Mexican drug cartels. Double agents. International money laundering. Gun fights. Massacres.
Random House Australia
Year of Publication:
GREASING THE PINATA - Tim Maleeny
The author, Tim Maleeny has chosen to go down the wise-cracking PI route and it does serve him pretty well. What doesn’t is a plot that is a little too long on action and short on depth. There are only so many times Cape can fall into the hands of the bad guys and be rescued by Sally before it begins to become a little stale.
GREASING THE PINATA does have some genuinely humourous moments, However, the fight scenes and action sequences overshadow them. My opinion is coloured because I’m not really an action fan. It’s fine on the movie screen, but for the most part I find it tedious in books.
If you’re looking for a quick pacey read, then GREASING THE PINATA might work for you. If you want something with more substance and credibility you may find yourself disappointed.
BLOOD IN THE WATER, Gillian Galbraith
'If it was me, if I was the murderer, Alice thought, where would I go? What would I do? The job he had set himself was unfinished, he must be aware that his luck could not go on forever. It was a simple calculation; at best, a lifetime in prison, at worst he'd be killed by the police whilst attempting to complete his self-appointed task.'
Okay, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, what DO they put in the water supply in Scotland. Or maybe it's because of the notoriously dire weather - people are indoors and a percentage of them turn to writing. Don't know. But whatever it is, I hope they keep it up as there are some terrific books coming out of there.
BLOOD IN THE WATER is the first Alice Rice mystery - the second WHERE THE SHADOW FALLS is now also available. In this debút, there's an interesting character being formed. She's a little sketchy in some places in this book, but in compensation there is a tricky plot with members of the professional elite - Barristers, Doctors, being murdered. There is an obvious killer connection, as similar styled notes are being left on the bodies, but the connection between all of the victims isn't immediately obvious.
A police procedural, BLOOD IN THE WATER features Alice Rice as a disillusioned cop. A loner not by choice, she has a nothing sort of a personal life and it worries her very much. Her relationships at work with her colleagues is better, and there are glimpses of an interesting team within this book. The plot of this book is nicely complicated by the search for a connection between the victim's and the way that Alice unearths it. There are some nice touches throughout the book that give a glimpse into the character of Alice, but in some places she's a bit sketchy, a bit ethereal. Possibly more may be revealed in the second book (or at least I hope it is as Alice is somebody who is interesting).
All in all, I really enjoyed this book - you have to cut it a little slack as it's a debút with a few faults, but a lot going for it. It's a good story in a mercifully tight and reasonably sized book, with a central character that is really going to be worthwhile catching up with again.
CITY OF SPIES - Simon Levack
CITY OF SPIES is the third book in the Aztec series set in Mexico in 1517. Tetzcoco is the second largest city of the Aztec realm, a bustling town full of poets, artists, merchants and commerce. It is also the centre of a fight for the Aztec throne and its streets are full of spies and assassins stalking each other and killing violently.
Yaotl is an ex-priest, now slave, who finds himself in Tetzcoco being sold for sacrifice by his master Lord Feathered-In-Black. He is rescued when bought by his old lover Tiger Lily, in town on a mission of her own. Yaotl then finds himself trying to return the favour of rescue when Lily is accused of the murder of a powerful merchant. Yaotl, his son Nimble, Lily's father Kindly and a young Mayan girl Little Hen, all combine to rescue Lily with a combination of lawyerly talking, spying and manipulating of their own.
The author uses a combination of local words and "Anglicised" versions of place and people's names which makes for some quirky outcomes, and they, and an overall tone of tongue in cheek humour make CITY OF SPIES a great fun book. Yaotl is a fabulous character, irreverent, willing to take some risks, observational and reactive - there's nothing in the idea of a slave working his way into high offices and appearing alongside all stratas of a hierarchical society that clashes, mostly because of the fabulous, fearless, even larrakin behaviour of Yaotl.
The book also gives a wonderful sense of Aztec society - from the layout of the hierarchies, to the nature of their housing, the functioning of the society and the justice system - the whole thing combines to give a really involving feeling of being in that place. In fact, I think it's that sense of being from the time that really makes CITY OF SPIES.
The first chapters of the book take a little getting used to - the elaborate names and places, as well as the rapid fire commencement of events may throw you a little until you get into the swing of understanding how the language works. Once you've got into the swing of it you're drawn into Aztec society very deftly. The only minor quibble is that it might be better to start at the first book in the series as there is obviously a lot of back story to Yaotl that is intriguing. I know I'm going back to read the first two, first chance I get.