Saturday, 1 March 2014

Recent Purchases and Current Reading

I'm constantly amazed at how quickly the year is passing by. Already the 1st of March 2014 and I don't remember it getting here. Wow! It's been an interesting couple of weeks. My daughter, Jennifer, came for a visit from Kingston, ON during her Spring break. We had a nice time; she got some studying in, we wandered about downtown and the three of us spent each evening enjoying a couple of games of Rummicub. She left just in time, mind you. As soon as she left we had 4 days straight of snow..
Our crescent after a couple of days of snow 
It was truly amazing. It's since warmed up considerably and the roofs are pretty well bare, but the snow still lingers.

Regarding my 2014 Reading, I've completed 16 books as of end February. Last night I finished Susan Hill's The Pure in Heart, the 2nd book in her DCI Simon Serrailler series. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the 1st, but I don't know that it mattered all that much that I started with the 2nd. I'd previously read her The Woman in Black ghost story and enjoyed immensely. I wondered how she would do with a switch to mysteries and I wasn't at all disappointed. I like her writing style, I enjoyed the characters and also the plot, which came at you from many different directions. Excellent story. I've got another of the Serrailler series on my bookshelf, but I will try to find the others so I can continue in sequence.

At the moment, starting off March, I'm finishing off two books, V.S. Naipaul's The Mimic Men and Lee Child's first Jack Reacher thriller, Killing Floor (which is excellent). I'm about to start the 4th book in the Game of Thrones series, A Feast of Crows, hoping to get well into it before the TV series starts up again.

Recent Purchases

I have bought a few new books since my last entry here:

1. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. I find myself being drawn to the classics more and more. I don't think I've ever seen the movie, but have heard of it and when I saw this edition, I thought I should try it out. This is the synopsis -
"In 1956, Stevens, a long-serving butler at Darlington Hall, decides to take a motoring trip through the West Country. The six-day excursion becomes a journey into the past of Stevens and England, a past that takes in fascism, two world wars and an unrealised love between the butler and his housekeeper. Ishiguro’s dazzling novel is a sad and humorous love story, a meditation on the condition of modern man, and an elegy for England at a time of acute change."

2. The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo - I've read one of the Harry Hole thriller series and enjoyed very much. I've been picking up others in the series as I see them at my local used book stores. I've enjoyed very much so far.
"A mixture of religion, urban misery, modern European history and grisly horror story, The Redeemer takes the crime writing of Jo Nesbo to yet another level, establishing him firmly as one of the international top names in crime fiction. Through snow-swept, Christmas-illuminated Oslo town, Inspector Harry Hole chases a faceless contract killer from the former Yugoslavia among the homeless junkies, perverts and Salvationists, eagerly waiting for a new saviour to deliver them from misery – whether he brings new life or immediate death."

3. The Jackal Man by Kate Ellis. Kate Ellis is a new writer for me, even though I have purchased a couple of her books previously. They await my attention on my TBR shelves. This is the 15th story in the DI Wesley Peterson series. I must admit, the cover definitely caught my attention.
"When Clare Mayers is almost killed on her way home by a man she describes as having a "dog’s head," it's up to DI Wesley Peterson and his team to try and unravel this strange case. Meanwhile, archaeologist Neil Watson has been commissioned to examine the wealth of Egyptian artifacts amassed by the late Frederick Varley. But as Neil gets closer to uncovering the truth surrounding some sinister allegations of the past, he discovers the shocking secrets that someone is desperate to keep hidden from the prying eyes of the community. As the Jackal Man continues to torment the women of Tradmouth, is it a case of history repeating itself? And can Wesley Peterson stop him before it’s too late?"

4. Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier. This is a book I've looked at a few times. When I saw it at my local, I decided it was time to pick up a copy.
"Raimund Gregorius teaches classical languages at a Swiss lycĂ©e, and lives a life governed by routine. One day, a chance encounter with a Portuguese woman inspires him to question his life—and leads him to an extraordinary book that will open the possibility of changing it. Inspired by the words of Amadeu de Prado, a doctor whose intelligence and magnetism left a mark on everyone who met him and whose principles led him into a confrontation with Salazar’s dictatorship, Gergorius boards a train to Lisbon. As Gregorius becomes fascinated with unlocking the mystery of who Prado was, an extraordinary tale unfolds."

And then yesterday, I visited my Comox book store and found these..

5. Until the Night by Giles Blunt. I've enjoyed the first three in the John Cardinal series. It's set in the town of my birth, North Bay, ON, Can, and that makes it doubly interesting. Besides that, the stories have all been excellent mysteries.
"It's not unusual for John Cardinal to be hauled out of a warm bed on a cold night in Algonquin Bay to investigate a murder. And at first this dead body, sprawled in the parking lot of Motel 17, looks pretty run of the mill: the corpse has a big boot print on his neck, and the likely suspect is his lover's outraged husband. But the lover has gone missing. And then Delorme, following a hunch, locates another missing woman, a senator's wife from Ottawa, frozen in the ruins of an abandoned hotel way back in the woods. Spookily, she was chained up and abandoned wearing a new winter parka and boots, with a thermos beside her--as if her murderer was giving her a whisper of a chance at survival."

6. The Dead of Winter by Rennie Airth. I thought I was pretty lucky to find the third instalment of the DI John Madden series and that it was in pristine condition. This is a historical mystery series set in England between the 1st and 2nd World Wars. The first story was interesting, the second much better and I have high hopes for this third instalment.
"On a freezing London night in 1944, Rosa Novak is brutally murdered during a blackout. Scotland Yard suspects the young Polish refugee was the victim of a random act of violence and might have dropped the case if former police investigator John Madden hadn't been her employer. Madden feels he owes it to Rosa to find her killer and pushes the investigation, uncovering her connection to a murdered Parisian furrier, a member of the Resistance, and a stolen cache of diamonds."

and, finally...

7. Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves. The missus and I have enjoyed the BBC series based on Ann Cleeves books. I've also read the first in the series and quite enjoyed. This is the 4th Vera Stanhope mystery.
"When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once in her life, she's uncovered a simple death from natural causes. But a closer inspection reveals ligature marks around the victim's throat - death is never that simple.
Doing what she does best, Vera pulls her team together and sets them interviewing staff and those connected to the victim, while she and colleague, Sergeant Joe Ashworth, work to find a motive. While Joe struggles to reconcile his home life with the demands made on him by the job, Vera revels being back in charge of an investigation again. Death has never made her feel so alive."

So there you have it, the latest update chez moi. Take care and keep on reading!

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