Friday, August 17, 2012

Recently Read Genre fiction

Continuing my clean-up/catch-up project of grouping my lighter reading together so that I at least mention here the titles on my 2012 Reading list, here are the mystery novels I've read since the spring:
Patricia Cornwell's Red Mist. Better than the last few Scarpetta titles, although this could have used some editing for repetition. Cornwell still seems to have lost her affection for these characters, but they've got back some of the depth and appeal that drew me in quite a few years ago.
Elizabeth George's Behind the Lies. Honestly, every title in this series is good. And Havers. Gruff and stalwart and self-deprecating and loyal and, despite her best attempts to the contrary, not quite able to squelch hopes she barely allows us to glimpse. Her domestic situation takes on some poignant twists in this one.
And it occurs to me that Havers would either get along well with, or see right through and dismiss, Kate Atkinson's Tracey Waterhouse (the retired police detective who, in Started Early, Took My Dog takes on a young, mistreated child)
Giles Blunt's Crime Machine If you haven't read Blunt's John Cardinal mysteries, set in a small town in Northern Ontario, you have some treats ahead. Here is another satisfying book in that series. Interestingly, there are some parallels between George's Inspector Linley and Blunt's John Cardinal, in that both detectives are grieving the fairly recent loss of their wives, but both are also making tentative moves back into sexual, if not romantic relationships.

Also genre fiction, although of a different genre, I'll include here George R.R. Martin's Clash of Kings. I took this to Europe knowing it would provide hours of filler reading and that I wouldn't mind leaving the paper copy behind. Well-written, entertaining enough, but so much more detail than I need or want about a place and time that doesn't exist. Too much work for escape, in other words, and the information I glean through that work doesn't contribute usefully to my private encyclopedia. I guess I found this book more interesting than the last one, because I was interested in some of the character development -- the young girls especially. But I'm not likely to bother with the rest of the series, although Paul's got copies around, so never say never. . . .

and William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. The latter deserves a post of its own, and is ill-served by my grouping it with "lighter reading." But while it is provocative and exciting as any Gibson work, and would repay any extended attention to its themes and images, its depictions of urban settings, both general and specific, it is also easily read in the summer. Indeed perhaps that's the best time to consider what it's saying about the effects of globalized commodity culture -- not nearly so chilling as reading this in winter. . .

Too glancing a report, I know, but sadly that's all the time I have. Care to add to my assessments or to quibble with them? I'd love to hear what you have to say.

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