Birdman by Mo Hayder

 

I picked up this book from the library because I had read about it on a book blog.  The writer had said it was a really scary book.  I don’t think I would call it scary in the sense of horror, which is what I thought they were referring to in the post.  This is a thriller police crime novel.  So understand it was not what I was expecting which of course was my fault, I should have read up about it before just picking it up on a whim.

After all that, the novel was well written and it definitely was a thriller and Detective Jack Caffery is certainly a good example of the “tragically flawed” protagonist.  He keeps making mistakes in his personal life based on a  traumatic event that occurred in his childhood and that he seems to keep reliving today.  The villain was decidedly twisted and evil.  Rebecca, as a love interest, is strong enough to fight jack Caffery’s demons and is an interesting character in her own right.  The rest of the cast is rounded out by a other police personnel, prostitutes, an obsessive girlfriend, and Jack’s personal demon, neighbor Penderecki.

I have a hard time discussing a book such as this, in which I recognize the strengths of the book, however I still did not enjoy it.  I will just have to say it was not for me, brutal depictions of torture and mutilation, I don’t really find scary just disgusting.  I’m sure that if you don’t mind your thrillers with graphic violence against women, this would be a good read.

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Mrs. Pargeter’s Plot by Simon Brett

Have I said lately how much I love Simon Brett’s mysteries?  Mrs. Pargeter is a wonderful sleuth and the cast is fleshed out by a colorful, fascinating cast of characters, such as Gary the driver, Concrete Jacket  the builder and his wife Tracy, Truffler the detective, Hedge clipper Clinton, Keyhole Crabbe – lock pick extraordinaire, and Fossilface.  Mr. Brett’s trademark sly social humor is threaded throughout.  The mystery resolves quite satisfactorily through Mrs. Pargeter’s sleuthing with the help of her deceased husband’s cohorts.

In one episode from the book, Concrete Jacket is locked up in his cell awaiting trial and Keyhole comes to visit to talk some sense into him.  The only issue is that Keyhole himself is currently incarcerated in another prison:

A suspicious light came into Concrete’s eye.  “‘Ere, this isn’t an escape, is it?”

His visitor was appalled by the suggestion.  “Good Heavens, no.  Very risky business, escape.”

“Too right,” the builder agreed.  “Makes you a marked man, that does.”

Keyhole nodded.  “Oh yea.  Wouldn’t catch me doing it.  Server your time like a good boy, no fuss, get your remission for good behavior – that’s my philosophy.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s all right to nip out for kids’ birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, that kind of number – otherwise, you just got to knuckle down and do your bird.” 

Anyway – fun, well written, good mystery plot.  I highly recommend Simon Brett’s books.

 

The Shooting in the Shop by Simon Brett

Just finished this one in the Fethering Mystery series by Simon Brett.  A very good whodunit, I really didn’t know the culprit until the reveal came together.  In fact, I was off following another red herring for a good part of the book.  🙂 The misdirection was particularly well done in this outing of the series.

As always the intrepid team of Jude and Carole work together, relying on their disparate talents to come together to solve the crime.  The partnership of sleuths, Jude and Carole, really make these books for me.  In this book, Carole becomes more aware of her place in the community  of Fethering  and succumbs to more of Jude’s influence.  The characters of Jude and Carole are well crafted to give a humorous nod to stereotypical characters without being stereotypes themselves.  The other characters have their own quirks and personalities creating a believable community set in the backdrop of Fethering, a British coastal village.

For readers of British village mysteries, particularly if you like some sly humor thrown in the mix.

I’m ONLY Reading…

I can so relate to this!

Cheap Thrills

Reading.

Many people seem to view it as a synonym for “doing nothing.” Or “waiting for something more interesting to occupy my time.” And so they think nothing of interrupting… it’s happened to all of us at one time or another. Sometimes it’s out in public, sometimes it’s in our own homes. It’s always irritating.

Jaime ranted about this problem here. Kelly ranted about it here. I’m sure other bloggers have ranted about it as well, but those are the two posts that caught my attention recently, and now it’s my turn.

(Only I won’t be using gifs.)

To be fair, my husband doesn’t do this nearly as much as he used to. Also in his defense, I read a lot, so if he has something he legitimately needs to talk to me about (as opposed to, “hey look, a funny picture on the internet…”) I don’t mind…

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The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne & Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden by M.C. Beaton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my book clubs selected The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne, better known for being the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh.  This well crafted mystery  showed that A.A. Milne was not a one trick pony.  This was a traditional British mystery with a full complement of  “upstairs downstairs” characters set on an estate in a locked room.  We have the sleuth, Antony Gillingham, and his not so sharp sidekick.  There is misdirection in the form of disguise and assumed identity.  Very clever mystery with dry humor and a classic feel, Agatha Christie-esque.  The copy I picked up from the library is not the edition pictured, it is the 1962 edition printed by E.P. Dutton  & Co., Inc and there is a wonderful dedication page from A.A. Milne to his father:

My Dear Father,

Like all really nice people, you have  a weakness for detective stories, and feel that there is not enough of them.  So, after all that you have done for me, the least that I can do for you is to write you one.  Here it is:  with more gratitude and affection than I can well put down here.

A.A. Milne

Highly recommended read!

My second read of last night was another outing in the indomitable Agatha Raisin series, Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden.  Poor Agatha is in poor shape, unlucky in love more than once, the victim of  a vengeful hairdresser and stuck in a senior living facility disguised as a hotel.  Still Agatha manages to find a murder or two, trace down the clues, adopt a cat and along the way she gets some things muddled and meddles in some other people’s lives.  The character of Agatha Raisin is really the star, Agatha strives for love and companionship.  She wants to be liked but comes across as prickly and even high handed at times.  The mystery is fun and fast paced as is the whole book. I heartily recommend this series.  I do think you will appreciate it more if you read the books in order.

 

South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haurki Marakami

 

This was my first experience reading Haruki Murakami.  I know that he is a well known and highly regarded author.  This book is written in the first person with the narrator, Hajime being a Japanese man born in the early 1950s.  The book is the story of his life or rather a life not lived.  The books main themes are memory and reminiscences.  Hajime is borderline obsessed with a mysterious woman from his childhood.  Even as he meets and marries, his thoughts are not far from this woman, Shimamoto.  Hajime experiences relative success in life, but he doesn’t really seem to take pleasure from it.  He is married and says that he loves his wife, but doesn’t really seem to have a connection to her.  That he reserves for Shimamoto, who drifts in and out of life intermittently.

He doesn’t even seem to take pleasure in his children.  Which is surprising because he discussed in depth his own childhood, as an only child and his experiences.  It’s as though, his own children are just something that happened to him.  Interwoven in this story, very appropriately given the flow of the plot is Jazz music.  It doesn’t seem that Hajime takes charge of his life, rather he is just being carried in the flow.  Likewise he doesn’t seem to take real responsibility for his own actions.  He expresses the idea that he hurt Izumi at one point, but  it doesn’t really seem to impact him.

This was an interesting read, certainly kept my attention. The author excelled at expressing mood through subtle details.  His prose was delightful to read, even though I didn’t particularly like the main character.  Hajime was very self-absorbed, only concerned with what was happening to him.   I read this as part of my One Drink Minimum Book Club and I’m glad that I was introduced to this author.  I will probably pick up another one of his books.

Death Under the Dryer by Simon Brett

This is book 8 in the Fethering series by Simon Brett featuring the sleuths Carole Seddon and her neighbor Jude.  Although this is not my favorite in the series, it is still a charming fun mystery.  Simon Brett’s depiction of seaside town and its inhabitants is vivid and makes it easy for the reader to submerge  themselves in the story.  The mainstay of this series is the relationship between Carole and Jude, complements of each other, one fills in what the other lacks.  It is  a true duo sleuth team, rather than a leader and the sidekick.  Although we do know more about Carole, Jude is no mere ancillary character.  The fact we don’t know everything about Jude is intention and indeed is a often a source of frustration for Carole.  I love the fact that neither character is a stereotype, it makes them so much more interesting and real.

Brett’s wry humor is abundant as he pokes fun, all the while leading readers through a set of twists and turns to reach the conclusion.  If you like British village cozy mysteries, with a light touch of satire, and minimal romance, this is a great series to try.  I would suggest that you read the books in order as the relationships between Carole, Jude and others develops over time.  Besides, the first in the series, The Body on the Beach is one of  my favorites.