Monday, 20 January 2014

New Books - Gifts and Purchases

I'd like to say I've been good about buying books so far in 2014, but I'd probably be lying. I did manage to trade in about 20 books to my local used book store so I'm feeling somewhat ahead in the book trading vs book buying column so far in 2014. Having said this, I haven't necessarily bought many books, probably only about 6 or 7; the others were the final Xmas presents that my lovely missus and my daughter sent to me. They just arrived a bit late, not that I'm complaining, I was so happy to get them. So let's see, starting with gifts, these are the books I've received/ purchased this year.

1. Justin Cronin - The Passage:  A Xmas gift from my daughter, Jennifer. This is the synopsis; "An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy - abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape - but he can't stop society's collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

2. Stephen King - Under the Dome: Jennifer's other gift. I've seen most of the TV series and for the most part, enjoyed very much. It'll be interesting to read the book. It's been awhile since I've tried a Stephen King. "On a beautiful fall day, a small New England town is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and rain down flaming wreckage. A gardener's hand is severed as the dome descends. Cars explode on impact. Families are separated and panic mounts. No one can fathom what the barrier is, where it came from, and when, or if, it will go away. Now, a few intrepid citizens, led by an Iraq vet turned short-order cook, face down a ruthless politician dead set on seizing the reins of power under the dome. But their main adversary is the dome itself. Because time isn't just running short, it's running out.

3. Lynne Olson - Citizens of London: I've mentioned the first book I received from Jo in a previous BLog. The next two came in a couple of weeks ago. I've read Troublesome Young Men previously, also written by Lynne Olson and enjoyed very much. "The acclaimed author of Troublesome Young Men reveals the behind-the-scenes story of how the US forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of 3 key American players in London; Edward R. Murrow, the handsome, chain-smoking head of CBS News in Europe, Averell Harriman, the hard-driving millionaire who ran FDR's Lend-Lease program in London, and John Gilbert Winant, the shy, idealistic US ambassador to Britain. Each man formed close ties with Churchill, so much so that all became romantically involved with members of the prime minister's family. Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious FDR and reluctant American public to back the British at a critical time."

4. Charles Finch - A Beautiful Blue Death: Another book that Jo pulled out of my Books I'd Like To Read book, this is the first Charles Lenox mystery - "Charles Lenox, a Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, likes nothing more than to relax in his private study with a cup of tea, a roaring fire and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Leonx cannot resist the chance to unravel a mystery. Prudence Smith, one of Jane's former servants, is dead of an apparent suicide. But Lenox suspects something far more sinister: murder, by a rare and deadly poison. The grand house where the girl worked is full of suspects, and thought Prue had dabbled with the hearts of more than a few, Lenox is baffled by the motive for the girl's death. When another body turns up during the London season's most fashionable ball, Lenox must entangle a web of loyalties and animosities. Was it jealously that killed Prudence Smiths? Or was it something else entirely?"

Recent Purchases - When I turned in a few books this past weekend, I thought I'd look for a few replacements. :0)

1. John Sandford - Shadow Prey: One of Jo's friends, who knows that I like mysteries, recommended the Prey series. I was able to find one at my local. This is the second book in the series. "A slumlord is butchered in Minneapolis. A politician executed in Manhattan. A judge slain in Oklahoma City. All killed by a relentless assassin, a ritualistic, far from ordinary, serial killer."

2. Ruth Rendell - Murder Being Once Done: I've been slowly collecting the Inspector Wexford mystery series. This is the seventh book in the series, published in 1972. "In a vast, gloomy, overgrown London cemetery, a girl is found murdered. A girl with a name that isn't hers, and little else that is. A girl with no friends, no possessions and no past. Chief Inspector Wexford has been sent to London by his doctor for a rest, no late nights, no rich food, no alcohol and, above all, no criminal investigation. To add insult to injury, it is Wexford's own nephew, Howard, who is leading the massive investigation into the macabre mystery. Even though Howard and his subordinates think he's out of his league, and even though his doctor wouldn't approve, Wexford can't resist just taking a look at things for himself."

3. Tana French - faithful place: I started off 2014 reading In the Woods by Tana French and enjoyed it very much; one of my highlights of this early 2014. This is the third book in her Irish Murder Squad series. "In all your life, only a few moments matter. I was lucky. I got to see one of mine fact to face, and recognise it for what it was. The course of Frank Mackey's life is set by one defining moment when he was nineteen. The moment his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, failed to turn up for their rendezvous in Faithful Place, failed to run away with him to London as they had planned. Frank never heard from, or of, her again. Twenty years later, Frank is still in Dublin, working as an undercover cop. He's cut all ties with his dysfunctional family. Until his sister calls to say that Rosie's suitcase has been found."

4. Agatha Christie - The Clocks: I readily admit it, I'm getting hooked on Agatha Christie. I read a few of her books back when I was much younger and over the past year and a bit, I've started reading her stories again, enjoying them very much and wondering why I never read more when I was that much younger person. Ah well, better late than never, eh? The Clocks is about the 29th Hercule Poirot mystery and was originally published in 1963. I've seen the TV version of this story and enjoyed very much. "Master sleuth Hercule Poirot has time on his hands: four clocks, all set at 4:13 and all left at the scene of a murder. In the tidy sitting room, Detective Inspector Hardcastle examines the assembled witnesses for clues; a blind lady, a young secretary and an innocent passer-by. Poirot must find them first, but will he have time?"

5. Lee Child - Tripwire: I've only read one of the Jack Reacher books so far, but after being pleasantly surprised by the Tom Cruise movie, starring Cruise as Jack Reacher, I've managed to get the first two in the series. Tripwire is book number two, "Jack Reacher's anonymity in Key West is shattered by the appearance of a private investigator who's come to town looking for him. But only hours after his arrival, the stranger is murdered. Retracing the PI's cold trail back to New York City, Reacher is compelled to find out who was looking for him and why. He never expected the reasons to be so personal, so dangerous and so very twisted."

6. Mark Billingham - Bloodline - I've enjoyed the DI Tom Thorne books I've read so far, gritty, interesting, well-paced thriller mysteries. Bloodline is the eighth in the series and was published in 2009. "It seems like a straightforward domestic murder until a bloodstained sliver of x-ray is found clutched in the dead woman's fist; and it quickly becomes clear that this case is anything but ordinary. Throne discovers that the victim's mother had herself been murdered 15 years before by infamous serial-killer Raymond Garvey. The hunt to catch Garvey was one of the biggest in the history of the Met, and ended with seven women dead. When more bodies and more fragments of x-ray are discovered, Thorne has a macabre jigsaw to piece together until the horrifying picture finally emerges. A killer is targeting the children of Raymond Garvey's victims. Thorne must move quickly to protect those still on the murderer's list, but nothing and nobody are what they seem. Not when Thorne is dealing with one of the most twisted killers he has ever hunter."

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