Tag Archives: Jo Nesbo

[TSS] Recently Read

I’ve been busy with work deadlines lately, but looking back on what I’ve been reading, it seems audiobooks have come to the rescue! With audiobooks, I’m never “too tired to read”, so it’s been a great way to keep reading despite putting in loads of work hours every day towards my deadlines.

One of my reading resolutions this year is to keep track of what I’ve been reading. In past years I haven’t been that diligent, despite various Goodreads and Pinterest lists. So I thought for today’s Sunday Salon, I’d post an update as to what I’ve recently read.

police by jo nesboPolice, by Jo Nesbo. The latest instalment (#10) in the Harry Hole series, when my copy arrived at the library, I knew I had to drop everything to read it. I took a day off working on my deadlines, and devoured this one. The gist of the plot: someone is murdering police officers at the sites of old unsolved murders in which the officers were involved in investigating, but there’s a whole lot more going on which I really can’t mention for fear of spoilers. Lots and lots of twists, right down to the very end. This was one very enjoyable, suspenseful read.
no mans nightingale by ruth rendellNo Man’s Nightingale, by Ruth Rendell. In this latest instalment of the Wexford series, former Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford is settling into retirement, working on his goal of reading all volumes of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. When Kingsmarkham vicar Sarah Hussein is murdered, though, Wexford is glad to have Detective Inspector Mike Burden pull him into a consulting role in the investigation. There’s a flaw in one of the premises Rendell uses (she states that two brown-eyed parents cannot have a blue-eyed child, which is not true, as two brown-eyed parents both having a recessive blue eye gene can have a blue-eyed child) so if errors like this annoy you, this might put you off a bit. Overall, though, it was an enjoyable read with a nice twist at the end.
the invisible code by christopher fowlerThe Invisible Code, by Christopher Fowler. In this latest instalment of the Peculiar Crimes Unit series, the elderly detective duo of Bryant and May are asked by their old adversary, Oskar Kasavian, to find out why Oskar’s beautiful young wife has been behaving in such an odd and bizarre way. As always with this series, there are many strange goings-on, including an unexplainable murder and codes and symbols, plus lots of nice twists. Lots of laugh out loud moments, too. I started this one in print format, but finished up by listening to the audio version narrated by Tim Goodman, who did a great job.
bryant and may off the rails by christopher fowlerBryant and May Off the Rails, by Christopher Fowler. It seems I’m working backwards through this series, after having read most of the earlier books back to back quite a few years ago.  The Peculiar Crimes Unit has arrested the murderous Mr. Fox, only to have him break out, killing one of their own in the process. The chase is on, and we are lead through the shadowy corners of the London Underground. As always with the quirky Bryant and May detective duo, there are some very complicated twists and skillfully-placed laughs. I did this one entirely in audio, narrated by Tim Goodman, who once again does a great job with Bryant and May.
killer by jonathan kellermanKiller, by Jonathan Kellerman. It was good to see Alex Delaware back in form in this latest instalment of the series. Things start out slower than they do in most of the other books in the series, with Alex embroiled in a probate case involving the fight between two sisters for the custody of one sister’s child. But soon enough, there’s a murder, and Alex works with his old friend Detective Milo Sturgis to unravel the clues. This one’s not as intricately plotted as some of the older books, and the unveiling of “whodunnit” is a little bit out of the blue, but still it was an enjoyable read.
blood and circuses by kerry greenwoodBlood and Circuses, by Kerry Greenwood. In this earlier book (#6) in Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series, someone’s been sabotaging Farrell’s Circus, and Phryne leaves behind the comforts of life, her title and her money in order to go undercover to find out why. Throw in the murder of a circus performer and some nasty characters from the Melbourne underworld, and Phryne’s in for an interesting ride. As usual with the Phryne Fisher series, there are sex scenes, although perhaps a little less than in some of the later books in the series. I could have done without the sex scenes myself, but they didn’t wreck my enjoyment of the book. I listened to this one in audio, narrated by the delightful Stephanie Daniel.
bryant and may on the looseBryant and May on the Loose, by Christopher Fowler. I continued to move backwards through the series with Bryant and May on the Loose (#7 in the series) in audio, narrated excellently once again by Tim Goodman, although this one was a reread. I was enjoying the audio versions so much, I decided to get this one, and then as I started listening, I realized I’d read the book before – but long enough ago, I didn’t recall how things ended.  In this book, #7 in the series, the Peculiar Crimes Unit has been disbanded despite their success in solving the bizarre crimes that have come their way in the past. But the discovery of a headless corpse by one of the unit’s members gives them the chance to persuade the Home Office to change its mind – as long as they can solve the case in a week. To complicate matters, there have also been a number of bizarre sightings of a half-man half-stag creature with knives for antlers who has been carrying off young women. Intricately plotted with lots of twists, this was another enjoyable listen.
the memory of blood by christopher fowlerThe Memory of Blood, by Christopher Fowler. I obviously have no problems reading a series out of order! This one is #9 in the series, but yes, I listened to this one after listening to Bryant and May on the Loose above. This one involves a locked room mystery: the young son of a theatre owner is, seemingly impossibly, killed in his bedroom during a cast party held in his father’s home. The only clue is a life-size puppet of Mr. Punch which the killer has left behind. Along with yet another complicated plot, there’s quite a bit of history of the origins of Punch and Judy, but the information is weaved seamlessly into the plot. Another fun and enjoyable listen!

So that’s what I’ve read so far in the past four weeks or so. I see now that I’ve been focused exclusively on mysteries, but I’m breaking the trend right now, as I’m a currently a third of the way into Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

What have you been reading lately? If you’ve read any of the books on my recently read list, what did you think of them?

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.

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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.

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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!