Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Devilishly Good Read - Tess Gerritsen's The Mephisto Club

I’m toying with giving up my library membership as my eyesight finds it harder and harder to cope with ‘real’ books. Reading on an app is so much easier. And handier. The latest visit to my library was during a slightly stressful time. I, thus, happily grabbed the book suggested by the librarian. And that was a Tess Gerritsen.

“I write because I love to tell stories, and I can’t think of a more amazing job than to sit at my desk and listen to fictional characters having conversations,”

Now, I’ve never heard of her before. And, while I’m far from a reader of best sellers, I’m one of those who simply has to know the plot before I plunge in, be it a film or a novel.

But the author has this going for her, in my eyes, that she's a medical person and into anthropology. I’m a doctor’s daughter and medicine often involves detection and I'm a huge fan of medicine and detection. As for anthropology, that's also fascinating - a rather messy area but quite full of things that read as juicily as fiction, one has to admit.

And then I used to be a fan of the Bones series. Alas, I’ve only read the one Bones book by Kathy Reichs as my library has mostly her books for young adults.


I’d planned the book to keep me company while I was home alone for the week. As it transpired, I read it through one night. Of course, that’s mainly because I skip and read. To be fair, life is short and, to lovingly read line for line, it would require writing that really takes my breath away. Or a plot. I'm both hard and easy to please.

The story lived up to the blurb’s promise of blood and dismemberment in dollops and lusty globs. Speaking of which some intercourse is interspersed. Quite juicy what with a Church Father being one of the participants. There is an amusing piece which would give you a rough

The novel is devilishly engaging - the Devil figures all over the place. Obviously! Mephisto! For me, as a non-Christian residing in a country where the majority are Hindus, the book offered some trivia about the concepts of the Devil in ancient Christianity. In general, it is a fairly informative book.

The ambience is alright but somehow rang a bit Agatha Christie to me. Which is why it just might be a hit with the ladies. Not to mention the fact that the author is highly cited as feminist. Well, apparently, to look deeper into that I'd have to read another of her books.

There is a more overt feminist slant here than in earlier books. Both heroines are far more capable and resourceful than any of the venal, stupid or criminal males they encounter.

A bit of a Roman Holiday feel in some chapters - such passages in a book are often as good as a trip to the place.

I’d absolutely try more of her in the meantime - perhaps for a nice vacation read this winter. Reading has become an ill affordable pleasure in today’s fast paced world.

In the meantime, this is a book which would go down well with fans of crime fiction who like their corpses in a far from neat condition.

Also, it has a lot of cute family scenes and offers a good representation of women as professionals and men as caring family persons. We still do require enough of this in our diet to change things for the better.

Lastly, I do think I’ve watched a show or two based on her stories.



So do yourself a favour and buy this one now - it’s got goats, for one thing, and is quite evocative of some good old time evil!


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Another Deliciously Dark Nesbo - The Snowman

Hot on the heels of Hole’s The Redeemer, I’m racing through another Jo Nesbo:
By now we know that Harry Hole struggles with an alcohol problem and we’ve seen his efforts to work out in a basement gym.

We are privy to the fact that he had and lost a once in a lifetime love: Rakel. And the Snowman rocks because we get more vicarious drool time via extended peeks at quality time between the two lovelorn love birds. Thrillers, when the author is male, often appear to be thinly cloaked excuses for a male romantic genre. In other words, here is where we women get to glimpse what might be romance from the male point of view.
In The Snowman, we might have a serial killer or such is what I gather and I’m past the page 100 mark. Now, it’s interesting that we seem to require exotic criminals - psychopaths and serial killers and all. Personally, I find the Higashino approach more satisfying - of finding the criminal or crime in the most ordinary, as a chance surrender to a dark instant.
As for other highlights of this very yummy read, we have, interspersed, snippets of what Indians call ‘gyan’ - info/trivia… So far we learned about the mating habits of some kind of seal and about an interesting veterinary procedure using a fascinating cutting and cauterising implement.
It’s so sad to find readers at a library endlessly borrowing an Alistair Maclean or Jack Higgins when Nordic Noir titles gleam outstandingly at hand!

So, if you are one such, loving the crime genre but stuck in a worn out groove, or if you know of anyone wallowing in such stagnation, do just buy The Snowman.

And what better time than with the film being released this year?

   

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A Taylored Read - The Escape by C L Taylor

A most marvellous monsoon wedding anniversary in Goa was much boosted by some very entertaining reads. In fact, I was glad to find a goodly pile of novels and other books in the reception at the Lazy Frog, Carmona.

 All my choices were thrillers. And, besides The Redeemer and others, I had The Escape by C.L. Taylor.  


What impressed me about this novel, for one thing, are the strong friendships between women. Mother and daughter, friends and even strangers. I was almost envious!

Also, though this is not an outstanding book by most measures, the author has managed to offer the portrait of a certain type of man. Men are, by and large, very nice. However, it is possible to find some traits such as portrayed in this story in a scarily large section of the gender. I do hope that will not be taken as any sweeping indictment of the sex. It just happens that there still exists a tendency to not only downplay but, worse, take advantage of certain anxieties a women might have or express. Some 'feminine' moods or mindsets, a section of society might, sadly, readily agree upon as typical. And, alas, there are men who do not seem to be able to restrain themselves from using these manifestations in a woman to help label her unsteady or even unreliable. I realise that this is a most messy paragraph! Basically, it's all too easy to allege that a woman is being governed by her own 'unnatural' urges. The contradiction is that these are considered natural in a woman as opposed to some supposedly calm and rational behaviour in men.

Jo Blackmore becomes a typical case of how terrible it can be when such a thing happens. Now, who's going to believe a thing she says? And, more importantly, who's going to believe her innocence?

There’s the tension of being on the run with a little one in tow but Taylor’s focus and forte relinquish this line and opt instead for some amazingly magical scenes like the one where Jo has just entered the quaint hotel in Ireland and something happens. There is an almost glow to that scene or maybe the Feni at the Seaman’s Nest on the riverside just kicked in.
I sort of had the same experience - the use of the present tense was a bit distressing, if I remember right. But, like that person’s friend, I soon couldn’t put it down.

I’m not sure if I’d deliberately look out for more by C. L. Taylor but it was just right for a rainy holiday read and I see that she hits the right note with many female readers on Goodreads and elsewhere.