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A Mysterious Week (during which I read Jo Nesbo, Robert Crais and Deborah Crombie)

There’s one side benefit of the flu – there’s lots of time for reading. As a result, I had a marvelous reading week last week – it’s amazing how many books you can read while soothing your child’s fevered brow!

The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo

The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo

I’m pleased that I finally got around to reading Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman. It’s been on my TBR list for a while, and I’ve read so many reviews raving about it. What a great read – so many twists!

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.

Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.

I did have my suspicions about who the murderer was, but they were just mild suspicions; I was never sure. There were so many questions I didn’t have answers for. I like reading mysteries where I feel this way – at the end, there’s a sense of “aha! I was on the right track”, but you don’t lose any of the enjoyment of the read the way you do if the solution is so obvious to everyone but the main detective character. Very enjoyable read.

The Elvis Cole Series, by Robert Crais

I’ve also seen a lot of reviews recently raving about Taken, by Robert Crais. Taken is the latest book in the Elvis Cole series, and while the reviews had me eager to read the book, many of the reviewers talked about how the book was very much about the relationship between Elvis Cole and Joe Pike.

Since I’d never read any of the books in the series, I thought it might be a good idea to read some of the earlier books first; it just seemed to me that Taken would have even more impact if I was already familiar with the characters.

So last week I read:

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And I’m very glad I did. The series reminds me a little of Robert Parker’s Spencer series, but grittier, with harder, darker edges.

I started with Stalking the Angel, the second book in the series, and enjoyed it thoroughly; it was a little slow to start but Elvis Cole is such an engaging character I found myself willing to put up with the slow start.

Bradley Warren has lost a very valuable thirteenth-century Japanese manuscript, the Hagakure, and hires Elvis Cole to recover it. Elvis and Joe Pike search through Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo and the nest of the notorious Japanese mafia, known as the yakuza.

Next up was The Last Detective, which definitely started off with a bang. It was an intriguing storyline, and even though I figured out what was happening before Cole and Pike did, that didn’t make the read any less enjoyable.

P.I. Elvis Cole’s relationship with attorney Lucy Chenier is strained. Then the unthinkable happens. While Lucy is away on business and her ten-year-old son Ben is staying with Elvis, the boy vanishes without a trace. When the kidnappers call, it’s not for ransom, but for a promise to punish Cole for past sins he claims he didn’t commit. With the LAPD wrestling over the case, and the boy’s estranged father attempting to take control of the investigation, Cole vows to find Ben first. But Cole’s partner, Joe Pike, knows more about this case than he has said. Pike lives in a world where dangerous men commit crimes beyond all reckoning. Now, one of those men is alive and well in L.A.—and calling Elvis Cole to war. . . .

From there I read The Monkey’s Raincoat, the first book in the series (as you can see, I have no problems reading a series out of order …!). Another very enjoyable read. I particularly liked witnessing Ellen Lang’s transformation.

Ellen Lang walks into Cole’s Disney-Deco office and hires Elvis to find her husband and son. Elvis and Joe search through Hollywood leads them to a world of drugs, sex and murder.

The best thing about coming in on a long-running series late in the game is having a whole lot of good reading ahead of you. Right now, Lullaby Town, L.A. Requiem and Free Fall are waiting for me on the Overdrive app on my iPad.

The Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Series, by Deborah Crombie

All that downtime also gave me a chance to catch up on the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Scotland Yard series by Deborah Crombie.


In No Mark Upon Her, the latest in the series, the victim is Rebecca Meredith, a high-ranking Met officer who’s also making a comeback as a rower in contention for the next Olympic games. As always in this series, there are several enjoyable twists, and the secondary characters are as fully fleshed as the main series characters.


I then turned to Water Like a Stone, an older book in the series, in which Kincaid and James take their blended family to spend Christmas with Kincaid’s parents, in the town of Nantwich. The mystery begins with the discovery of an infant’s mummified corpse within the walls of a building that Kincaid’s sister is renovating. Another murder occurs, and Kincaid and James find themselves assisting the local police in putting together all the pieces.

Both reads were very satisfactory, and I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series that are still on my TBR.

So that was my “mysterious week” (of reading) (well, actually, it was more like ten days). Not that I’d welcome the flu again, but at least there was a silver lining!