Friday, 4 March 2011
Books I've enjoyed lately
Having read my way through all the ancient Roman detective stories I can find - e.g. Stephen Saylor, Lindsey Davis - I am now going through a phase of modern crime novels. Here are three I have read recently and thoroughly enjoyed. What are you reading at the moment?
Tana French - The Likeness. Detective Cassie Maddox gets a creepy feeling when she encounters a dead girl who looks remarkably like herself. So it seems only natural that she should take the victim's place and infiltrate her friends in order to find out what happened to her. The plot is very subtle - almost too subtle in places - but French is not just a good crime writer, supplying great plots and memorable characters, but also has an excellent literary style, with good, crunchy images and a voice that is all her own.
Belinda Bauer - Blacklands. I read an interesting magazine article about Bauer and promptly rushed to Amazon and bought this, her first novel, as her second one has only just come out in unaffordable hardback. I was glad that I did, as the plot (young boy seeking to know where his dead uncle is buried starts writing to the jailed serial killer he believes was responsible, and receiving increasingly cryptic replies) is atmospheric, creepy and truly compelling, with a fantastic, bloody climax.
Colin Cotterill - The Coroner's Lunch. I love quirky novels set in unusual places and you can't get much more unusual than politically turbulent Laos in 1976. You'd also be hard pushed to find a more unusual crime-solver than 72-year-year old coroner, Dr Siri Paiboun, with his warped, cynical, yet oddly endearing way of looking at life.