Archive for May, 2000

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A Drink Before The War by Dennis Lehane

In books read on May 31, 2000

These are out of context comments, they are drawn from those I made in an email book group discussion...

I agree with Carrie when she says that the book is seen through the eyes of a working class white man so it's only reasonable that it shows more insight into the mind of that man rather than the minds of the black men in the book. We're not in their heads.

When Maddy asked the black/white question in the first half of the book I couldn't answer it because I couldn't figure out which characters were black and which were white. I expect it was mentioned that the politicians were white but I didn't pick up on it. The only character I'd remembered as black was Jenna from when Patrick joked that the reason they were after the cleaning lady for the theft of the documents was because she was black, and the only person I had sussed as white was Patrick, but I wasn't really sure whether that was mentioned or if I was just extrapolating.

In the second half of the book it became a lot clearer to me who was black and who was white, but probably because I was watching for it by then. I have real trouble with books where this kind of thing matters because I tend to tune it all out. In the real world I don't give a toss what colour someone's skin is, so when someone tells me in a book I don't listen either.

I'd say the book gave a better insight into Patrick's mind than it did to the people in the gangs' minds, or Angie's mind, or Jenna's mind, but I think that's just first person writing for you.

No, it wasn't justified to kill Socia. I don't think killing people is justice. Put them through pain and misery and punishment, or something, killing them just seems to be giving them the easy way out.

If they'd needed to take justice into their own hands, I'd have been happier if they'd gone round to kick the * out of Paulson too. Probably not acceptable, but it didn't seem very fair to kill one and leave the law to deal with the other; I'd rather people meted out their own brands of justice consistently if they're going to do it.

I don't like it when authors let the detectives kill the baddies unless the detectives are acting defensively in doing so. It drives me mad when the detective leaves someone to commit suicide too. I like to see justice done, one way or another, and death doesn't strike me as justice.

Purchased on 28th February 2000.

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The Chimney Sweepers Boy by Barbara Vine

In books read on May 29, 2000

I had a great time leading an email book group discussion on this book in July 2000. That means I've got a pile of comments on it as long as something a lot longer than my arm. I just need to get them all out of the archives....

Purchased on 3rd May 2000.

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Every Breath You Take by Michelle Spring

In books read on May 28, 2000

A British PI I've been looking forward to for a while. I wasn't terribly impressed, I found it a bit cold and clinical and none of the characters really made an impression on me. Nevertheless I'll try the second in the series. Technically sound but lacking excitement.

Purchased on 22nd May 2000.

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Killing The Shadows by Val McDermid

In books read on May 21, 2000

A Place Of Execution was a masterpiece so I was expecting to be disappointed by this follow up. I was only a bit disappointed. McDermid weaves a solid plot and wraps an engaging story around it. A book about a serial killer who is killing writers of serial killer thrillers could have been self centred and full of writerly luvviness, but all the writers here are gloriously flawed characters. You have to wonder who McDermid had in mind when she created each of them! Not as good as a lot of her other stuff, but still pretty good all the same.

(this is a standalone book)

Purchased on 20th May 2000.

Breakfast At Madeleine’s by Matt Witten

In books read on May 13, 2000

The best way to describe this would be as a "who cares who dun it". I didn't get on very well with the main character, I reckon his wife would have made a better detective. Except she didn't figure out what a dumb idiot her husband was. Good writing, tedious characters, can't remember the plot.

(this is book 1 in the jacob burns series)

Purchased on 28th February 2000.

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Musclebound by Liza Cody

In books read on May 11, 2000

I somehow picked the third in the series rather than the first, but this book was ace. Sparklingly bright and original. Tons of brilliant characterisation. Four stars, ones with sparkly bits though.

Purchased on 3rd May 2000.

Right to Remain Silent by Penny Warner

In books read on May 5, 2000

I quite like this light hearted series. Small town newswoman Connor Westphal is deaf which makes all the usual misunderstandings that mysteries pivot on believable. This is the third in the series; it has a good mysterious plot where no strands are left unresolved and mostly real sounding characters. Requisite bits of dumb detective stumbling into danger though.

Purchased on 11th October 2001.

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Provocation by Charlotte Grimshaw

In books read on May 4, 2000

A legal thriller set in Auckland. Very psychological but lacking any kind of mystery. I enjoyed it up to the point where I realised that there was no twist at the end. Disappointing, but I hope she carries on to write better stuff, or at least more mysterious stuff. Not quite my cup of tea.

Purchased on 28th February 2000.