Tonsolitis on the run now, feeling better and about time I did a bit of book reviewing methinks. The antibiotics I am taking are incredibly strong and I keep keeling over and falling asleep which is not conducive to clear thinking. However, the books are piling up so here I go.
I like these books. They can be a bit predictible at times and there is no wild excitement about them, but the writing and plotting are good, the narrative nicely paced and the setting and the background are described so well the reader can almost feel as if they are there, and usually, shivering...
"Route 1 crossed the Machias River............where a torrent of coffee coloured water plunged down a steep terrac of granite shelves, dropping from one swirling pool to the next. It was so cold that the waterfall had partially frozen, forming a jagged crust of ice along the edges and a coating of rim on everything else from the frozen spray. Long icicles hund from the footbridge strung across the falls"
The Frozen Dead - Bernard Minier. And another book set in the cold and the ice and chilling. A young female pyschiatrist takes up a new post at a secure asylum for the criminally insane. It is up in the mountains isolated in the snow and the wind and houses some of the most infamous serial killers ever known. Diane finds the brooding location and remoteness of the buildings intimidating:
"............up on the slope, two long stone buildings.....a giant's architecture. The same Cyclopean style that was everywhere in the mountains. That's what it was, the lair of a Cyclops. Except that there was not just one Polyphemus deep inside the cave - there were several. Diane was not the type to be easily daunted.....but something about the view there before her made her stomach lurch...........a leap into the unknown"
Unknown to her a gruesome discovery is taking place not far away when the mutiliated corpse of a horse is found near to the asylum. The horse was a favourite of a local millionaire and businessman and he uses his influence to obtain an investigation from Commandant Servaz, a cop from Toulouse, who simply cannot believe he is there to deal with a dead animal. However, the DNA from one of the most notorious inmates of the asylum is found on the corpse and within a few days the first murder takes place.
This is a debut novel by this author I found it pretty riveting reading. Reader taken nicely along various blind alleys and made to feel completely lost and puzzled until the ending reveals all. An exellent addition to the crime genre and I await Minier's follow up with great interest.
The Sacrificial Man - Ruth Dugdall. I read this author's previous book The Woman before Me and thought it very good. It introduced us to probation officer Cate Austin and had a twist at the end that totally took me by surprise. This current title has been sitting on my shelves for some time and decided it was time I read it and when I did wondered why I had left it so long, but difficult to keep up sometimes.
Cate Austin is asked to assess Alice Mariani who is charged with assisted suicide and Cate must recommend a sentence. Alice is beautiful and charismatic and perfectly capable of manipulation so it is very difficult to decide whether she is telling the truth or manouevering to remain out of prison which is a fate which she finds terrifying.
"What I want to say is that suicide is my choice. No-one else is to blame. Man seeks beautiful woman for the journey of a lifetime. Will you help me to die?"
This is the advert on the internet to which Alice responds and she claims that her story is one of misinterpreted love and she was merely fulfilling the wishes of the man who died. I should warn anybody who decides to read A Sacrificial Man that there are parts of it that you might find a bit stomach churning. I found an aspect of the death a bit hard to take, but this aspect of the story leads us into the mind of the one committing suicide and his state of mind.
This is a very bleak book and not a fun read, but it is a compelling one. The narrative flows backwards and forwards between the thoughts of Cate and Alice so that we are privy to what they are thinking and how they view each other, a plot device I always like, and impossible to put down once started, though you may occassionally want to.
Very good indeed. Please note that this is on offer at the moment in the Kindle summer sale at 99p. Incredible bargain.
So three down and more to come.
Thank you for your patience.