Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Light reading catch-up (Kindle edition)

The device itself continues to suit me extremely well, with the caveat that it is surprising and frustrating how many books aren't available for Kindle. Still plenty to read, I guess: but I will be glad when rights stop being sold in specific territories and electronic editions can be sold internationally....

Connie Willis's All Clear started off as a bit of a disappointment. I liked the first installment immensely, but I was unpersuaded by the first half of All Clear that this really needed to be a separate novel: the scenes of anxiety about London bombings, shelters, finding one's friends, etc. are compelling individually but when repeated cumulatively have more the feeling of an actual bad dream than of a novel; there is too little narrative shaping for my taste. The last third or so of the book is superb, though, and the conclusion is hugely emotionally gratifying, in a way that perhaps partly depends on the nightmarish aspect of the first part of the book; I just wonder whether there would have been some way to cut/edit the full manuscript so that it would have been a single long novel in one volume and without the relative longueurs of the first part of the second installment.

Arnaldur Indridason's Hypothermia is absolutely excellent, pretty much the pinnacle of what this sort of fiction ought to be: I really, really enjoyed it.

Sara Paretsky's Body Work felt a bit formulaic; she has perhaps written this book too many times before, and yet it is still a highly readable book...

Michael Connelly, The Reversal. I approached it without huge enthusiasm, it was more just something that was available that seemed sensible to load onto the device as a precaution, but I found it very good; I'm hoping that there may be a further installment of the tale, it seems to leave off with the opening for a sequel. I like it when authors of longtime series mix things up a bit; the alternating points of view work very well here, I think, and you always feel with Connelly that you are in the hands of a professional, in the best possible way.

Ake Edwardsson, The Shadow Woman (the 2010 publication date on this one misled me - I hadn't read it before, but it falls quite early in the series, giving an annoying backwards feeling to the series-driven reader): not bad, but not nearly up to the Indridason standard.

Ken Bruen, The Sanctuary: A Novel. Jack Taylor discovers Xanax! Seriously, though, Ken Bruen is a huge favorite of mine, and this is an extremely compelling installment in what is probably his most mainstream-mystery-type series. Very good writing indeed - makes my mouth water with envy, I wish I could write books like this....

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