Meta-reviewing and musing

One of my harmless foibles is that I like to read reviews of books I've already read, to see what other people made of them. I've seen a few of these recently, which I'd like to share in this post.

TDisappeared The Disappeared, by M. R. Hall, is reviewed by Cathy of Kittling:Books. Of the protagonist, Cathy writes: "Jenny Cooper is a very interesting, and very flawed, character. She suffers from acute anxiety and depends upon medication to keep herself together. She's raw from a nasty divorce. She's trying to be a good parent to a difficult teenaged boy. The man in her current relationship wants commitment, and her job is stressful and demanding. She's trying to give 110% to each facet of her life, and there are times when she almost comes unglued." Cathy identifies several aspects of the book to which I had a similar reaction. One thing that surprised me is that, she writes, The Coroner, the first novel in this series, has not been published in the USA. This is crazy – not only is The Coroner a superior book (in my opinion), but one needs to read it before The Disappeared in order to fully appreciate what is going on with Jenny and the other regular characters. (See my reviews of The Coroner and The Disappeared.)

  
TSPool Over at Mysterious Books News, you can read a review of Martin Edwards's latest novel in his Lake District series. From the review:  "The Serpent Pool
is a superb mystery, from both a plot, replete with classical literary references, and stylistic perspective. The characters are delightful and well drawn, the Lake District setting beautiful and charming. Even the various romantic elements, including those simmering just beneath the surface, play an important role here. As dark and disturbing secrets come to light, answers to questions of murder or suicide, past and present, are finally established in the thrilling conclusion to this exciting suspense novel." My take on the same book is here.

At Crime Scraps, you can read a review of About Face, by Donna Leon. Uriah a.k.a. Norman writes: "I find Donna Leon's books a constant delight as she describes a society where government agencies live alongside criminal gangs and sometimes you can't tell which is which."  You can see what I thought of this book at Euro Crime.

Truth Finally, for now, Glenn Harper of International Noir Fiction writes a superb review of Peter Temple's brilliant Truth, "a complex story with an ambivalent moral sense, told in terse coded dialogue among the police and an almost stream of consciousness narrative in the third person but from the point of view of the new head of homicide, Stephen Villani."  My review of this book was the first post of the new year at Petrona. "This is a fantastic book: it has a strong, satisfying plot; yet in its brutal, sad poetry it is a telling account of the myriad tragedies and ruined lives in our shallow, materialistic and unedifying age, dominated by our fascination with the power of technology and wealth, but lacking principle, depth or kindness."

4 thoughts on “Meta-reviewing and musing

  1. Maxine – Thanks for these useful links! It’s always so useful to read a few reviews of a book. Everyone’s got a different perspective, and it can be very helpful to read several of those perspectives as one’s deciding whether or not to read a particular book. That’s especially true given the cost of buying new books, especially internationally.

  2. And here one can be certain there won´t be spoilers. I wanted to check a fact about the book I am currently reading, and ran into a glaring spoiler. I am not very particular because my memory is practically non-existent, but even I will be able to remember that the antagonist was thrown into my face. (The reviewer probably thought it was justified because it is based on true crime and there is an introduction which reveals the plot, but I *don´t* read introductions until afterwards).

  3. Truth is a novel that has stumped quite a few reviewers, Bernadette (you read their reviews which start out fine and see where they just give up!). Almost all the reviews I’ve read (including mine!) have said that the book needs a second read to fully appreciate it (or get it) all….
    Dorte – also, I find cover blurbs are getting worse and worse at, basically, telling you the whole plot before you read the book. It does so much spoil a plot-based book to know how things progress for the first 3/4 (via the blurb) even if the actual end is not given away. I wish blurbs were more obscure!
    Margot, thanks for your encouraging (as ever) comment. Agreed that different (or even similar) perspectives are fun to read if you’ve read the book yourself.

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