November reading and reviews

I read only ten books in November; in fact not even that as, unusually for me, I did not finish three of them. I wrote reviews of those I did finish, as well as having a few other reviews coming out at Euro Crime. First, the Euro Crime books I reviewed:

The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney, about which I wrote: “I highly recommend this book to anyone, not just those who enjoy crime fiction but to those who like a well-written story containing rounded characters, genuine emotion, and providing insights into a vanishing way of life that is unknown to most of us. It is at least as good a novel as the author’s impressive debut, THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES, and in many ways, even better.”

Trust No One by Alex Walters, featuring “a welcome addition to the current trend for strong, independent female protagonists.”

The Unlucky Lottery by Hakan Nesser, translated by Laurie Thompson, complete with “trademark bleak humour that permeates the book throughout, as the hard-pressed police team attempts to hold cold reality at bay.”

The Terrorists, the last Martin Beck novel by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. “The last of the ten books in the classic Martin Beck series was first published in 1975. Today, in 2011, it is as fresh and intelligent as it must have been when first written. Even though the plot is about international terrorism, a topic prone to the latest gadgetry, the book does not seem dated because what is important about it is the plot, characters and ideas that the authors wish to convey.”

At Petrona, I reviewed:

The Drop by Michael Connelly

Lethal Investments by K. O. Dahl, translated by Don Bartlett

I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark

The Hand that Trembles by Kjell Eriksson, translated by Ebba Segerberg

White Sky, Black Ice by Stan Jones

Lying Dead by Aline Templeton

Nairobi Heat by Mukoma Wa Ngugi

Scandinavian Crime Fiction, eds Nestingen and Arvas (non-fiction)

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

The geographical spread is not as great as I would have liked, with 4 from the USA (one of these was mainly Kenyan in setting, the others were set in LA, New York and Alaska), 3 from Sweden, 2 each from England and Scotland, 1 from Norway, and 1 “Scandinavian mix”.

My book of the month? There are some strong contenders here, but it is fairly easy to choose The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney, which I enjoyed very much indeed. Runners up are The Drop by Michael Connelly, The Terrorists by Sjowall & Wahloo, and The Hand that Trembles by Kjell Eriksson.

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12 thoughts on “November reading and reviews

  1. I am so glad you liked THE INVISIBLE ONES as I enjoyed it very much too. A different book from her fist and some people seemed unable to cope with that whereas I am thrilled to see someone writing quite differently for each book. Of the others on your list I think I liked WHITE SKY a little more than you and WASP SEASON a little less…and there are several more I want to read. I’ve got LETHAL INVESTMENTS on the iPad and I think I might just have to read out of order for Nesser and Eriksson if I am to keep up with the Dagger eligibles.

    My book of the month for November was THE BROTHERHOOD by Australian author Yvette Erskine and I know this book will end up on my top ten list for the year, it very nearly was my choice for Kim’s book of the year round-up but I am besotted by Catherine O’Flynn’s WHAT WAS LOST.

    Oh and I finished DREGS today though and thought it very good (thank you once again)…quite a sneaky (in a clever way not a nasty sense) structure to the story and some interesting tangents.

    • I agree on What was Lost, Bernadette (only reason it is not my book of the year is that I read it a few years ago!). I have The Brotherhood on my Amazon list & so glad you liked Dregs😉

  2. Maxine – Thanks for this excellent summing-up! It’s going to be a great resource for me as I look about for “what next to read.” I’m so glad both you and Bernadette liked The Invisible Ones. You’ve reminded me that I must read that one very soon. And about books you didn’t finish? I’m had a few of them myself this year…

    • Seems as if one can’t win them all, Margot! But the average has been much higher since reading blog reviews & recommendations, as well as sites such as euro crime. Makes such a difference to one’s reading choices.

  3. Glad to see such positive reviews here. Of your best reads, I have only read Eriksson’s book. The others are on my TBR list. I have moved up Stef Penney’s book, and hope to read that during the holidays. (I have set aside a slew for the holidays; hope I get two weeks of reading!)
    I’ll add Alex Waters to the list, and try to find Dregs (isn’t at the library).
    I plan on reading one more Sjowall/Wahloo work, but I really space them out, as I don’t want to run out of them. Of course, I can always reread them later on.

    • it’s nice to look forward to a holiday and plenty of reading, Kathy. I too hope to get my shelf emptied at the end of the year. Dregs and Tell No One are both UK publications so may not be out yet in the US? You might like White Sky Black Ice (a US publication) if you haven’t read it already.

  4. Sorry to change the subject, somewhat but when I was looking at the comments on one of your earlier blog posts just now there was snow falling…and yes, there it is again! Unless there’s something wrong with my eyes…

    • Yes, isn’t it nice? WordPress offered it for December last year and I clicked yes, and here it is again! Trouble is I can’t remember how to control it so it is just as well I like it. Works well on those November pics in my November reading round-up, I think😉

      • Also…I forgot to add – I really love those photos, especially the second. They look so cold, and icily beautiful (well no ice yet, just the impression it won’t be long, now)

  5. I really liked ‘The Invisible Ones’ too. I still can’t decide whether to read ‘The End of the Wasp Season.’ Now I’ve read the other comments I’ve just noticed the snow – very subtle.

  6. I’ve also taken a cue from Nancy O. at Crime Segments and added Ashes by Sergios Gakas to my TBR list. Although I’m not a fan of noir necessarily, she has good taste in books, so I’ll have to find it somewhere in cyberspace.

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