February reading and reviews

During February I have enjoyed embarking (or re-embarking) on Anthony Trollope’s Palliser novels. I am not reviewing these in detail, as that would be de trop, but have made a list of them, and will add a short summary of each novel as I complete it. So far, I’ve read the first two in the series, Can You Forgive Her? and Phineas Finn; currently I am reading the third, The Eustace Diamonds. Here is the list of Trollope’s Palliser novels, in order (there are six altogether, but so far each is more than 700 pages long).

On the lighter front, some of my book reviews have been published at Euro Crime. Specifically:

The Calling of the Grave, by Simon Beckett , in which “Forensic anthropologist David Hunter continues his geographical wanderings after his experiences in Norfolk, a remote Scottish island and at Tennessee’s “murder farm” in three earlier books.” (read on here.)

Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder, tr. (from Swedish) by Marlaine Delargy “a substantial, rounded novel and a welcome newcomer to Scandinavian crime fiction.” (read on here.)

Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves , “a readable novel, telling a very good narrative in which the characters really come to life.” (read on here.)

Shadow Sister by Simone van der Vlugt, tr. (from Dutch) by Michele Hutchinson, “a creepy little tale that I can highly recommend”. (read on here.)

At Petrona, I reviewed two books in the engaging Joe Pickett series, by C. J. Box: Trophy Hunt (#4) and Out of Range(#5). In addition, I reviewed Jo Nesbo’s latest Harry Hole novel, The Leopard, in a translation (from Norwegian) by Don Bartlett.

12 thoughts on “February reading and reviews

  1. Not too bad as I have read some and have others on the TBR already. I would like to start reading the Becketts though.

    I think you might enjoy the Nevada Barr books when you’re done with Joe Pickett – not that you’re about to go out and become a park ranger (though maybe you harbour secret dreams) but they are very atmospheric and the ones I’ve read have all have good stories. Plus I think you would like Anna Pigeon.

  2. Thanks, Bernadette and Jose Ignacio. I’ll definitely look out for Nevada Barr.

    I should have noted in the post that I also read Darkside by Belinda Bauer and A Short Cut to Paradise by Teresa Solana during Feb, but did not write up reviews of them. They were both OK but a bit disappointing in my view, in particular the one by Teresa Solana after her hilarious debut, A Not So Perfect Crime.

  3. Maxine – Thanks for this summary. I really do want to go on with Simon Beckett’s David Hunter series and dip back into the Joe Pickett series after reminding myself of what you’ve read. And after Reunion, that Van der Vlugt looks interesting. And of course the Cleeves….. *sigh*.. 😉

  4. Just for once a post which doesn´t add to *my* feeling of guilt – but only because I knew already I´d have to buy Beckett, Cleeves and Box (and probably also van der Vlugt). They are on my list, but so far I haven´t bought them so I feel soooo good ;O

  5. I feel no guilt about buying books *so long as* they don’t add to a huge shelf of unread ones. It can get so out of hand (with e-books and advance copies, as well as the library, only adding to the problem). “Obtain and read immediately” is my current mantra – I am not doing too badly on it so far this year but time will tell.

  6. Thanks. A lot of good suggestions here. Am disappointed about Solana’s second book, as I bought it, but I will read it, and pass it along to friends. The Beckett, Ceder and Cleeves sound interesting.
    Nevada Barr’s books are light, but interesting reads with two attributes: Each book tells of a different region of the U.S., and describes well the environment, terrain, and outstanding features, including the weather; and Anna Pigeon is a terrific character–smart, brave, but definitely human with foibles and fears. She gets into tough scrapes, but does get out of them. Most are credible, but one or two strain believability, but still are good reads.
    A relative is reading the Trollope series, and likes them. I don’t think a 700-page book is in my near future.
    And “Faithful Place,” by Tana French is good. It’s a police procedural (sort of), has character development and a good plot. Tells of a slice of the human condition in Dublin, and the difficulties people, especially women, have in not moving beyond the lives their parents led. And, it’s a love story of love lost and gained.

  7. Thanks for the update and especially the info about Nevada Barr, Kathy. Although Trollope’s books are long they are very easy to read and 100 pages goes by before you know it! 😉 I’ll look out for the new Tana French, probably at the local library.

  8. As well as Nevada Barr, you might enjoy Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn/Chee Navajo Tribal Police series, or Dana Stabenow’s Alaska set books. I would also highly recommend Trail of Blood (don’t be put off the title, US title is The Shanghai Moon!) by S J Rozan, it’s a lovely (and Edgar winning!) book part historic (WW2, Shanghai, Jewish refugees) part contemporary (Chinese-American PI in New York), revolving round a lost valuable gem.

  9. I am now in the midst of reading “Red Wolf,” the only Liza Marklund book I could get at my library, but was also intrigued by reviews, including here.
    Even though I may not agree with the book’s basis or conclusion, I have to say that this is an interesting ride. Annika is one of the most complicated protagonists in modern crime fiction. Figuring her out is a challenge. There is no predictability in what her character thinks or does or in what is happening. It is a thriller.
    This book is a new type of book for me; maybe Marklund is just an unusual and unique writer. I find that I’m reading to figure out the character even more than the plot; this is not my usual style, but I’m intrigued by it.
    The dilemmas of Annika’s home life are also interesting. The life of a woman with children, a spouse and a demanding career is not easy; that I know. However, Annika’s thinking about it all is informative and revelatory to me. It’s like seeing one more layer of the onion being peeled in understanding how difficult is this situation.
    This is not an easy read, but it is new to me and a challenge, a good thing.
    If anyone says (or I see a sticker that states) “Marklund is the next Stieg Larsson,” that will be so off the mark. She’s definitely a unique writer.

  10. Thanks for the feedback on Red Wolf, Kathy, I am glad you are enjoying it and for your comments on the character of Annika. It is such a pity that the earlier books in the series are not readily available (yet) as this would reveal quite a bit about her and how she has ended up in this situation – and indeed, her attitude to it and Thomas.
    I agree it is unfair to call her the next Stieg Larsson as she was writing long before him as well as being rather different, but I suppose this won’t stop some publicist!

  11. I checked my library system, which now has 98 copies of “Red Wolf,” so it’s popular, and people are requesting it. They have two copies of “The Bomber,” which I probably won’t read, and a few copies of the book co-written with the unmentionable author.

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