Thursday, 4 July 2019

First July 2019 Reading Update

It's July 4th and all over our neighbour to the south people are celebrating Independence Day. Hope you had a great one. Best wishes to those folks in California who have been affected by the earthquake.

I've been fairly lazy since the missus headed over to the UK to visit family. The dogs and I haven't felt like doing a whole heck of a lot. Well, I haven't so they've kind of followed my lead. I mowed the lawn on the weekend but I've spent quite a bit of time reading. Not that there is anything wrong with that, eh?

A couple of books have arrived in the mail this month and I've finished one book so far. I've been a bit slow finishing off some of the books I started in June, tending to focus on some of the books I've started since. But I will get through them. It's not I'm not enjoying them, it's just been a bit easier going through some of the shorter books I've started more recently.

So anyway, I'll update the new books I received (a nice mix I think) and also review the one I competed this week.

Just Finished

1. Stranger in Paradise by Robert B. Parker (Jesse Stone #7). My first Jesse Stone book.

"I have read one of Robert B. Parker's Spenser mystery series books and enjoyed very much. I've also enjoyed the Jesse Stone movies based on Parker's books. Stranger In Paradise is my first Jesse Stone book and is the 7th in the series. Most enjoyable I must say.

Jesse is sheriff in Paradise, Massachusetts. He's reinventing himself after moving from a police job in LA. He's got an interesting police department, about 12 cops; the two most interesting being Molly and Suitcase. His ex-wife, Jenn also lives in Paradise, trying for a career as a TV journalist. They love each other, see each other, but haven't decided where to go from there. Jesse is also seeing psychiatrist, Dix, trying to sort out his issues / problems. Of course there are other characters as well.

An old case from ten years ago resurfaces when Wilson Cromartie (Crow) shows up in Jesse's office. Crow was part of a bank robbery / kidnapping that took place then. Wasn't able to be convicted of anything and it seems he may have prevented the other robbers from killing the hostages, especially the woman. He likes women (you will find this out). Crow has been hired to find a mother and daughter for some fellow from Florida. He wants Jesse to know he's in town.

That's the gist of the story. When Crow finds the two, he is told to kill the mother and bring the girl to Florida. He refuses and this sets off a chain of events, involving a gang from the next town and also killers who work for the father. A minor story line involves Paradise protesters who don't want Latino children from the neighboring town to come to a small school near their residences. Are the two stories related? Read it and find out.

I really enjoyed this story. Parker has a sparse writing style but still manages to craft a rich, interesting story. The characters are interesting, some likable, some not so much, but still engrossing. The story moves along quickly and is difficult to put down. Once you get into it, say on page 1, you will want to see how it ends. And along the way, you will be fascinated. Most enjoyable. (4 stars)"

Currently Reading

1. Maigret and the Nahour Case by Georges Simenon. I enjoy the Maigret series very much.

"When Maigret receives an urgent call from his friend Dr. Pardon he responds immediately, despite the late hour; it seems that the doctor has just treated an apparently wealthy woman for a suspicious gunshot wound, but before he could notify the authorities she disappeared with her companion. The doctor's story gains some perspective when the same woman turns up at the house on Avenue du Parc-Montsouris where Felix Nahour has just been found - shot to death. This is a masterful exploration of the twin passions of love and hate as they mingle in the shadowy mind of a criminal."

New Books

1. The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope (Palliser #3). I've read and enjoyed the first two books in this classic series. I may as well continue with it.

"Anthony Trollope's celebrated Parliamentary novels, of which The Eustace Diamonds (1873) is the third and most famous, are at once unfailingly amusing social comedies, melodramas of greed and deception, and precise nature studies of the political animal in its mid-Victorian habitat. With its purloined jewels, its conniving, resilient, mercenary heroine, and its partiality for the human spectacle in all its complexity, The Eustace Diamonds is a splendid example of Trollope's art at its most assured."

2. A Firework for Oliver by John Sanders (Nicholas Pym #1). This is a new series for me and features Nicholas Pym, secret agent for Oliver Cromwell. 

"Nicholas Pym is given the mission of suppressing a newly-invented gun, a revolutionary weapon so far in advance of contemporary firearms that its very existence threatens the security of the Commonwealth, and the life of the Protector himself..."

3. The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (The Culture #2). The Culture series is one of my favorite Science Fiction series of the past few years. Banks was a great writer.

"The Culture--a humanoid/machine symbiotic society--has thrown up many great Game Players. One of the best is Jernau Morat Gurgeh, Player of Games, master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel & incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game, a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game and with it the challenge of his life, and very possibly his death."

So there you go. I hope my July reading is as satisfying as the past six months have been. I'll get back to my look at the Mystery Genre in my next entry. Have a great week and July.

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