inulro: (Default)
8. Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin

I got this from the library because the last few instalments in the series have been a bit average (ie everything since Exit Music).

Rebus has been made to retire (again) but he's back as a consultant. Malcolm Fox (the anti-Rebus) is still on the force, a bit surplus to requirements. A retired judge is murdered, and a very similar attempt is made on Big Ger Cafferty's (formerly Edinburgh's premier gangster) life. The big players from Glasgow's organised crime world are in Edinburgh and under surveillance. Is it all connected?

I don't know what happened, but Rankin is back on form here. There's an awful lot going on and he's really playing with making the reader wonder what's relevant and what's a red herring. There is less of Rebus doing Drunken Stupid Shit. Malcolm Fox gets beat up. A lot.

Couldn't put it down.
inulro: (Default)
73. Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin

As I am without funds at the moment I should have waited till I could get this from the library, but I scored a ticket to an author event and I very much wanted to meet Ian Rankin, so I got the book and had it signed, and thanked him for turning me back on to crime fiction when my PhD went toilet-wards.

Rebus is back in the regular police, but he's a detective sergeant and Siobhan is his boss, and he's forced to work with Malcolm Fox of The Complaints (Scottish colloquialism for internal affairs).

Still not as good as Dead Souls (the first one I read and as far as I'm concerned, the best), but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
inulro: (Default)
30. A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin

This month's Bibliogoths selection. A re-read. I couldn't remember much about it, and I'd never rated it as one of the stronger books in the Rebus series. I think I liked it better this time around, though.
inulro: (Default)
65. Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker

Third volume in Clive Barker's Abarat series.

I struggled a bit with this, I think because I read the beautifully illustrated versions of the first two volumes of this series, and this time round the library just sent me the plain paperback, and I have difficulty visualising a lot of the things in the Abarat.

My favourite bits are actually when Candy is transported back to her home in Chickentown in our world, I seem to recall that was the case in the other books too.

66. Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin

Rebus is back. I had high expectations, and the book did not disappoint.

I had more thoughts about it at the time, but that was weeks ago.

67. Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Swedish horror from the author of Let the Right One In. As is his style, this book is simultaneously creepy and full of menace right from the beginning, but also a sympathetic portrayal of the aftermath of loss, and of a rural community having to come to terms with changing times. Highly recommended.
inulro: (Default)
77. The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin

Sequel to The Complaints, and I think Rankin's finally hitting some kind of post-Rebus stride.  Maybe.  I read the whole thing in three days, which is usually a good sign.

Something was still missing, but I can't put my finger on it.
inulro: (Default)
Have a lurgy-enhanced book blog; otherwise this is never going to get done.

9. The Complaints by Ian Rankin

This is the second post-Rebus novel from Rankin. Malcolm Fox is a detective with the Complaints and Conduct Department (Scotland's version of Internal Affairs) who is asked to investigate another detective suspected of being a paedophile. The following day, Fox's sister's abusive partner winds up dead and the officer he is investigating is the lead detective on the case. From there it gets really complicated, and it turns out Fox is in turn being investigated by the Grampian Complaints department and has been set up big-time.

This is much better than Doors Open, and indeed is very good, but just doesn't push the same buttons as the Rebus series.

10. Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham

A pretty average bus-reading thriller. I started reading it before the Rankin, thinking "this guy really wants his detective to be Rebus", which was confirmed when the library delivered the Rankin when I was halfway through this. The publicity makes much of the "originality" of the mystery - the murderer is not trying to kill women, he's trying to put them into a "locked-in state" (yes, there's an episode of CSI where that happens) - but aside from that, it's not particularly original.

I'm not saying it's bad, and it does get pretty exciting towards the end.

11. Virgins of Venice: Enclosed Lives and Broken Vows in the Renaissance Convent by Mary Laven

I read about this when it came out and thought it might be interesting, and then a couple years later [ profile] mimmimmim gave it to me when she was gifting people with random books.

This is a study of Venetian convents in the 16th and 17th centuries. Convents in Venice were a perpetual problem. The nobility only married off a small proportion of their offspring in order to keep the population small and the wealth intact, and a large number of women with no vocation were therefore forced into convents. This became more of a problem during and after the Counter-Reformation, when reforms were initiated to make convents more "enclosed" in the light of accusations of corruption from Protestants. This was Europe-wide, but because of the demographic in Venice, especially problematic, where convents were popularly felt to be more corrupt than other places.

Despite the popular perception of Venetian convents as little better than brothels, what the author has found in the extant records is that most of the infractions of the rules of enclosure were women wanting regular human contact - friendships, families, business dealings rather than sexual scandals and some abuses of their positions by priests.

I started off being disappointed that this wasn't the quality of Within the Plantation Household, but actually it's very good and engagingly written. On one level it's a very similar book - hidden history of women in a condition that is very particular to a specific time and place.

The moral of this story is, if you give me a book and it takes me three years to get around to reading it, please do not be offended. It doesn't mean I don't care, it's just that between compulsively buying books, borrowing from the library and friends, and monthly book club obligation, it might disappear off my radar for a while.
inulro: (Default)
18. New Europe by Michael Palin

This is the book that accompanies his latest TV series. It suffers from being brief & episodic in a way that didn't adversely affect the TV series. Still, it's full of fascinating factoids and beautiful pictures, and is more than competently written, so it wasn't a complete waste of time. I might have felt it a waste of time if I've read it closer to watching the series, but as I have a 6-second memory I can't be sure how much overlap there is.

If you're going to choose one or the other, though, I'd pick the DVD.

19. Rebus's Scotland: A Personal Journey by Ian Rankin

I somehow managed to not pick this up right away when it came out (the library didn't get it then, but has it now). Can't say that I missed much. It's Rankin, so it's written incredibly well, but there is very little to it (I read the whole thing yesterday afternoon while stuck in the house with the builders, & it's not like it was quiet and optimal reading conditions round here). As there's quite a lot of social analysis in Rankin's novels, I was expecting something more in depth here, but there is a lot more depth in the books, it works in such a way that if you've read all the books, as I have, there's very little new here, and if you haven't read the books I'm not convinced it would mean much to you.

There's a lot of autobiographical stuff in here but I've seen so many interviews & TV specials on the man that little of that was news to me either.

I can't believe I'm not wholeheartedly recommending something by Ian Rankin, who is one of my favourite living authors. It doesn't suck, but it doesn't add much either.

He refers to Iain Banks's Raw Spirits quite a bit, which I also picked up at the library last week. I think I read them in the wrong order.


inulro: (Default)

June 2017

4567 8910
111213 14151617
18192021 222324


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 08:38 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios