Friday, 20 February 2015

Six in January

I read six books in January:

Die Hard by Lee Childs (from Christian Aid book sale 2014)
In which Jack Reacher, our action hero, takes on the world single-handed yet again and acts as jury, judge and executioner before disappearing into the sunset. And in which the author annoyingly ends too many paragraphs with – ‘right?’ But he’s sold over 300 million books and he does know how to make you keep turning the pages so what’s not to like, right?

‘The third book in a loose trilogy about landscape and the human heart.’ – following Mountains of the Mind and The Wild Places

Our ancient predecessors did not have motorways to drive on, nor trains or planes or motor boats on which to cross land and water. But the modern world, which has all those things, still has the tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths used by our ancestors. 

I love Robert MacFarlane’s writing and it is very kind of him to do all this walking so that I don’t have to. Here he travels on foot through diverse places such as the Ickneild Way which runs from Norfolk to Wiltshire and was beloved of the poet Edward Thomas; he walks, unguided, beside the quicksands of Morecambe Bay; he travels ‘into’ the mountains of the Cairngorms, in the footsteps of Scottish writer Nan Shepherd; he puts his life at risk by walking in the hills above Ramallah in Palestine; he treads some of the old pilgrim trail in Santiago de Compostela. I would urge you to join him by reading this book.

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty (from Christian Aid book sale 2014)
‘Apple Tree Yard is Louise Doughty's stunning psychological thriller about a respected female scientist and the single reckless decision that leads to her standing trial for murder.’ The official description is not a spoiler – we know right at the beginning that Dr Yvonne Carmichael is on trial for murder, but we don’t know whose until well into the book. I liked it that her lover (unnamed until near the end) was not particularly handsome – good looks could have detracted from the force of his personality which zinged off the page. One to keep you up to the wee small hours.

In the Shadow of the Hill by Helen Forbes (read on Kindle) 

Move over Rebus et al. Tartan noir has moved to Inverness and North Uist – to an engaging young policeman protagonist, the murder of an elderly woman and the most staggering plot twist I’ve come across since the one in Fingersmith. It’s hard to believe that this is Helen Forbes’ first novel – definitely one to watch.


The Next Always by Nora Roberts (read on Kindle)
I blogged about this book in my last post: Two nations divided ... 

The Detective’s Daughter by Lesley Thomson (read on Kindle)
I liked Stella who, after the death of her retired policeman father, resolves to finish one of his cases. It was inspired to have a character (Stella) who runs a cleaning agency and therefore gets legitimate access to people’s houses and their secrets. The case and its solution would make for a very satisfying read if I hadn’t felt I was paddling through treacle to get there. Hmm. My internal jury is out on this one.

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