A Sight for Sore Eyes, 13 Steps Down, The Fortunate Brother, & Closer to Home

 

Closer to Home was a bargain read I picked up on my Kindle.  It is the first in the DI Kate Fletcher series.  I really liked it.  Kate is a well crafted character with a complex back story, a slight renegade but not ridiculously so, just enough to be interesting. The case is intriguing with twists and turns, connections to the past and to other crimes.  I did finger the villain, but I still feel as there was a lot that was well done here and I would be interested in reading another in this series.

The Fortunate Brother is a murder mystery set in a small coastal community in Newfoundland, Canada.  A small disclaimer here, this is the third in the series, and I did not read the others.  A thoroughly unlikable man dies and there are suspects a plenty in the claustrophobic community which houses its share of oddball residents.  Themes of mental illness, alcoholism, and abuse abound.  This didn’t really work for me.

I have been having a bit of a thing for Ruth Rendell and I read two of hers back to back.  The first was A Sight for Sore Eyes, which is really three stories which seem to be running along parallel tracks until they finally intersect with some awful consequences.  The first story involves a young girl who is home with her mother when she is murdered, the second story is about a young man who is raised with no affection and barely any human interaction leaving him devoid of normal human emotions, and the third concerns a beautiful young woman, the subject of a rock star’s affections for a time and a famous painter’s muse.  Ruth Rendell masterfully weaves the three tales together to their tragic ending.  As I’ve found in her other books, Rendell’s writing really shines at showing the inner lives of her characters and that is certainly true here.  Very good mystery read.

The second Rendell book I read was 13 Steps Down.  I found this to be a very current feeling story, with its theme of celebrity worship and obsessive love.  Mix is obsessed with a model and we follow his story and the story of his elderly landlady, who has never really had a life or a love of her own due to the controlling nature of her father, now long dead.  Again, the writing here really is at its best when revealing what is going through the minds of the characters, especially when the characters are twisted in some way and their thoughts are juxtaposed with the reactions of the others in the scenes with them.  Another excellent mystery read.

 

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