Tuesday, 5 November 2019

A Reading Update - My First of November

November is off to a bit of a slow start. I've only finished one book but am making steady progress on the others. I'll update that and also provide an update on a few new books.

Before I get into my update, I've got a small complaint. I normally open my BLog Firefox. But for the past couple of days it's not accepted my password, instead saying that a code would be sent to my email. Of course that made me somewhat suspicious so I decided to try and open it in Internet Explorer. That worked. Strange, anyways.

OK, enough of that, now on to my review.

New Books

1. The Underground Man by Ross Macdonald (Lew Archer #16).

"As a mysterious fire rages through an affluent community in Southern California, Lew Archer tracks a missing--and possibly kidnapped--child and uncovers and entire secret history of wayward parents, wounded offspring, and murder. Along with its merciless suspense, The Underground Man possesses a moral vision as complex as that of a classic Greek tragedy."

2. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway #1). This is a new series for me.

"The Crossing Places Forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is called upon to date a child's bones found in the Norfolk marshes, thought to be the bones of a missing girl about whom the police having been getting strange letters. Then another girl goes missing and Ruth is in danger..."

3. The Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill (Dr. Siri Paiboun #6). I've enjoyed the first two books in this series very much.

"When the corpse of a rural beauty turns up in Dr. Siri's morgue, his curiosity is piqued. The victim was tied to a tree and strangled, but she had not, as the doctor had expected, been raped. On a trip to the hinterlands, Siri learns that many women have been killed this way, and he soon discovers that not only pretty maidens are at risk. Seventy-three-year-old coroners can be victims, too."

4. Second Life by S.J. Watson. I enjoyed Watson's first book, Before I Go to Sleep very much.

"How well can you really know another person? How far would you go to find the truth about someone you love?

When Julia learns that her sister has been violently murdered, she must uncover why. But Julia's quest quickly evolves into an alluring exploration of own darkest sensual desires. Becoming involved with a dangerous stranger online, she's losing herself . . . losing control . . . perhaps losing everything. Her search for answers will jeopardize her marriage, her family, and her life."

5. Converging Parallels by Timothy Williams (Commissario Trotti #1). Another new series.

"Northern Italy, 1978: Commissario Piero Trotti, trusted senior police investigator in an anonymous provincial city off the River Po, has two difficult cases to solve. A dismembered body has been found in the river, and it’s up to Trotti to figure out who the murder victim is. At the same time, an estranged friend approaches Trotti with a desperate personal plea: his six-year-old daughter—Trotti’s own goddaughter—has been kidnapped. In the wake of the high-profile kidnapping of Aldo Moro, president of Italy’s majority party, faith in law enforcement is at an all-time low, and it’s no surprise the distraught father isn’t willing to take this matter to the police."

6. The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby (Athenian Mysteries #1).

"Nicolaos walks the mean streets of Classical Athens as an agent for the promising young politician Pericles. His mission is to find the assassin of the statesman Ephialtes, the man who brought democracy to Athens and whose murder has thrown the city into uproar. It's a job not made any easier by the depressingly increasing number of dead witnesses.

But murder and mayhem don't bother Nico; what's really on his mind is how to get closer (much closer) to Diotima, the intelligent and annoyingly virgin priestess of Artemis, and how to shake off his irritating twelve year-old brother Socrates."

Just Finished

1. The Mind Parasites by Colin Wilson.

"The Mind Parasites by Colin Wilson was definitely interesting. I had previously read another of his Sci-Fi books, The Space Vampires, which was another intriguing story. What to say about The Mind Parasites???

It's a story that moves between horror and Sci-Fi and there are many influences (unless it's more that he has influenced others) or themes explored within the story. It moves from an archeological horror story with HP Lovecraft aspects, both intrinsic and explicit and ends with a spacey type story. As I read through it I was reminded of the aforementioned Lovecraft theme, John Wyndham's hive mind children of The Village of the Damned, Robert Heinlein's Puppet Masters and E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman Sci-Fi books.

Let's take a quick look at the story itself. Professor Gilbert Austin makes a discovery while exploring an archeological dig in Turkey. As well, a close friend of his commits suicide and leaves his papers for Austin. The two events become related. What has he found in Turkey? Why are the incidents of suicide in the world increasing so dramatically? What is this presence that he senses when he explores his friend's documents and what is hampering his efforts in Turkey? Along with his friend, fellow scientist, Prof Reich, they begin both an archeological and psychological exploration of these invaders, the Mind Parasites of the book's title. It's an intriguing story of this threat to mankind and also interesting how these two scientists, along with an increasing group of fellow scientists, increase their mental capabilities to enable themselves to combat these 'aliens'.

The story is written almost in a documentary fashion and develops slowly. It takes awhile before the enemies that are affecting mankind so much are recognized as they are secretive and have inserted themselves within the mental framework of mankind and have basically taken over. These few scientists may be the only hope to save mankind. As a twist of sorts, maybe these selfsame scientists don't really feel the need to do so as their powers increase and they also sort of look down on the normal people of the world.

Funnily I did find myself getting irritated by Mr. Austin. As his mental powers increased, his interest in the 'average' human decreased. There were some funny lines, one in particular caught me... As part of the effort to destroy the 'mind parasites' they had to remove the moon. This was the line; 'The earth lost its moon, to the accompaniment of violent protests from sentimentalists, which we ignored'... I number myself as one of those sentimentalists.. ;0).. Anyway, all in all it was an interesting, unique story. Worth trying. (4 stars)"

Currently Reading
I started two books at the beginning of November.

1. The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean. For some strange reason, this is one of the few Alistair MacLean books I haven't read.

"Twelve hundred British soldiers isolated on the small island of Kheros off the Turkish coast, waiting to die. Twelve hundred lives in jeopardy, lives that could be saved if only the guns could be silenced. The guns of Navarone, vigilant, savage and catastrophic-book."

2. Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. So far this seems like one of those perfect fantasies to settle down and read with your kids. So far.


Throughout time, the forces of good and evil have battled continuously, maintaining the balance. Whenever evil forces grow too powerful, a champion of good is called to drive them back. Now, with evil's power rising and a champion yet to be found, three siblings find themselves at the center of a mystical war.

Jane, Simon, and Barney Drew have discovered an ancient text that reads of a legendary grail lost centuries ago. The grail is an object of great power, buried with a vital secret. As the Drews race against the forces of evil, they must piece together the text's clues to find the grail -- and keep its secret safe until a new champion rises."

I'll get back to my look at the Mystery genre - American Cops next entry.

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