April reading report

In April, while the country endured continuous heavy rain as illustrated, I reviewed 16 books: three for Euro Crime; two for Bookgeeks and eleven here at Petrona. Only four of these are translated books, to my shame. Six are from England; one is set in England but written (originally) in German; three are from the USA; and one each is from Italy, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Ireland and Australia. Of the 16, six are by authors who are new to me. And of the 16, seven are by women and nine by men. I think four of the total are debuts.

Which of these to nominate for my book of the month? My favourites according to the ranking scale are Hour of the Wolf, The Mistake, Phantom, Broken Harbour, The Potter’s Field and Defending Jacob. It is very hard to choose a winner out of these very different and highly enjoyable novels, so if you have time and haven’t read them all, I recommend that you do! Defending Jacob and The Mistake show grippingly the personal costs involved when the law tramples over apparently happy families. Broken Harbour is an excellent police procedural set in Ireland, depicting the desperation of a ruined economy. Phantom is the usual edge-of-the seat ride for former Oslo detective Harry Hole. The Potter’s Field is one of the strongest entries in the marvellous Sicilian series about Inspector Montalbano, and Hour of the Wolf is again, one of the best books in the classic Scandinavian series featuring the irritable yet very funny retired Inspector Van Veeteren and his erstwhile colleagues. Both of these final two books are darker than some of their predecessors. I am sorry, but I just can’t choose one “best read” from these! And many of the rest of my April reading were good, solid and engaging crime novels.

April’s reading list, with links to my reviews:

Euro Crime:
Hour of the Wolf by Hakan Nesser, tr Laurie Thompson (Sweden) 4/5
The Other Child by Charlotte Link, tr Stefan Tobler (Germany, UK setting) 3/5
The Potter’s Field by Andrea Camilleri, tr Stephen Sartarelli (Italy) 4/5

Bookgeeks:
Defending Jacob by William Landay (USA) 4/5
Stay Close by Harlan Coben (USA) 2.5/5

Petrona:
Force of Nature by C J Box (USA) 3.5/5
Lifeblood by N J Cooper (England) 3/5
Broken Harbour by Tana French (Ireland) 4/5
Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah (England) 3/5
Revenge of the Tide by Elizabeth Haynes (England) 2/5
The Loyal Servant by Eva Hudson (England) 2.5/5
The Mistake by Wendy James (Australia) 4/5
White Heat by M J McGrath (Canada – Ellesmere Island/high Arctic) 2.5/5
Phantom by Jo Nesbo, tr Don Bartlett (Norway) 4/5
Killer Instinct by Zoe Sharp (England) 3/5
A Dark Redemption by Stav Sherez (England) 3/5

As usual, check out Mysteries in Paradise for other bloggers’ “book of the month” selections.

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18 thoughts on “April reading report

  1. I’ll take your word Maxine and will include Hour of the Wolf, The Mistake, Broken Harbour, The Potter’s Field and Defending Jacob in my Priority List since I’ve already read Phantom. Too many books, too little time, paraphrasing Bernadette.

    • It’s an embarrassment of riches, isn’t it, Jose Ignacio? I dread to think what will happen when I check out everyone else’s recommendations for April later on!

  2. I love that last picture, but I wouldn’t have liked to be on the footpath. I have DEFENDING JACOB already on my Kindle and would like to read THE MISTAKE. HOUR OF THE WOLF sounds tempting too.

  3. Love the photos Maxine. I liked Hour of the Wolf & Phantom a lot and can see how you would find it difficult to choose between these very different books. I fancy reading ‘Broken Harbour’. I must now go and do my list for April.

  4. I’m wondering when this rain is going to stop and I get incensed when I see adverts about “Drought” and the tag line, “we can’t make it rain but we can use less water” to that effect. I@ll be watching out for Defending Jacobs as it seems good. I think you had an amazing month Petrona.

  5. Oh, what damage these lists will do to my credit card! I’ll have to hide it at a friend’s house.
    I already had your top six on my TBR mountain, but now I am sorely tempted not to wait until the library has copies, but to rashly purchase some of them. I don’t know if The Mistake will ever get over here, but the others will be in the library system eventually.
    Holding off on reading Broken Harbour, Hour of the Wolf or The Potter’s Field will take enormous self-discipline. I’ll see if I can do it. Maybe not.
    The only book I’ve read on this list is White Heat and I think I liked it a bit more than you did, although it did need more editing, focus and cutting. I’m about to lend it to a Canada-phile reader friend who is very keen on reading this ASAP. Reading that book drove me to read about the relocation of Inuit to Ellesmere Island and more about their language, however, my trend towards vegetarianism is ever stronger.

  6. All excellent, Maxine. Great photos, too. am re-reading Johan Theorin’s ‘The Quarry’ after your perceptive review of it for Eurocrime. I’d been so carried away by ‘The Darkest Room,’ I was seduced again by the Oland setting, but am now finding Per and his son Jesper fairly bloodless…
    Keep up the good work!

    • I didn’t like Per at first, either, but as I carried on reading the book I grew to like him – quite an achievement on the author’s part!

  7. Maxine – Fortunately, I do not have my credit card close by as I look at your excellent post. I have learned ;-). In all seriousness, I’m glad you’ve found so much to enjoy, and I do appreciate your organising everything so I can go back through it. I’m particularly eager to read The Mistake and The Potter’s Field. As you know, I’m a Montalbano fan and it’s good to hear the new one is up to Camilleri’s excellent standard. And I’m very much hoping to get my hands on The Mistake. It sounds like a really gripping novel.
     
    And those ‘photos are great, too. I live in wildfire country, where rain is a very welcome thing and fire is an ever-present danger.

  8. I sent a text message to a friend in the UK this morning saying how grizzly I was because it was raining here today and got a rather terse reply from him along the lines of “yes but in your case it will stop…probably in a few hours, in ours it has reached biblical proportions”. So I promised to grizzle no longer :)

    As for books…well my credit card not doing too badly from this post as I’ve either read or already got most of your recommended reads (it helps when lovely people send me their recommendations in little care packages). I’m actually reading DEFENDING JACOB now as it was our book club selection for this month – not quite as taken with it as you were but it’s early days yet. As you know I liked THE MISTAKE very much and also THE POTTER’S FIELD

    • It is a bit relentless, the rain that is, Bernadette. I know you are often in the opposite situation of too much dry weather so it would be nice if we could each swap a bit.
      On Defending Jacob, it has been criticised in some reviews on the grounds that none of the characters is likeable, but I rather liked that about it. (Headhunters by Jo Nesbo is similar in the lack of likeable characters, and I know you didn’t like that, so my fingers are crossed for Jacob!)

  9. Maxine – Thanks so much for this list. It really helps whittling down all the choices. I wish I had waited for your review of Haynes “Tide” and not invested all that time – you really nailed the review and rating. Ken

    • Thanks, Ken. Yes, it was a sad disappointment after the promise of her first. I found the same thing about Afterwards, the awful (in my view) second novel from Rosamund Lupton, who wrote the excellent Sister.

  10. Loved the photo of the quacking visitors to London’s streets. I haven’t seen that yet in my own city. We’ve got enough pigeons and doves, sparrow, robins, starlings and other charming 6 a.m. singers They all serenade at 6 a.m. in their various soprano voices, occasionally squabbling with each other, to my delight.

    • Our variety of bird life in London is less than in the country, though the fashion for nesting boxes and birdfeeders is bringing some species back, as well as attracting pigeons and athletic squirrels (of which we have many, squawking all night….)

  11. Maxine: Having read but one of your selections there are many good reads open to me from your choices. However, I was just in Saskatoon and Calgary and added 6 different books to a new TBR pile and I was given 1,600 books on a memory stick! I am afraid to look at it.

    • 1,600 books! That is an ambitious target to read ;-) It is so hard, controlling that “to be read” selection…..better that way than the opposite, I suppose.

  12. Lucky you!! I am *desperate* to read Broken Harbour, but it will not be released in the States until the end of July. Love your list :)

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