Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Book Purchases - August 2016

Fall must be on the way. We've had 3 or 4 cool, rainy days and more on the way. It does make it all smell nice and fresh, I must say. Yesterday, the missus and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. It was a lovely day. We went out to lunch at Locals Restaurant, which has gone under various iterations over the past few years. It was the first time we'd gone there and we both enjoyed ourselves. Sat outside under the marquis, enjoying the soft music and the scenery. A lovely, idyllic location. Jo had the burger, which she enjoyed very much and for dessert tried the Creme brulé sampler, which she also enjoyed. I tried the seafood crepes and for dessert had huckleberry pie with their homemade ice cream (well, made for them by another local fixture, Hot Chocolates). It's always enjoyable when we go out for a nice meal. We do prefer the brunch/ lunch type meals. Afterwards we went to a local antique/ collectibles shop in Comox. We didn't buy anything, but it was enjoyable just to wander around. There were a couple of books I was tempted to get, but I stood tall and talked myself out of it.

Last Friday, poor little Clyde had some dental work done at our vet. He felt a bit sorry for himself for a couple of days. But he's pretty well back to normal now, barking at everybody and just being himself. I had to go to the dentist too. Just for a filling, but it wasn't my most enjoyable visit. The freezing worked partially, so I did do a bit of wincing and sweating. Tomorrow, both Bonnie and Clyde head off to the cleaners for a shave and a haircut. They do look a bit like sheep at the moment. Next week, I'm back to the dentist for another filling and then it's Bonnie's turn to get her teeth done. What about Jo, you ask? I think she's managed to avoid this palaver, enjoying herself chatting with her online friends and puttering about the house. We do live a pretty good life.

Anyway, on to the topic du jour, that being book purchasing. I did buy a few books this past month and I traded in a few as well. I'm probably about 10 or so books ahead in this game, meaning I've traded in 10 more than I've purchased. :) The shelves aren't bare yet. I think I got a nice mix of books, probably mostly mysteries, but some Science Fiction and some pure fiction. Let's take a look.

1. Meg Gardiner - Phantom Instinct. I've read one book by Meg Gardiner so far, a nicely thrilling mystery featuring a forensic psychologist, kind of a new twist. This books also looks kind of different. This is the synopsis -

"One year ago, a shoot-out in a trendy L.A. club left bartender Harper Flynn's boyfriend dead, Sheriff Aiden Garrison shattered, and two gunmen engulfed in flames. But if the case is closed, why is Harper still afraid?
Certain that a third gunman escaped and is targeting survivors, Harper pins her last hope on the only person willing to listen. But a traumatic brain injury has left Aiden with a rare and terrifying disorder: a delusion that random people are actually the same person in disguise.
As Harper and Aiden delve deeper into the case, Harper fears that the attack might have been more personal than anyone believed. And now her only ally is unstable, paranoid, and mistrustful because he's seeing the same enemy everywhere he looks."

2. Kay Hooper - The First Prophet. Hooper is a new author for me. I've purchased one other book by her recently. I saw this during one of my visits to a local used book store and the mix of paranormal and mystery sounded very interesting. This is the first book in the Bishop Files series.

"Within the FBI, there exists a team of psychics whose powers cannot be denied. But these agents are feared - by a cabal of conspirators with only one weapon: to blind the psychics to the evils all around them.
Months ago, Sarah Gallagher woke from a coma with psychic abilities she couldn't control. They changed her life and cost her the man she loved. And now, someone is playing games with Sarah's mind.
It begins with Sarah's home being destroyed by fire - an act of arson that draws novelist Tucker Mackenzie into Sarah's confidence. But he has other reasons for pursuing a woman who can see what others can't. So does a mysterious enemy intent on eliminating Sarah and everyone she cares about. Because it's only a matter of time before her visions lead her and Tucker to a secret many would kill to hide. Only then will they begin to discover the scope of a terrifying conspiracy so deep and complex they can trust almost no one."

American Crime stories

These next three fall into the more traditional crime series, some good old cop stuff and some forensic mystery solving.

3. Michael Connelly - The Concrete Blonde. This is the third book in the Harry Bosch mystery series. I've been enjoying the TV show based on the books and have read the first book. Both excellent.

"They call him the Dollmaker.
The serial killer who stalked Los Angeles and left a grisly calling card on the faces of his female victims. With a single faultless shot, Detective Harry Bosch thought he had ended the city's nightmare.
Now, the dead man's widow is suing Harry and the LAPD for killing the wrong man - an accusation that rings terrifyingly true when a new victim is discovered with the Dollmaker's macabre signature.
Now, for the second time, harry must hunt down a death-dealer who is very much alive, before he strikes again. It's a blood-tracked quest that will take Harry from the hard edges of the L.A. night to the last place he ever wanted to go - the darkness of his own heart."

4. Jefferson Bass - The Breaking Point. I've read 3 or 4 of the Body Farm series. It's been most enjoyable.

"Dr. Bill Brockton - founder of the University of Tennessee's macabre Body Farm - has enjoyed professional acclaim and personal contentment in the years since he once came close to losing his wife and son at the hands of a serial killer. His pioneering research and forensic expertise have earned him respect, renown, and high-profile cases.
Now the FBI has asked Brockton to help identify the remains of a pilot killed in a suspicious, fiery plane crash. Are the charred bones indeed those of maverick humanitarian Richard Janus? And was the nighttime crash an accident, a suicide - or a murder?
But a storm is about to hit Brockton with cataclysmic force. First, he discovers he's landed in the middle of a nasty political battle. Then his identification of the crash victim is called into question, as is the future of his research facility. Reeling from these blows, he receives a gruesome threat from the killer who nearly murdered the Broctons more than a decade before. But Brockton gets the most shocking news of all from his beloved Kathleen."

5. Robert B. Parker - Stranger in Paradise. Robert B. Parker has written the Spenser and the Jesse Stone mysteries, amongst others. I have enjoyed the TV movies featuring Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone and have slowly been getting the books. I have yet to find the first couple, but I'll persevere. This is the 7th book in the Jesse Stone series.

"Crow, an Apache hit man and a former adversary of Jesse Stone's, resurfaces in Paradise to find a missing girl and snuff out her mother. But his conscience is getting the best of him. If he doesn't make the hit, he'll pay for it. So might Jesse, who is trying to protect them all..."

International and Historical Mysteries

There are two new series in this section, but plus an old tried and true one.

6. Eliot Pattison - Water Touching Stone. I've bought the first book in the Shan Tao Yun series but haven't read it yet. I don't know anything about it really, just that it sounds very interesting. This is the 2nd book.

"Cloistered in a remote sanctuary, Shan Tao Yun has received shattering news. A teacher revered by the oppressed has been found slain. One by one, her orphaned students have followed her to her grave, victims of a child-killer harbouring unfathomable motives. Abandoning his mountain hermitage, Shan embarks on a search for justice - one carved out of the treacherous borderlands that have been shaken by perilous political upheaval. But now, shadowed by bizarre tales of an unleashed 'demon', Shan braces himself for even darker imaginings as he stalks a killer and fights to restore spiritual balance to the ancient and tenuous splendour of Tibet."

7. Ellis Peters - A Rare Benedictine. The Cadfael series is one of my favourites. I've read six or seven and try to read at least one a year. I've also slowly been collecting the books as I like the covers. A Rare Benedictine is the published book. I'm only missing a couple to round out my collection.

"'Brother Cadfael sprang to life suddenly and unexpectedly when he was already approaching sixty, mature, experienced, fully armed and seventeen years tonsured.' So writes Ellis Peters in her introduction to A Rare Benedictine - three vintage tales of intrigue and treachery, featuring the monastic sleuth who has become such a cult figure of crime fiction. The story of Cadfael's entry into the monastery at Shrewsbury has been known hitherto only to a few readers; now his myriad fans can discover the chain of events that led him into the Benedictine Order."

8. Michael Dibdin - Cabal.  This is another series where I haven't read the books yet, but did enjoy the TV series. This one is set in Italy and features Italian police inspector, Aurelio Zen.

"When, one dark night in November, Prince Ludovico Ruspanti fell a hundred and fifty feet to his death in the chapel at St Peter's, Rome, there were a number of questions to be answered. Inspector Aurelio Zen finds that getting the answers isn't easy, as witness after witness is mysteriously silenced - by violent death. To crack the secret of the Vatican, Zen must penetrate the most secret place of all: the Cabal.

9. Anthony Horowitz - Moriarty. So many different authors have tried to advance the Sherlock Holmes' mysteries. I had previously read Horowitz's House of Silk and enjoyed very much. I was happy to find Moriarty on the bookshelves of one of my favourite local book stores.

"Days after Holmes and Moriarty disappear into Reichenbach Falls' churning depths, Frederick chase, a senior investigator at New York's infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency, arrives in Switzerland. Chase brings with him a dire warning: Moriarty's death has left a convenient vacancy in London's criminal underworld. There is no shortage of candidates to take his place - including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.
Chase is assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones, a Scotland Yard detective and devoted student of Holmes's methods of deduction, whom Conan Doyle introduced in The Sign of Four. The two men join forces and fight their way through the sinuous streets of Victorian London - from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways o of the Docks - in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty's successor.

Canadian Mysteries - I've read books by all of these writers so it's always good to gather in some new books.

10. Giles Blunt - Breaking Lorca. Blunt writes the John Cardinal mystery series set in my home town of North Bay, Ontario and I've enjoyed it quite a bit. This is one of his standalone books and the premise sounds very interesting.

"Victor Pena, a bookish young soldier, is saved from a death sentence by his overbearing uncle, who puts him to work in a clandestine torture unit. Now Victor must consider his impending role in the fate of an unidentified young woman who is suspected of supporting the guerrillas. Before they learn so much as her name - Lorca - the squad relentlessly break her, body and soul. Victor is moved by Lorca's courage but is too terrified to help her, until a twist of fate gives him a chance at a very different kind of life - if only he is brave enough to take it."

11. Rosemary Aubert - Leave Me By Dying. Back a few years, I read the first three books in the Ellis Portal series pretty well one after the other. For some reason, I then abandoned it. Maybe I thought there were only 3 books in the series. Anyway, I was glad to discover that I was wrong.

"It's the spring of 1965. Martin Luther King is marching on Selma, Alabama. Lyndon B. Johnson is just beginning to show that he thinks escalation of the situation in Vietnam is a good idea. For 23-year-old Ellis Portal, however, it's not the new but the old that excites. he's a first-year law student at the University of Toronto, Canada. What he wants most is to become an intern of magistrate Sheldrake Tuppin and to spend time in the magistrate's clubby chambers high atop the Victorian heap that is Old City Hall.
One night, however, in the company of Gleason Adams, a man of unquestioned wealth and questionable character, Ellis is drawn into a bizarre murder mystery. When the body of this victim disappears from the morgue without a trace, Ellis is reluctantly drawn into areas of the city - and the law - that shake him out of the world of the tweedy campus and thrust him into the seedy world of questionable bars, marginal people, and deeds that have no other name than murder."

12. Howard Engel - The Cooperman Variations. If you've never read a Benny Cooperman mystery, you really should. Benny is the true gumshoe, except that normally you would find him living Niagara Falls, arguing with his mother, stumbling into crime and ultimately solving murders and mysteries. The stories are told with humour and love. It's been a long time since I have read a Cooperman mystery and I now have two of them on my bookshelves waiting my attention. If you can ever find them, check out the CBC movies based on the series, starring talented Saul Rubinek as Benny.

"As Benny whiles away the hours contemplating the absence of his girlfriend Anna, the lack of stimulating paying work and the demise of his favourite restaurant (where else will he get his chopped egg sandwiches?), he is unexpectedly visited by a vision from his past. Vanessa Moss was a high-school beauty who grew up to be head of Entertainment at a television network, and the beauty remained. When a friend is murdered while at her house, Vanessa fears she was the target and that they may try again. She hires our intrepid gumshoe to watch her back - and Benny is more than willing.
So Benny travels from Grantham to the bright lights of Toronto and to the National Television Corporation building. There beneath the familiar NTC totem, a big-eyed owl, Benny poses as Vanessa's executive assistant. A tangle of competing executives, backbiting lawyers, arrogant producers and hopeful hangers-on surround Vanessa, ready to ingratiate or unset. But do they want to kill her?
When another NTC employee is murdered, Benny wonders if Dermot Keogh, the world-famous cellist who died recently in a diving accident, may be central to the mystery. As Benny tries to protect his client, give the local cops a hand and avoid making enemies of his new colleagues, he quickly discovers that taking care of Vanessa Moss is a seductive but risky business."

How About Some SciFi?

I purchased a couple of Science Fiction novels, one oldie and one fairly new one.

13. Clifford D. Simak - Time is the Simplest Thing. This is the second Simak novel I've purchased this year, the other being The Werewolf Principle. This one was originally published in 1971.

"After the ambitious lunar landings of the Seventies, man found himself barred from the outer reaches of space. It was then a whole new breed of space explorers - The Telepaths - were developed. Blaine was one of Earth's top telepathic explorers - a man capable of projecting his mind millions of years beyond time and space. But when that awesome alien creature from another dimension penetrated his brain, Blaine turned against the world and himself."

14. Pierce Brown - Golden Son. This is the 2nd book in the Red Rising trilogy. I've not yet read the 1st, but when I saw this was available at Nearly New Books in Comox, I thought I should snap it up anyway.

"He seeks justice. To free his enslaved people, Darrow has infiltrated his world's brutal, ruling class - on a mission to destroy them. And though the only path to liberation is revolution, he must strive not for vengeance but for a hopeful rebirth. He must live for more."

Canadian and other Fiction.

The final 4 books.

15. Catherine O'Flynn - What Was Lost. This was one of those books I just took a chance on.

"It is 1984, and Kate Meaney - 'Top Secret' notebook and toy monkey in tow - is hard at work as a junior detective. Busy trailing 'suspects' and carefully observing everything around her at the newly opened Green Oaks shopping mall, she forms an unlikely friendship with Adrian, the son of a local shopkeeper. But when this curious, spirited girl disappears, Adrian falls under suspicion and is hounded out of his home by the press.
In 2003, Adrian's sister Lisa is working as a manager at Your Music, a discount record store. Every day she tears her hair out at the outrageous behaviour of her customers and colleagues. But along with Kurt, a security guard with a sleep disorder, she becomes entranced by the little girl they keep glimpsing on the security cameras. As Kurt and Lisa's after-hours friendship grows in intensity, it brings new loss and new longing to light."

16. Laurie Halse Anderson - The Impossible Knife of Memory. Another new author for me. I think this is a combination mystery/ young adult. Time will tell.

"For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, trying to outrun the memories that haunt them both. They moved back to Andy's hometown to try a 'normal' life, but the horrors he saw in the war threaten to destroy their lives. Hayley watches, helpless, as her father turns to drugs and alcohol to silence his demons. And then her own past creeps up, and everything falls apart.
How do you keep your father alive when death is stalking him? What are you supposed to do when your parent stops acting like an adult? And what happens if a sweet guy who can make you laugh barges his way into your world and for the first time, you find yourself thinking of the future?"

17. Mordecai Richler - Barney's Version. I rekindled my enjoyment of Richler's writing this past month with Solomon Gursky Was Here. This book was made into a well-received movie.

"Barney Panofsky has always clung to two cherished beliefs: life is absurd, and nobody ever truly understands anybody else. Even his friends tend to agree that Barney is a wife abuser, an intellectual fraud, a purveyor of pap, a drunk with a penchant for violence, and probably a murderer. But when his sworn enemy  threatens to publish this calumny, Barney is driven to write his own memoirs, rewinding the spool of his life, editing, selecting and plagiarising as his memory plays tricks on him - and on the reader.
Ebullient and perverse, he has seen off three wives: the enigmatic Clara, a martyred feminist icon; the talkative and surprising Second Mrs. Panofsky; and finally the incomparable Miriam, serene and beautiful, who stayed married to him for decades before running off with a sober academic. Barney slides from crisis to success, from low to highlife in Montreal, London and Paris, his outrageous exploits culminating in the scandal he carries around like a humpback: did he or didn't he murder his friend Boogie?"

..and in case you can't have enough Richler..

18. Emma Richler - Sister Crazy. Jemima Weiss grew up with a special feeling for British commandos, American westerns, the knights of the Round Table, bagels with cheddar on top, and, above all else, her family: her rumpled father, glamorous mother and four extraordinary siblings. Now grown into a worldly, yet deeply troubled woman, Jem reflects on her days as a young girl, even as she struggles not to be engulfed by the present. In a voice crackling with humour, Jem recounts a childhood in a family so remarkable that it has left her adrift in the adult world.
Growing up Weiss requires some cunning - an ability to manipulate nuns ('Nuns are pushovers for glamour,' says Jem), an aptitude for scaring away older brothers' girlfriends, and a nose for tracking down curious little sisters who run off to chat with the birds. And Jem does have a fanciful mind, one that tr4ansforms her family into mythological beings; her gruff Jewish father seems a gun-slinging cowboy, and her beautiful, prophetic mother is like a 'good witch,' always knowing what her children are thinking. But as a grown woman, Jem must find a way into a world of real living, where brothers no longer play at fighting but are engulfed by actual violence."

So there you go, my latest book - buying update. Next entry will be to update my August reading story. Take care!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails