Friday, February 27, 2015

#8: Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

A cop killer is stalking the mean streets of 70s Atlanta, setting two damaged police officers--one, a young woman from a family of hard-living cops, the other a rookie who joined the force after her husband was killed in Viet Nam--loose on the streets to catch a killer in Karin Slaughter's Cop Town.

This is a tough, fast-moving procedural with an interesting setting--a racist, sexist southern city where the cops solve problems with nightsticks and fists and due process is for sissies.  How these two women cope with male counterparts on both sides of the law, and problems in their own family, add to the storytelling as the two protagonists learn that the killer has fingerprints on both of their lives.

This is the first novel I read from Slaughter and enjoyed it quite a bit.  I checked this out from the Farmland Public Library in Farmland, Indiana.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

#7: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

After a man-made virus sweeps across the planet, we follow the lives of two survivors--a young woman locked in a sex club, and an older woman hiding out in a spa--as they learn how to survive in a transformed world in Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood.

The Year of the Flood is the follow-up to Atwood's acclaimed Oryx and Crake, with the same setting and several of the same characters threaded throughout.  Of interest to readers of Oryx and Crake is the fact that the sequel solves the mystery shown in the closing pages of the first novel.

For general readers, however, I think it is still pretty interesting, with two new main characters, and how their paths have crossed over time, playing out in its story.  Overall not as emotionally resonant as Oryx and Crake, but worthwhile for fans.

If you read this book, I would suggest the audiobook version that I enjoyed (on loan from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond Indiana) as it featured three strong voices, and some musical interludes, a good production overall.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

#6: Black Unicorn by Tanith Lee

A young girl lives with her sorceress mother in a fortified castle deep in a desert, and longs for excitement; but she finds more than she bargained for when she stumbles upon a unicorn skeleton in Tanith Lee's Black Unicorn.

I have always wanted to try Tanith Lee, and this year of reading only women authors seemed like a good time to start.  Thus I grabbed a lot of her various books from ebay at a goodbye price to try them out.

This is a funny, exciting high fantasy story mostly for young adults, with neat world-building and interesting twists and turns.  It hits all the right beats and is accessible to teen and adult readers.

This lot included the sequel, Gold Unicorn, which I can see myself tucking into before long.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

#5: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

A Hollywood actor on the wane dies of a heart attack on stage during a performance of King Lear in Toronto; that very night, patient zero of a devastating flu virus lands at the airport.  How these events intersect, and reverberate for decades to come, is the crux of Emily St John Mandel's Station Eleven.

This is a tremendous read with toes dipped in both the pulp and literary pools.  On the one hand, we have the life of the fading Hollywood actor, surrounded by a constellation of ex-wives, estranged kids, and fallen friendships; meanwhile, twenty-five years distant, the ragged survivors of the deadly flu criss-cross a devastated landscape bringing culture to small outposts with performances of Shakespeare and music.  When this band of artists cross a sociopathic cult leader they have to rely on more than monologues, with tragic results.

It seems as if every year I find a book I would recommend to anyone who enjoys reading, and so far for 2015 it is Station Eleven.  A very strong outing and recommended.

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

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

#4: Five by Ursula Archer

Salzburg police come across a murdered woman with GPS coordinates crudely tattooed on her feet, and quickly find themselves in a cat-and-mouse game with a serial killer in Ursula Archer's Five.

Archer's thriller is interesting in multiple ways.  First, it takes place in Austria, whose literature and geography I am not too familiar with;  secondly it involves Geocaching, where hobbyists search for caches based on GPS clues; and thirdly the main detective--going through a painful divorce, and hiding a previous trauma--is an interesting main character.

Five is a speedy read, with lots of interesting elements.  Its downsides--unusually grisly murders, and the whiff of an unlikely romance--do not detract much from the whole.

I borrowed this from the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond Indiana and read it quickly.