Sunday Salon: the week’s reading

Sunday Salon Since last week's Salon, I read Skin Privilege by Karin Slaughter and The Moment you were Gone by Nicci Gerrard. The former is part of the author's Grant County series: Karin Slaughter had a rest from that with her previous book, the stand-alone thriller Triptych (which I thought was jolly good). Skin Privilege continues the formula of previous episodes: doctor and part-time coroner Sara Linton and sheriff Jeffrey Tolliver get into sticky situation where help is not to be found easily, dissect their relationship, everything is simultaneously slow-motion and exciting, Lena and her awful past, as previously, provide the plot impetus. If you've read the earlier books in the series, you'll find this one well up to scratch. I don't recommend starting out with it, though. There is a shock at the end, but it has a tacked-on feeling to it, as if the author is getting bored. Time will tell.

The Moment you were Gone is the third of Nicci Gerrard's single-author books (she writes excellent thrillers with her husband Sean French under the name of Nicci French). I loved the previous two, and can equally recommend this one. It is very much in the Anita Shreve/Joanna Trollope mould – or rather like one of the Nicci French books without the crime part of the plot. The Moment you were Gone is about two girls who were best friends as children but when adults, one of them abruptly disappeared, never to be heard from for 18 years. What happened and why provides the framework to the story, complete with lots of family domestic minutiae. There are some humorously poignant passages, such as the time when one of the characters is stuck in a remote Welsh cottage for days and survives on home-made marmalade, stem ginger in syrup, and past-sell-by-date tinned octopus. One welcome aspect of the Penguin edition I read is that it contains a short essay by the author about her writing life, providing the context for why she created this particular book. I wish more publishers did this kind of thing.