Saturday, May 2, 2015

An Unwilling Accomplice, by Charles Todd

The authors exert more of an effort to make battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's mid-war jaunts around England and back and forth to France make sense.  She is drafted to accompany a wounded war hero to a royal ceremony, and is bamboozled into leaving him alone for the evening.  When he decamps, apparently less frail than he pretended, Bess's reputation is damaged and her career put in jeopardy. With help from Simon, an old family friend, she tracks him down and unravels the mystery surrounding his disappearance and the death that followed.

A Fine Summer's Day, by Charles Todd

This is a prequel to the haunted Ian Rutledge books, and it's interesting to see what kind of a man he was before war scoured his soul.  As the first world war begins on the Continent, Ian manages to link together four seemingly unrelated deaths by laudanum.  You get to meet his fiance, sister, and friends when they were younger and a bit naive.  It's complicated enough that I'm enjoying re-listening.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Stench of Honolulu, by Jack Handy

Though it was mercifully short and, at moments, witty, but I wish I hadn't subjected myself to Jack Handey's sophomoric tropical adventures.  Reminded me of The Fat Man, which I didn't like either.

Bed of Nails, by Antonin Varenne

What an odd and creepy book.  An American S&M performer in Paris dies on stage, and his friend John Nichols is drawn from his rural campsite/homestead to identify the body.  Richard Guerin, a police detective in charge of investigating suicides, wonders if the death is part of a series of bizarre suicides that seem to have had an audience of three.  The two find their answers, but they and everyone else in the book gets hurt in the process.

My Sunshine Away, by M. O. Walsh

Lindy Simpson, a teenage girl from an affluent and seemingly safe part of Baton Rouge is brutally raped on her way home from school, and four people are suspects.  One of the suspects is the narrator of this book, and he tells the story of his role in the aftermath of this crime with a healthy dose of self-condemnation.  When he is cowardly or timid or creepy or selfish, he admits to it without offering excuses but rather explanations.  All of the main characters are damaged and deal with their issues in a wide variety of ways.  Maybe the book could have used some admirable characters and a bit of humor.

Fear the Darkness, by Becky Masterman

This is a great series.  Ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn still gets things wrong, a lot.  She still loses it, a lot.  This time she has taken on her late sister's teenage daughter, Gemma-Kate, and is revelling in having her first best friend, Mallory.  And she needs one, as Gemma-Kate is a pain, and Brigid's health is deteriorating in some very scary ways.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Secret Place, by Tana French

Tana French changes things up so completely you can never know what to expect from her.  The Secret Place is part police procedural, part coming of age (?) story.  A young man is bludgeoned to death on the grounds of a fancy girls' school.  A year later, one of the boarders at the school instigates a reopening of the case in a day-long investigation conducted by Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran of Chris Harper's death.  Intermittently, flashbacks explore the friendship between Holly, Becca, Julia and Selena, and the threat to that friendship posed by Chris Harper.