Wednesday, 6 February 2013

What are you reading these days?

I am more giving you a heads up than a book review. These are the last three books I have read. I missed out on the last few book reviews from Barrie and her buds. This retirement ain't for chumps!
Book choices are a personal thing. I love murder mysteries, for the most part. These three I would recommend. I prefer female mystery writers, only because, as I learned when I taught creative writing at Beaver Creek Minimum Security Men's Prison in Muskoka, male writers have a bit of a different edge and tolerance for the gruesome. After I dealt with being a caregiver for my late parents, I seemed to have a low tolerance for blood and guts. Just the way it is. That said, the first book is by a maleSwedish author!

1. Faceless Killers, by Henning Mankell
A Kurt Wallender thriller. "Originally published in Swedish as Mördare utan ansikte in 1991 and later translated into German as Mörder ohne Gesicht."
Wallender is the detective, and he is human, with human frailties and addictions.
This writer is excellent. I love reading about a different system of policing. He writes well, the dialogue is very different and honest, unlike the CSI-like artificial Hollywood dramas, this writer writes honestly and well. We will be reading the entire series!

Synopsis From Random House:
"It was a senselessly violent crime: on a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn't present enough problems for the Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman's last word is foreign, leaving the police the one tangible clue they have--and in the process, the match that could inflame Sweden's already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments."

2. If Looks Could Kill, by Kate White.
This was an interesting mystery novel. Kate White is editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. Truly! She has created a feisty young female who writes short stories for a magazine, Bailey Weggins. It is important to write what you know, and Ms. White does so. It's not all fluff, and lipstick. Also, chocolates factor into the story. A good thing for most of us, especially in February!

I quote:
"Meet Bailey Weggins, the thirtysomething, single-again true-crime writer for a leading Manhattan women’s magazine. Smart and savvy, she’s got a sixth sense when it comes to seeing the truth in a story—especially if it’s murder."
Weggins is a lot better dressed than I am, and a young single on the dating scene, but I could identify with her. It wasn't all Sex in the City! It's lighter reading than some, but not as bad as some I've read, bodice ripper it is not! A modern day single woman. A plot that is intriguing, but not terribly complex.

3. The Doula, by Bridget Boland.
"Raised in a funeral home, Caroline Connors saw her mother miscarry when she was just a young girl and realized that she had a calling. Unlike her family, who guide souls on their way out, Caro chose to bring them in. As a doula, Caro spent years providing comfort and emotional support to women in labor."

This intrigued me, as I am a hospice volunteer. Also, my daughter gave birth at home with the assistance of two midwives. If you belong to a book club, the novel includes some discussion questions at the back of it. A good read, there was suspense as we move through the story. I won't give more away than this!

In a way it reminds me of other experts in their field, as they write of their life's work, educating the reader with a good story. A bit didactic, but I liked it. A good writer.
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@Barrie Summy


pattinase (abbott) said...

Mankell is a favorite of mine and I love the Swedish TV versions of his books.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Jen, you picked a good month to get caught up on reviews since it's the fourth anniversary of our book club.

All three books sounds good. Like you, I have a limited tolerance for blood and mayhem, and so prefer female mystery authors, at least in general. These all sound interesting. My library readers group is doing mysteries in March, so good timing for some recommendations!

Crafty Gardener said...

I'm reading a couple of Simon Brett mysteries. I'll check out your recommendations at the local library.

Karen said...

I will be reading the Boland book for sure. I just finished reading Call the Midwife, which is now a TV series! BOMB GIRLS, on Global Wednesday nights is also based on a book, but darned if I can remember the author.
My sister got me onto a "Romance" writer named Jude Deveraux. She has a series of books that I suppose you could call historical fiction. Romance novels aren't my cuppa tea, but I'm enjoying these ones!

Sarah Laurence said...

I’ve heard such good things about Mankell and the quotation makes me want to take another look. Kate White sounds fun. And a book about a doula – you have diverse tastes. All sound intriguing.

Red said...

My favorites are historical fiction. You will know that I have lots of great writers to choose from.
I don't like murder and blood and guts.

Barrie said...

And now I MUST try a Kurt Wallender mystery! I've read the Kate White books. Fun books. Fun voice. I've heard good things about the Doula. If you liked it, as well, I'll probably give it a go. Thanks for joining in, Jenn!