We took a couple of weeks off over Christmas / New Year and spent the time driving around in the new car (working out how to drive it / charge it / where the cup holders are - all that sort of stuff), and managed a couple of days of long meanders with the dogs when it wasn't hot enough to melt concrete. Also did some reading - some of which was catchup / some f2f bookclub and some, just because. All of them are marked as review to come as it'll take me a little while to tick off the general admin / email backlog / what was I doing before the break work stuff.
In the audio section I finished listening to the 6th Jack Parlabane book - DEAD GIRL WALKING by Christopher Brookmyre. Slightly less manic than you'd normally expect from a Brookmyre novel. Then I started THIS MUCH IS TRUE by Miriam Margolyes (rained out days in the cricket are handy when you're attempting to start a book like this and really really don't want to be interrupted). As instructive, detailed, incisive and hilarious as you'd expect. And narrated by her into the bargain. A joy.
In the general reading section, this month's bookclub book was NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS by Behrouz Boochani which needless to say left us all saddened, and more than a bit angry about the things done in our name. This is the country we've become and I'm horrified. The whole bookclub was actually - and we're a politically diverse bunch with considerable variances in life experience. I didn't quite finish the book before this weekend's gathering because I didn't want to rush it - it's one that everyone should read and it needs to be carefully considered. Astounding work.
In the crime fiction section, Australian-sub-section I read THE BROTHERS from debut author S.D. Hinton and THE RUSSIAN WIFE by Barry Maitland. I understand that the Maitland novel is the last in the long-running, much admired Brock & Kola series which is really sad - it's a great series, with the earlier novels often revolving around a place of architectural significance or difference as the hook to pull the story into context. The Hinton novel was a fascinating debut, built around the experience of a decorated, returning soldier, coming back from Afghanistan to find his family in considerable peril and no clear indication of where the threat is coming from. Brilliant portrayal of a man suffering from the impact of war - physically and mentally, built into a thriller plot that will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. The current read from this pile is another sorely overdue book THE CANE by Maryrose Cuskelly. Managed to get in a few chapters last night and it was only a desperate need for sleep that stopped me - so far it's really compelling.
In the sub-section "Other Places" I read 1979 by Val McDermid. Partially because 1989 lobbed and I panicked and partly because I'm behind with McDermid's work in general and need to "extract my digit".
That's the mantra for this year - I need to extract my digit and do some serious catching up. Overall I managed to sneak into the 100+ book's read for the year (don't pay any attention to GoodReads - I've got to sort out the list of what I did read and when there at some stage, although I'm going to be moving everything out to BookWyrm in line with last year's Social Media isn't Commercial Social Media decisions).
Anyway, Happy New Year and enjoy the books - looks like we're in for some really exciting new crime fiction releases this year.
Life is dangerous when you have everything to lose. Famous, beautiful and talented, Heike Gunn has the world at her feet. Then, one day, she simply vanishes.
Meanwhile, journalist Jack Parlabane has lost everything: his career, his marriage, his self-respect. A call for help from an old friend offers a chance for redemption — but only if he can find out what happened to Heike. Pursued by those who would punish him for past crimes, Parlabane enters the secret-filled world of Heike’s band, Savage Earth Heart, a group at breaking point. Each of its members seems to be hiding something, not least its newest recruit Monica Halcrow, whose alleged relationship with Heike has become a public obsession.
Monica’s own story, however, reveals a far darker truth. Fixated on Heike from day one, she has been engulfed by paranoia, jealousy and fear, as she discovers the hidden price of fame. From Berlin to Barcelona, from the streets of Milan to remote Scottish islands, Parlabane must dredge up old secrets to find Heike before it’s too late.
The year started badly and only got worse–blizzards, strikes, power cuts, and political unrest were the norm. For journalist Allie Burns, however, someone else's bad news was the unmistakable sound of opportunity knocking, and the year is ripe with possibilities. But Allie is a woman in a man's world. Desperate to get away from the "women's stories" the Glasgow desk keeps assigning her, she strikes up an alliance with wannabe investigative journalist Danny Sullivan. From the start, their stories create enemies. First an international tax fraud, then a potential Scottish terrorist group aiming to cause mayhem ahead of the impending devolution referendum. And then Danny is found murdered in his flat. For Allie, investigative journalism just got personal.
The first novel in McDermid's newest series, 1979 is an atmospheric journey into the past with intriguing insight into the present, and the latest addition to McDermid's crime pantheon.
An isolated house. A mysterious note. Someone is watching An isolated house. A mysterious note. Someone is watching ...
An absorbing, atmospheric mystery about families, secrets and the bonds of brotherhood set on the Victorian south coast.
When the Russian wife of the owner of one of the most valuable private collections of modern art in the UK is found dead, Detective Chief Inspector David Brock is drawn into a world of high-end art, a world very different to his own. From the dealers and galleries in London's West End, his investigations take him to Miami and New York on the trail of international forgery and fraud.
At the same time his ex-partner Detective Chief Inspector Kathy Kolla who now leads one of the Metropolitan Police Murder Investigation teams, finds herself at the wrong end of a corruption charge. With her whole career in the balance, she will do almost anything to clear her name.
ONE MISSING GIRL.
A TOWN ABOUT TO IGNITE.
Quala, a North Queensland sugar town, the 1970s.
Barbara McClymont walks the cane fields searching for Janet, her sixteen-year-old daughter, who has been missing for weeks. The police have no leads. The people of Quala are divided by dread and distrust. But the sugar crush is underway and the cane must be burned.
Meanwhile, children dream of a malevolent presence, a schoolteacher yearns to escape, and history keeps returning to remind Quala that the past is always present.
As the smoke rises and tensions come to a head, the dark heart of Quala will be revealed, affecting the lives of all those who dwell beyond the cane.