Books read and still to read: reviews

Book reviews:

my grading system: 1* to 5*

1* Ok if you must and have nothing better to read

2* well there are better

2.5* readable and you might like this or you might be indifferent

3* this is quite good and probably worth following a series

4* now you should read this

5* rarely given as quite outstanding

‘Passions of the Dead’ by LJ Sellers.

I like these ‘fun’ lightweight crime/detective novels as a contrast to the more complex novels of authors such as Elizabeth George and Patricia Cornwell. There is not as much complexity in either the characterisation or the plot, but then I am paying either nothing a they are free Kindle books, or very little – I have a rule not to pay more than £2 for an author I do not know and respect as having something valuable to contribute to my library – which is quite extensive already…

That said, the series about Detective Jackson by LJ Sellers are quite well written and this particular novel had a good twist in the ending that I didn’t see coming. I do find it very difficult to imagine how life must be for Americans and me if I lived in the USA – due to the medical situation and lack of the NHS. We would have been bankrupted many years ago and  the issues that come from owing medical bills provides good fodder for authors including LJ Sellers in this story. It puts a lot of pressure on characters and gives the authors many twists to play with.

I have also just finished ‘Dying for Justice’ the previous in the series and I particularly like the character Lisa Evans – she shows promise. Clearly other readers thought this too as she has just been given her own novel – she is the main protagonist in ‘The Gauntlet Assassin’. It is a pity that the girlfriend Kera in the Detective Jackson novels seems to be about to be written off, she added a nice element to the characterisation of Jackson. Killing the coma victim was unnecessary I thought and the parents of Jackson needed more detailed exploration as to their reactions to the infidelity and subsequent pregnancy.

2.5 *

A much more serious book was the one I read for Book Club: ‘Address Unknown’ by Kressman Taylor. This has been called the best short story ever written and the ending – if you think through the implications – is horrific. The ending led to quite an intense discussion at book club – was it the right or moral thing to do? Knowing as the perpetrator did, what would happen because of his actions, even though he, himself was across the ocean from these actions.

The story is a set of letters written to each other by two friends. It was set in 1934 and written in 1938. When published in the US in 1938 it caused a storm. Within 10 days of [publication it had sold out and was picked up by Reader’s Digest to distribute. Although it was published in the UK in 1939, the start of the war meant that it was not generally read. It eventually came to Europe and the UK in 1999 and again was a best seller.

You can read this book in less than an hour but the story will live with you for a very long time and the moral question of the ending will make you think and question action and reaction and do the means justify the ends for quite some time.

Highly recommended. 5*

 

Also read: ‘Fallen’ by Karin Slaughter

This is a great contrast in terms of complexity of plot and characterisation and you can see why she is such a best selling author.  This another in the special agent Faith Mitchell series and she has moved on with a young baby and still working with Will Trent – who is dyslexic with some of the difficulties that this condition brings with it.

The surprise of course is cleverly brought to light and I certainly didn’t suspect it. Whilst a little bllod-thirsty and gun oriented for me, I still enjoyed the style of writing and the plot and found it difficult to put down. 4*

 

Still to read: new additions to the list!

I am a sucker for good bookshops especially second-hand as I can justify that the books are cheap and it is good recycling. So I bought some new books last week:

‘the Brutal Art’ by Jesse Kellerman – this was on the recommendation of Jackie – now who Jackie was I am not sure, but the book had a cardboard cover with her review on it – which said:

: Why – an investigation into four brutal murders 40 years old is linked to the discovery of some weird artwork. Who for – anyone who enjoyed The Interpretation of Murder.

Now as I like art and really enjoyed The Interpretation of Murder. It sold it to me.

Also Mum’s book: Faye Kellerman’s Hangman.

 

Finally my new Elizabeth George paperback arrived from Amazon: Believing the Lie.

So lots to read and then there’s the book club book:

‘Bits of Me are Falling Apart: Dark Thoughts from the Middle Years’ by William Leith

Oh well …

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