Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#33: Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Alien ships touch down on Earth and depart without making contact, but leave a swath of the planet bizarrely transformed, and littered with unusual objects; now adventurers knows as Stalkers root through this strange zone at their own peril in the Strugatsky Brothers' Roadside Picnic.

This definitive Russian sci-fi novel was later made into the classic Soviet film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky, and both are rewarding in their own ways.  I was not as familiar with the Strugatsky Brothers as, say, Stanislaw Lem, and was glad a friend tipped me off to this novel.

Roadside Picnic is a very thought-provoking sci-fi outing for those who prefer more cerebral science fiction with no easy answers.

I bought this with an Amazon gift card from my birthday and read it quickly.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#32: The Second Deadly Sin by Asa Larsson

A young boy is the sole survivor of what turns out to be a long, connected series of murders, and it's up to the dogged prosecutors and police (including one clever police dog) of the Uppsala law enforcement community to figure out what's going on in Asa Larsson's The Second Deadly Sin.

I am a big fan of Larsson's novels, set in rural Sweden and featuring lawyer Rebecka Martinsson, whose psyche is a little fragile after all that has transpired in her previous adventures.

Larsson writes rich, interesting characters, and depicts vibrant slices of life from her own homeland.  This sometimes stands in stark contrast to the violence and terror that bursts from the pages at unexpected intervals.

These are very solid mysteries, and recommended for those who want a change of venue in their stories.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library and read it quickly.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#31: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

A disturbed young man plows into a line of people waiting on a job fair, and a dogged detective never catches him before heading into retirement; but when the young man begins to intrude in the retiree's life, he gets a second chance in Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes.

King has been poking around in the mystery world lately, and I have been enjoying his new direction.  Unlike some of his other recent thriller attempts, like Joyland, this one contains no supernatural elements at all (perceived or real) and is probably closer styled to a summer blockbuster.

Although I thought some of the characterizations ran hot and cold, the story rockets on a relentless pace, with plenty of suspense and a nerve-racking conclusion that would play well on the big screen.

I think King's fans will enjoy this change of pace, as well as general mystery readers.

I listened to a very good audio book version on loan from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.

Friday, October 3, 2014

#30: Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon

Stalwart Inspector Maigret of the Paris police doggedly hunts Pietr the Latvian, a well-known villain with a knack for slipping out of the grasp of the law, in Georges Simenon's Pietr the Latvian.

This is the first Maigret novel, from 1930, now in re-release from Penguin Books.

Simenon wrote tons of these Maigret novels, and I had never dipped a toe into them until now, thinking this might be a good place to start.  It is a good solid mystery, with load of colorful details about life on the shabby side of the Parisian world, and was interesting enough for me to seek out another one.

I borrowed this from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library and read it quickly.