between the characters. Falco and Helena finally decide to kept dancing together to the joy of the reader. The plot is weaved into the characters struggle and emotions. The plot serves the characters development and it works. As in real life the villains do not always get what’s coming to them and it’s okay since the characters live to be happy another day, another week.

Blackwork (A Needlecraft Mystery, #13)117. Blackwork by Monica Ferris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Almost 4 stars. This is vintage Betsy Devonshire. You have to go back more than 5 books to find one as strong and together as this one. Blackwork works. Plot wise, character wise (Betsy is the lead character again finally), Goodwin is there in support and the colourful friends of the needle shop are all there in character and not chewing scenery. Most of all, the needlework is an integral part of the mystery/story. It’s not used as infodump section. It’s fun, it’s interesting and it’s smart. This is a very nice surprise. I had almost given up on this series.

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