Sunday, November 26, 2017

#74: The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason

During World War II, in an Iceland awash in Allied troops, a young woman known to date soldiers is found murdered; many years later, an elderly man is killed in his bed, with threads tying back to that long-ago unsolved case in Arnaldur Indridason's The Shadow District.

The Shadow District is the first in a new series from Indridason.  His novels about morose Reykjavik cop Erlendur are noteworthy (start with Jar City and keep reading), but these have a totally different vibe, with a military police investigation in the 40s and a contemporary storyline following a recently retired police detective who gets an itch to solve this cold case.

The parallel timelines are interesting, especially if you aren't aware of Iceland's role in World War II (which I wasn't).

This is a very solid police procedural from one of my favorite Scandinavian authors.  I will look for the next in this series.

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

Thursday, November 9, 2017

#73: Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner

An upper-class New York marriage has seen better days, but is being held together by the shared love of a daughter; when outside forces threaten the young woman, the whole family is changed in Matthew Weiner's slender study Heather, the Totality.

Weiner is best known as the creator of the television show Mad Men as well as a turn as a writer on The Sopranos.  This has a splash of both, but I would wager that Weiner has made a close read of Philip Roth and John Updike at some point in his life. 

Much as Mad Men mirrored a time and place, Heather, the Totality reminds me of the styling of both Roth and Updike.  Fans of those writers will enjoy this piece, whether they have heard of Weiner's other work or not (somehow).

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

#72: Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishigiro puts together a masterful collection of short stories, lightly threaded together with themes of music, of evening, of relationships and friendships on the wane, in Nocturnes.

If you have never read Ishigiro, chances are you've seen a movie based on one of his books, such as The Remains of the Day or Never Let Me Go; other titles include The Buried Giant and When We Were Orphans.

This is a great way to dip into Ishigiro's writing, catching little glimpses of unraveling lives, from a visitor inadvertently crashing his friend's fractured marriage, to a never-was musician having a midnight adventure with a bigger star, to a fading singer wanting to serenade his wife one more time.

The storytelling was really elevated by an excellent audiobook version I listened to, with different readers doing each story.

I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library in New Castle, Indiana and listened to most of it on a long drive back and forth to Michigan.

Friday, November 3, 2017

#71: Death on the Bozeman by Paul Bedford

Tough-minded western has three former Confederate soldiers, now traveling companions, clashing with the Army, hostile Indians, and a ruthless gun-hand called Slade in Paul Bedford's Death on the Bozeman.

Death on the Bozeman is a sprawling and brawling western, written in a classic style but with contemporary sensibilities in violence and situations.  An appearance by the real-life Jim Bridger adds value.

Black Horse Westerns has done a good job in putting out a steady diet of these type of western stories for many years.  I enjoyed this outing by Paul Bedford and will look for more from him.

I got this for my beloved Kindle and read it quickly.