And More Books
I read a lot, don’t I? This seems to always be the part of keeping up this blog that takes the most time – finding the cover images and coming up with comments that don’t reveal too much of the book…
Just finished with Stuart MacBride’s Shatter the Bones, one of two new novels in the Scottish police series featuring detective Logan McRae. The mother-daughter team at the top of the latest “Britan’s Next Big Star” television competition have been kidnapped and Logan is part of the force trying to find them. This book seems to have an even bigger number of misunderstandings and missed leads than usual, ending with Logan’s girlfriend in the hospital and him on the verge of quitting the force. Still, an intense read, as this author usually is and I should be able to get my hands on the next book fairly soon – they were next to each other on the new book shelf when I picked this one up. I think this is a result of the oddities of international publishing, since these books were both available in the UK well before they showed up here.
Let it Burn by Steve Hamilton is the latest “Alex McKnight” book set here in Michigan. This one travels between Paradise, in the UP, and Detroit as McKnight goes back into his own history as a police officer on the Detroit force, back to the summer when a woman was murdered in the now-defunct Michigan Central Station in Detroit and both McKnight and his partner were shot by a mentally unstable man who had picked up a gun from a dumpster. The man (teenager then) who had been arrested and convicted for the woman’s murder is being released from prison and McKnight revisits the crime and the city, feeling doubts about the events of that long-ago summer. Like the other Michigan-based books I read, I like the fact that Hamilton’s are set in familiar places and he really captures the tone of my home state! I’ll always be on the lookout for another one of these.
Daniel Silva’s latest, The English Girl once again features sometime Israeli spy/sometime art restorer Gabriel Allon, who is pulled from his cottage on the coast of Cornwall to investigate the kidnapping of a young British political staffer who also happens to be the mistress of the current Prime Minister. Of course, Gabriel brings along his usual team of fellow spies and enlists the aid of a British ex-pat-turned assassin from the island of Corsica. Full of intrigue and action as usual, Silva takes us from Corsica to England to Israel and even Russia as Gabriel finds (and then loses) the girl and ultimately has to confront an old enemy (as usual). I always like these books for the tradecraft involved – they’re rather like a modern-day John LeCarre novel!
A book I picked off the new book shelf because the title caught my eye really turned out to be a surprisingly good read. Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty is essentially a modern retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in which a rare book and manuscript dealer is hired to authenticate, purchase, and transport a collection of Stoker memorabilia from the US to – you guessed it – Transylvania! In many ways this story follows the path of the original – the unsuspecting American is drawn into the clutches of the vampire family, who are of course the descendants of the original Count. Still, it was a rather original take on the story and an enjoyable read.