Friday, September 25, 2009

The Brutal Telling

I've read Carolyn Hart and Joan Hess. They write 'cozy mysteries'. I had heard about Louise Penny's cozy mystery series featuring Montreal detective Inspector Gamache, but had never read one until I received the ARC for her latest, The Brutal Telling. This is no cozy mystery. It is a dark, complex mystery that has all the trappings of a cozy mystery (small town, fireplaces, B&Bs, etc.)but Penny doesn't follow the formula. Though Gamache is a different type of inspector for me (he's quite, friendly and thoughtful,) Penny makes good use of him and his team of investigators.

With a story line of a dead body found on the floor of the popular restaurant, the story could have petered out and become tiresome quickly. However, although nobody in the town says they know the stranger, the reader knows this isn't true. But we don't know if the person that knew the stranger actually committed the crime. Though investigating a crime in a small town where everyone knows one another is often times like trying to unravel a knot of Christmas tree lights, Gamache and his team see beyond the niceness and uncover a secret that unfortunately shows that greed and murder do not stop at the city limits.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBAW Reading Meme

Today I stole another Meme. This time from Marie at The Boston Bibliophile and SFP at Pages Turned.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack? my fingernails

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? I used to all the time, but I have become lazy.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? I dog-ear and mostly use pictures of my wife and daughter.

Laying the book flat open? for brief intervals only.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? mostly fiction, but I wouldn't be complete without non-fiction.

Hard copy or audiobooks? Books only please

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point? I don't think I've ever intentionally stopped at the end of chapter. Seems a strange way to think about reading. The end of a chapter isn't the end of the story, so what's the difference?

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? I've never looked up a word from a book I've been reading. If I don't know the word, it doesn't matter to me. Plus, I don't like reading books in which the author uses 'fancy' words when simple ones will do.

What are you currently reading? The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny and Justice Hall by Laurie King

What is the last book you bought? A stack of Little Golden Books for my daughter.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time? No matter how much I try to read a couple books at once, I always end up dedicating my time to one book and one book only.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? My couch at night.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? series. It allows for fun character development.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? I have stopped trying after having many loved ones throw books at me.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) The books I collect, I categorize by author's last name. My other books, I categorize by author only.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Louise Penny - Brutal Telling

I'm making my way through Louise Penny's Brutal Telling, the second of three ARCs I have to review this month. This book has become my lunchtime reading so it may go a little slow, but it is certainly a much better novel than Barclay's Fear the Worst. I've never read Penny before so this is my first Inspector Gamache mystery. I really like the detective so far and the small town Canadian setting is a different read for me. I can't wait to get deeper into the investigation and enjoy some more of Penny's great writing.

I've taken on another Mary Russell novel as well. Laurie King's Justice Hall, sends Holmes and Russell to Justice Hall, an elegant, elaborate and enormous estate to help two old friends uncover the truth about what happened to their nephew. I don't know what to say about King's Mary Russell series that hasn't been said before. All I can really say is that they are perfect reads.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fear the Worst

A couple months ago, I was thrilled to receive my first Review Copy from LibraryThing. I snagged Linwood Barclay's new thriller, Fear the Worst.

Tim Blake is Barclay's everyman and the driver of all the action. Blake is a divorced car salesman and father of a teenage daughter, Sydney. One day, after a brief argument over breakfast, Sydney never comes home. Weeks go by with no leads. What's a father to do? Well, like most good action heroes, Blake takes it into his own hands. He relentlessly retraces Sydney's last steps, continuously going by the hotel where she worked, her picture constantly in hand. Though Blake is a likable character, I couldn't help but be reminded of Frank Bascombe from Richard Ford's Independence Day and Liam Neeson's character from the movie Taken. I think Barclay got Blake right, but missed out on bringing real tension to the plot. The 'bad guys' aren't bad enough (like Eli Wallach said in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk.")and the reason for Sydney's disappearance wasn't believable enough for me.

Worst of all was the cliche climax. A bridge at night, unlikely suspects, guns being kicked away, just out of reach. It seems as though Barclay was writing a movie script and they put it between covers and called it a book. This isn't always a bad thing. The book was fast and it was fun and I may read Barclay again, but I won't be passing Fear the Worst on to anybody that hopes for the best.

Friday, September 04, 2009

This is one of the saddest stories I've read in a long while.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

ARCs to review

I just began reading See Delphi and Die, my first Marcus Didius Falco mystery, but I have a small pile of ARCs beginning to pile up on the bedside table, eagerly waiting to be reviewed. I think it's time that I turn my attention to some books and authors that I want to review. First up will be Linwood Barclay's Fear the Worst. I got this from Library Thing a month or so ago. Second on the list is My Cousin Caroline by Rebecca Ann Collins. It's book six in the Pride and Prejudice sequel series, but it'll be my first time reading the series. I got this book via BookBlogs.ning. The third book on the list, is Louise Penny's Brutal Telling. It's Penny's new Inspector Gamache mystery.

I don't post typical reviews to begin with, but it's time to get my reviewing brain on and stop procrastinating. There are some good books waiting to be read!