Have been feeling a bit rubbish this week so apologies for lack of posting. I am falling behind with reviews so am doing a catch up to get me back on track.
First up Fatal Frost - James Henry. The original author of the Frost books, R D Wingfield, died a year or so ago, the TV series has come to an end though it is endlessly repeated on one of the digital channels and yet here we have a new Frost story. This continuing of a 'brand' name seems to be following in a new tradition of keeping a character before the public; Dick Francis's horse books being the first which comes to mind, then Lord Peter Wimsey and James Bond. As you know, I have mixed feelings about this and so was a bit dubious about the reincarnation of Jack Frost. However, I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. It is written in the style of the original author, the characters are all there, the irreverent and terminally disorganised and untidy Jack, the pompous Inspector Mullet and it rattles along nicely.
The story is set in May 1982 and if I have one criticism to make it is that the author rather hammers this home with frequent references to the Falklands War (how long ago this all seems now), Rothmans cigarettes, Bejam carrier bags (I remember Bejam well!) and the fact that a black policeman arriving in Denton is viewed with suspicion and alarm. These constant reminders got slightly irritating after a while as if James Henry thought it was about time he bunged another one in.
But the plot is good - a spate of local burglaries, two or three murders, one which has a link with black magic and a dollop of humour along the way.
I shall be more than happy to read more of these Frost stories as I think the author (I gather James Henry is, in fact, two people) has got them just about right.
Ninepins - Rosy Thornton. I very much enjoyed this author's last book which I reviewed here. That one was set in France and could not be more different to her latest which is set in the Fens of Cambridgeshire. Divorcee Laura lives along with her twelve year old daughter Beth in an old toll house known as Ninepins. She rents out the pump house to garner some much needed extra income, usually to students, but this year she has been persuaded to take in seventeen year old Willow, who has spent most of her life in care as her mother has mental and drug issues and is in an institution. Laure is rather doubtful of taking her but is reassured by Willow's social worker, Vince who is sure it will work out well.
Beth is having problems at school, becoming involved with trouble makers who are influencing her and Laura is distressed at the lack of communication between herself and her once sunny natured daughter. She is also worried about Willow who, it seems, was once guilty of arson and her influence on Beth.
This could not be more different in style and character than Tapestry of Love and yet I enjoyed it just as much. I have always found the Fens rather uncompromising and their vastness slightly off putting though I admit they have a beauty all of their own.
"The earth of the dykes and the garden and fields baked hard and began to split and crack. Instead of the water rising up to reclaim the land as it had in the autumn, now the artificial land seemed to shrink and recede, back towards the mire from which it had come"
There is a lurking feeling of tension hovering throughout the book, the feeling that any moment something could happen and, of course, it does. But there is a twist at the end which is ratehr unexpected which shows Willow in a better light than hitherto.
I do like Rosy Thornton's writing, the narrative flows beautifully and each book seems to have a different slant so the reader does not know what to expect. Keeps the reader on their toes.
Justice - Karen Robards. Spent a day in bed this week (as I said was feeling a bit rubbish) and this book arrived in the morning and was perfect reading for the day. Jessica Ford was the only witness to the First Lady of the United States being killed in suspicious circumstances and she has been in hiding ever since with a new name and identity.
Promising start but the book is very much of the pot boiler variety. Despite being in hiding she ends up in court in a high profile rape case involving a Senator and a powerful family and ends up with her face plastered all over the papers. Subsequently, an attempt is made to kill her and she is only saved at the last minute by the intervention of Mark Ryan, an agent who is guarding her and with whom she enjoyed a brief relationship. She is also the victim of an attempted drowning from which she is also rescued by Mark and then finally is kidnapped and dumped in the boot of a car and taken off to be got rid of and lo and behold Mark turns up again.
The whole book is a farrago of nonsense, the plot has holes in it wide enough to drive a lorry through and we never learn why the First Lady died, why her husband resigned soon after and what is the great secret that only Jessica and Mark know that they have to keep quiet about?
But, as I said, perfect reading when you are in bed and not feeling up to reading anything with any intellect at all.
Well, feel better now I have a few less on the TBR pile and back to watching the Test Match.