As always, I’ve been reading. But due to big doings in the land of dentists, I haven’t been doing much reviewing. So here’s an effort to get caught up, with quickie reviews of several recent reads.
The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina: Mina’s a Scottish crime writer with a psychological bent. I love her series about journalist Paddy Meehan, which are a thick stew of family ties, misguided loyalty, and criminal undertaking. The End of the Wasp Season features Detective Inspector Alex Morrow in a twisty tale of crime and family tragedy. You see it all coming, but are fascinated anyway. Well worth reading.
Headhunters by Jo Nesbo: I liked Nesbo’s Harry Hole series and reviewed Nemesis here. Alas, I cannot say the same for Headhunters. Meant to be darkly humorous, I found it to be an unpleasant story of a criminal who works as a highly successful executive recruiter by day and rips off his clients by night. He’s shocked to realize that the latest executive he’s recruiting is his wife’s lover. I bailed on the book when he’s being chased by even worse bad guys than he is, hides in an outhouse, and is shat upon by his wife’s lover. Farvel, Jo.
A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black: This was on Julia Keller’s top books of 2011 , and reading her write-up reminded me how much I enjoyed his previous work featuring Quirke and Hackett, Elegy for April. Once again, the writing is keen and lovely, the characters well-drawn, and the relationships are interesting. The only down side for me was the cliche upon which the plot turned – evil, self-centered rich man has a charity involving small children in orphanages. How surprising is it that perversity is at the heart of his murder? Still, it was a quick, engrossing read.
Bone by Bone by Carol O’Connell: I mentioned in this blog post that I chatted with a fellow reader on the el – she was reading Bone by Bone as we sat side by side, and I had The Chalk Girl in my backpack. Upon further reflection, I realized that I had missed this standalone mystery and got it from the library. Bone by Bone has a lot in common with O’Connell’s series featuring Kathy Mallory, the former feral child cum detective savant: quirky characters and a mystery rooted in the past. Despite its somewhat convoluted plot, Bone by Bone is ultimately a more linear book than the Mallory books. I’d give this one a middling thumbs up.