Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason

 

Another library book for the Library Read-a-thon.   I have been looking forward to this one for a while so I am happy I finally got to it.  I enjoyed the Icelandic setting and  Inspector Erlendur is a great character.  

This is the first of Arnaldur Indridason’s books that I have read and I love his style of writing.  Throughout the book are episodes of dry humor and plain speaking.  An example from early in the book is:

“Perhaps he did not know his assailant well.  Perhaps the visitor had attacked him without any preamble, the moment the door opened.  Without taking off his shoes.

Can you murder someone in your socks?

Erlendur looked all around and  told himself he really must organize his thoughts better.”

Another is :

“”Isn’t this your typical Icelandic murder?”…

“What?” said Erlendur, engrossed in his thoughts.

“Squalid, pointless and committed without any attempt to hide it, change the clues or conceal the evidence.”

“Yes,” said Erlendur.  “A pathetic Icelandic murder.””

As an overview, the characters were well drawn and developed, even likable, which was surprising in the case of Erlendur’s daughter, a drug addict.   At first, I didn’t really see the point of her story but it was connected seamlessly in the end.

The only weakness was in the actual main mystery itself.  I figured it out about half way through and   in my opinion it was somewhat improbable.  There is just so much else good in this book, that I would still recommend it and will read more in the series.

Library Read-a-thon Day 4 & The Blackhouse by Peter May

The prompt today from Rachel Turns Pages for the Library Read-a-thon is:
Interesting timing because I just came back from dropping off books at the library.  My new reads aren’t in yet.  Generally, I check out  6 or 7 books, a mixture of genres, lighter and heavier reads.  Usually though I have 1 or 2 still at home so on average I have about 8 books out at any one time.
My library is awesome technology wise.  I generally order books all from home and then just go in and pick them up.  Days that I have time, I do like to peruse the shelves and see if anything just catches my eye.
If a book is due and there is a waiting list (like Under the Dome), can’t renew it and haven’t read it, I usually return it and put it back on hold, that is if I haven’t started it at all.  If I still have a day, I push through it and finish it so I can return it.  I’ve been known to set my alarm clock extra early, so I could finish a book.  This is usually not an issue for me unless I am struggling with a book (see Under the Dome), because generally I am a  fast reader, my kids are pretty much grown – a senior and a college sophomore, and I don’t have a significant other so my time is my own – except for that pesky job I have to go to:).
This morning I finished Peter May’s The Blackhouse
I loved this book.  The mystery kept me turning the pages.  The setting was almost a character in its own right.  The descriptions were so well wrought that I could easily picture the action in my head.  There were really clever episodes of misdirection that were intriguing and kept me guessing.
Really masterfully written and very suspenseful.  One of the biggest  strengths of this book is the characters.  All of the significant characters are multi-dimensional and not through an overabundance of words.  Peter Mays made every word count.  I love that style of writing, especially in a thriller or mystery  when the setting is so stark and isolated that  it very fitting to the mood of the book.
The characters  all seemed like real people and even when I couldn’t understand how they could behave in such a way, they still seemed realistic.  A great example of this is when Fin Macleod goes to visit a paraplegic weaver in the village, he learns of an entirely different side to the victim.  I  won’t say anything more but I felt that was an example of excellent character development.
So, having said that,  I returned The Blackhouse to the library and put books 2 & 3 on hold.

 

For Richer, For Danger & In Sickness and in Death by Lisa Bork

 

Insomnia strikes again so I put it to good use.  Here are two more titles for the library read-a-thon.  These two are books 2 & 3 in  Lisa Bork’s Broken Vows Mystery series.

I finished For Richer, For Danger and it left off the story of the characters Jolene and Ray at such a place that I just picked up the next one and kept going.  Both of these books have good mysteries and the character’s stories are so interesting that I just wanted to know more.  Not a typical cozy in that their are some pretty devastating personal things going on that don’t necessarily end all nice and neatly (or happily).  I don’t want to give anything else away.

Besides the main characters there are some other recurring characters that we see more  of, especially Erica and Cory.  Both of them are now well developed characters with lives and stories of their own that weave with Jolene and Ray’s. The mystery is engaging and well crafted, however it is almost overshadowed by the personal crisis stuff.  In other words, rather than being a mystery with a chick lit feel, it is more of a chick lit with a mystery plot line.  I thought that it really worked well.  The only criticism that I would have to say would be Jolene’s business.  The fact that it manages to stay afloat just seem highly improbable to me, but I find that in many cozy mysteries.

The author also manages to sensitively deal with some social concerns without beating you over the head with her message.  One of the main characters is gay and openly dating, there is another character in book 3 with gender issues, and the issue of adoption/foster care is a focal point in both books.   the great thing is the normality with which the author addresses all these points.  Some books seem so self conscious and almost make a parody of social issues with their treatment.  On the whole, a well written mystery series with good character development.

 

 

Library Read-a-Thon

Have lots of library books around so I thought that this might be a good challenge.  Starting a little late, but better late than never.  I already read today:

The other library books I am planning on reading this week::

Well, that is all for now.  Some more might come in during the week.  Happy library reading everyone!

Dangers of Raving about a Book…before you’re finished

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Welcome to my Sundays In Bed With… Meme! The meme that dares to ask, what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today!  Hosted by Midnightbookgirl.com

 

So, anyway, I am reading, stop, make that I am supposed to be reading this:

I started it yesterday and it was excellent.  My daughter came home and I had to stop reading to make dinner, which I did reluctantly and I told her how great the book was and how I couldn’t wait to finish it.  Big mistake.  She has inherited the bibliophile gene from me and so while I was distracted with dinner, she absconded with my book.   I managed to swipe it back for a few minutes but when I went to put my teacup back in the kitchen, she struck again.   Now she won’t give it back until she’s finished…this is an argument  against having children, if I ever heard one.

Giving in and moving on with my life, I picked up this, also a library book, instead:

How I found this series is interesting.  David, over at Goodreads English Kindle Mystery Club, posted about book 5  being free on Amazon.  So, I downloaded it and another that was also free but realized I didn’t want to start half way through the series.  Luckily, my library had the earlier books and this is book 1.

Very good writing.  Complex and engaging characters.  A thrilling plot with lots of twists and turns.  Red herrings and misdirection lead the reader on a very satisfying mystery chase,  some characters are convinced that TIm is still alive, while others are equally convinced that he is dead.  The story begins with a doctor getting called in on an emergency early in the morning.  He never arrives at the hospital and that is the beginning of what begins as a missing person case and ends in multiple homicides.  Not for the squeamish, some  graphic violence and descriptions of bodies/parts, but that is not just done for effect.  It is definitely core to the story.

The characters reactions are very realistic and run the gamut just as normal human reactions would.  The climax is thrilling and although I suspected there was something “wrong” with the character who ends up being involved in the crimes, I didn’t know exactly what was wrong.

A great start to a new-to-me series.  Highly recommended to readers of very dark mysteries.

Book, Line and Sinker by Jenn McKinlay

 

I picked this up from the library which only seems appropriate since it is book 3 in a “Library Lover’s Mystery” series.  For some reason I had a hard time getting into this book, I picked it up and  put it down a few times and that is unusual for me.  It may have been that I was trudging,  er…I mean reading through Stephen King’s Under the Dome at the same time.

Anyway, today after my errands I had a lunch out on the patio with my mom of  salad, a delicious pate, some wonderful olives and fresh bread along with a bottle of Jersey White wine.  I brought the book along and after we finished eating I sunk into my sun lounger  to read.  This time I got right into it.  There was more than one mystery going on in the story, an older unsolved mystery and the current one.  Pirates (ahoy matey, eye patch and all), treasure and eco-warriors abounded, all great fun.

I did find some of the dialogue stilted or even trite and I was concerned about the return of an old love interest creating the classic “love triangle”, but there was an interesting twist on it.  We see more of Sully in this book and I like his character.  I enjoy this type of plot, in which there is an old crime and a new crime that are connected and we just have to figure out how.

Cute mystery that is a quick, fun read for anyone who likes book themed cozies.

Now I am working on:

 

This book has sucked me right in and I will probably finish it tonight.