My Euro Crime and Petrona reviews for October

My three reviews for Euro Crime during October were of very different books: the latest exciting journalism-crime case for Swedish reporter Annika Bengstrom; a detailed and (seemingly) realistic Scottish police procedural with a senior female protagonist; and a Jack Reacher adventure thriller set in Nebraska. From my reviews:

Red Wolf by Liza Marklund: I found the novel a completely absorbing read and continue to regard this series as second to none in contemporary crime writing. Annika is both a serious-minded, determined protagonist, and a brave heroine for our strange, mixed-up times. *****

Shadowplay by Karen Campbell: Of all the UK police series being written today, I think Karen Campbell’s has rapidly become my favourite, mainly for its authenticity and for the character of Anna, a convincingly portrayed woman who is ambitious yet not prepared to sacrifice any of her own personal principles in order to smooth her path. For this reason, she’s probably admired by her colleagues more than she realises. I think this series is so far impressively varied (each of the three books has had a very different focus) and well written. I am looking forward to more. ***

Worth Dying For by Lee Child: As usual, my verdict on this novel is that if you like Jack Reacher stories, you’ll like this one. It contains all the ingredients that make this series such a success: tough hero adhering to his own moral code and standing up for the “true” American values that transcend officialdom; some exciting set-pieces; easy to read – the prose is not as simplistic as is found in some other bestselling novels but is pretty easygoing; a plot that provides a bit of mystery and suspense without taxing the brain too much; and plenty of wish-fulfillment concerning ethics and values that we’d all like for our society but which are unlikely ever to happen. Don’t go looking for holes in the plot as there are very many of them indeed. *

At Petrona I posted 14 reviews, with a pretty good global spread. Some of these books I enjoyed more than others, but there were at least some things to like in all of them, and a lot of things to like in some of them! I’ve given them one, two or three stars here, to indicate my own relative favourites among this particular batch.

Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay (USA, Canadian author)**
Blacklands by Belinda Bauer (England)***
The Guards by Ken Bruen (Ireland)***
Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave (New Zealand)*
The Reversal by Michael Connelly (USA)***
Kittyhawk Down by Garry Disher (Australia)***
Black Ice by Leah Giarratano (Australia)*
The Build Up by Phillip Gwynne (Australia)***
Gone by Mo Hayder (England)***
Sister by Rosamund Lupton (England)***
Audition by Ryu Murakami (Japan)*
Let the Dead Lie by Malla Nunn (South Africa)**
Experimental Heart by Jennifer L Rohn (England)**
Silence by Jan Costin Wagner (Finland, German author)***

Although I very much liked many of these titles, my book of the month has to be Red Wolf by Liza Marklund, translator Neil Smith. Don’t let this put anyone off from trying some of the others, though, as there are some very good novels in October’s selections.

My reviews so far this year.
My Euro Crime review archive.
Archive of all my book reviews.

1 thought on “My Euro Crime and Petrona reviews for October

  1. Margot Kinberg said…
    Maxine – I always appreciate it when you sum up your reviews like this. There are just so many books to read and such limited time that it’s hard to make order out of all that chaos. I have no idea how you do it!

    Reply 03 November 2010 at 18:58

    Dorte H said…
    You seem to have had a fantastic month! I am really looking forward to Blacklands, but I have a few books I ´should´ read first.

    I joined netgalley recently, and when I didn´t get the first books I asked for, I asked for a third which I got immediately. And of course I received the first two the day after that. I am having problems with the format, though, so I am thinking about that Kindle again. If there are enough review examples around for Kindle, it doesn´t really matter if Waterstones will sell them to me or not, does it? 😉

    Reply 03 November 2010 at 20:37

    Bernadette said…
    For the record you have been personally responsible for 4 (possibly 5) book acquisitions of my own in this month alone. I bought earlier Marklund and Campbell titles and mooched an earlier Connelly book based on your constant badgering plus have ordered Sister (in print even as it’s not available as an eBook). Silence is supposed to be available at my library but they say they’ve lost their copy and are busy looking for it.

    Reply 03 November 2010 at 22:12 said…
    I’m so glad to see the list with star ratings. Now I know what to read and order. Despite my complaints to the library administrators here, the Liza Marklund books (except the joint one with the unmentionable) are not available, and definitely not in English, but a few are in Italian are at the library(!) I have been wanting to read Karen Campbell’s books since I first read about one, but the library here does not have any except one, which is noncirculating–an enigma to me. Lee Childs writing does not compel me, especially the last several. However, “The Reversal” is on reserve. The library doesn’t have “The Build Up.” So my TBR list is growing, but now the “To Be Purchased” list is growing evermore. There goes the budget, but all to a good cause.

    Reply 03 November 2010 at 23:02

    Maxine said…
    Sorry, Bernadette,for being so evil 😉
    And sorry, Kathy, about the availability problems. I’m afraid I don’t have most of these titles any more so I do wish you luck in finding them.
    Dorte – I think netgalley is a bit erratic – probably depends on publisher. I waited ages for my so far only request. I have not tried to read it yet so no views on format but Kerrie reads them so she may be able to advise.

    Reply 04 November 2010 at 09:13 said…
    Well, it’s fine. I’ll go through Book Depository or Amazon or Abe for used books or pester a friend to order some of these. Maybe one could suggest the best Marklund and Campbell to start with and I will try to get them second-hand. And “The Build Up” I’ll put on a list.

    Reply 04 November 2010 at 12:40 said…
    I did order one book each by Marklund and Campbell second-hand at Amazon–and it’s time to push the library to order more international mysteries! And I must investigate Abe books which looks quite well-stocked and may be less expensive.

    Reply 04 November 2010 at 22:11

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