I finally feel back to normal and so am embarking on a catch up as I am way behind with my book reviews. I have had a restful week with The Leg up and staggering around on walks to keep on the move and I think, fingers crossed, that it is improving. So here goes with my reading for the last week.
Playing with Fire - Tess Gerritsen. When I first discovered this author it was her early stand alone books which were a mixture of crime/romance and I found them very readable and really enjoyed them. Then of course came the Rizzoli and Isles series in which she took a giant step up, in my opinion anyway. The relationship between the detective and the forensic examiner made for enthralling reading (pity the TV series is so totally naff) and my first disappointed reaction when I found out that this was not the next one in the series soon dissipated when I started reading.
Julia, a violinist is in Rome and looking for presents to take home to her husband and three year old daughter Lily. She enters an old antique shop and is intrigued by an old book of music "the piece is unfamiliar, a melody that my fingers are already itching to play". A loose sheet falls out and flutters to the floor. It is a sheet of manuscript paper and the title is Incendio composed by L Todesco.
Julia hears the notes in her head and realises she must have this music.
She returns home and decides to try to play the music "the melody twists and turns and she struggles to stay in tune.....the music builds to a frenzy. A small hand grasps my leg. I look down and Lily stares up at me her eyes clear as turquoise water...even as I wrench the garden tool from her bloody hand not a ripple disturbs her calm blue eyes. Her bare feet have tracked footprints across the patio flagstone....I follow back to the source of blood and that's when I start screaming"
OK no more. I hope I have whetted your appetite. This piece of music has an effect on all who hear it and as Julia determines to find out who the composer is we are taken back to war time in Italy and the expulsion of the Jews from Venice and we learn in what awful circumstances this waltz was written.
Brilliant and a twist at the end that totally took me by surprise.
Please note this is not published in the UK until November.
Safe House - Chris Ewan. I have read this author's previous books all about the Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam, the Good Thief's Guide to Paris etc and have enjoyed their lightheartedness and witty writing though they do tend to get a bit complicated. This one was recommended by several on line readers to I downloaded it and found, as I did with the others, that it all starts off well and then by the end there are so many ins and outs you want to tear your hair out. Fun though.
Thornfield Hall - Jane Stubbs. No way could I resist this one being Jane Eyre told from the viewpoint of Mrs Fairfax, Mr Rochester's housekeeper. I was not sure if I would like it but yes I did and found that I could not put it down. Not sensationalist at all but giving the reader a totally different slant on the Mad Woman in the Attic and all very cleverly done and woven into the story without changing events or characters. Mrs Fairfax is pretty hard on Mr Rochester and his treatment of Bertha and not overly keen on Jane either which makes it really interesting. Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books of all time and I was ready to criticise but I cannot. This is very good indeed. Recommended. Shame the cover has the usual headless woman on it.....
I have posted about Richmal Crompton and the reissue of her adult fiction by Bello and I have read two of these: Caroline and the Old Man's Birthday. As ever, so readable and draw you in totally. I will be reviewing these fully in the next edition of Shiny New Books and will post the link later on in the autumn. I can say now though that I really urge you to try them.
I have also been re-reading some Richmal Crompton titles I have on my shelves, discovered over the years, all old and battered and enjoyed them all over again. With such a wide output the same characters tend to pop up on a regular basis and some are better than others, but they are never less than immensely enjoyable.
Ok that is it for today. More to write about later on in the week including the new Vera Stanhope by Ann Cleeves.