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!