Monday, 5 October 2015
Oh dear, it is October and I haven't finished my September read. I have barely made a dent in it actually. I was not in the right frame of mind to read 'History Of The Rain' by Niall Williams. I enjoyed the little I read and I am eager to continue, maybe on our train journey to London next Sunday.
Life has been far too busy to actually read a book, particularly one that requires a moderate degree of concentration. I am ever so glad there are audiobooks. I am never too tired to listen to a story. In fact, if I could choose between a cleaner and a personal narrator, I would go for the narrator. I'd need two, really, one female and one male. They would need to be fluent in a dozen different accents, too.
When my mind is busy, I stick to easy reads, for example crime fiction. There is so much to choose from in this genre (much of it too formulaic for my taste). My love for crime fiction goes way back to when I was reading book after book in a children's series called 'Drei Fragezeichen'. That's 'Three Investigators' for those of you who live in the US and may know the series from your childhood. The series was stopped in the US in 1993 but was continued in Germany for the German market. There must be a dozen authors contributing by now. I think it is still going! Anyway, you know by now that I am very picky with crime fiction, I turn my nose up at the formulaic crime novels that clutter the bestseller tables. I blame the five years I have worked in a Forensic Medicine and Science environment, learning about the real world of crime and how it is investigated.
I have recently discovered Jorn Lier Horst, a Norwegian author. I like Scandinavian fiction, it feels culturally quite close to my cultural comfort zone. His inspector Wisting novels are a good read. The first book in the series translated into English is 'Dregs', followed by 'Closed for Winter' and 'Hunting Dogs'. Yes, I have listened to them all. There are five previous books in the series that have not been translated but it doesn't matter, threads that are picked up from the older books are well explained. The author is a former senior investigating officer in the Norwegian police force. This is evident when you read the books, they offer a detailed and authentic insight into how cases are investigated. You might think this makes for an eye-wateringly boring read but it doesn't. The novels are set in a political and social context that is real and contemporary. All characters are real and normal, they could be your friends, or the bloke next door. That holds true for the villains also. You'll not find yourself too scared to check for dust balls under the bed for fear of discovering an axe wielding lunatic who kills for trophies and the thrill. The crimes committed are rational in the social and societal context. I sure hope there will be another William Wisting novels sometime in the near future.
I have have been waiting for the publication of Jussi Adler-Olsens new book, 'The Hanging Girl'. I like the quirky trio of Karl, Assad and Rose investigating unsolved crimes. The trio is well characterised and they are likeable, each in their own way and each of them has an interesting past. What's more, they are also quite efficient investigators. The trio does not always operate according to the rules and the unit they form is a pariah unit of sorts, which for me can be a deal clincher. But Rose's temper, Assad's enigmatic past and Carl's struggle to overcome a traumatic event make up for it. The new book didn't disappoint and I am already looking forward to the next book in the series (if there is one).
I have also listened to 'Faithful Place' by Tana French. I can't make my mind up about the Dublin crime squad series. The books are well written and insightful and I really like how each book has a different lead detective, each with their own strengths and vulnerabilities. I don't know if it is me but I don't particularly like any of the characters. I was kind of ok with Rob (his last name escapes me at the moment) in 'In the Woods'. I found Cassie Maddock, the lead detective in the 'The Likeness' irritating and I really disliked Frank Mackey who is the central character in 'Faithful Place'. He made my skin crawl when he first appeared in the 2nd book and I felt like punching him in the teeth in the third book. I hope is not going to make another appearance. I am now listening to the fourth book, 'Broken Harbour', in which Scorcher Kennedy is the lead detective. Scorcher played a major part in 'Faithful Place' and I disliked him nearly as much as I disliked Mackey. He doesn't make my skin crawl but he is too pompous for my liking. Despite it all, I keep listening because I do rather like the stories. There's hope for the next detective.
For October, I have no idea what I am going to read. I may just stick to audio books as it is an easy way to enjoy fiction and doesn't require my tired eyes to focus on tiny words. My track record for finishing the monthly book has not been great this year! I'll leave you with a close up of a section of our bookshelves.
As always, I am linking up with Laura's 'Year in Books'.
What have you been reading lately? Anything I should really read? Do tell! Have a lovely week my friends. xx