Thursday, April 26, 2018

#23: Tangerine by Christine Mangan

In the 1950s, two college roommates fall out after a tragedy; sometime later, they are reunited in Tangiers, with equally troubling results in Chrstine Mangan's debut thriller Tangerine.

This novel features not one but two unreliable narrators, alternating chapters, and their complicated personal lives and relationships spool out throughout, keeping the reader guessing to everyone's motivations almost to the very end.

This novel reminded me a lot of a gender-bent version of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley but there is not doubt that Mangan is familiar with Sebastien Japrisot's novels A Trap for Cinderella and The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a GunTangerine compares favorably to these novels and definitely lives in the same world.

This was a great start to Mangan's career and I look forward to her next novel.

I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library and read it quickly.

Monday, April 23, 2018

#22: The Resurrection Casket by Justin Richards

The Doctor and his companion Rose end up stranded in a section of space where technology doesn't work, and suddenly find themselves at odds with steam-driven robot buccaneers in search of a cosmic pirate treasure in Justin Richards' The Resurrection Casket, featuring characters from the long-running Doctor Who show.

If the idea of David Tennant's version of The Doctor battling robot pirates is very appealing to you, not much more needs to be said.  All other readers will find an amiable enough science fiction story with obvious allusions to Treasure Island.

I pick up a Doctor Who novel from time to time and find them by and large agreeable, even more so to fans.  I listened to this one on audiobook, with value added by David Tennant as the narrator.

I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library and listened to the whole thing on a drive to Chicago.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

#21: The Man Who Shot "The Kid" by Merle Constiner

A lawman is mistaken for an outlaw by a crooked sheriff, and decides to go along with it to see what might happen next in Merle Constiner's The Man Who Shot "The Kid."

An odd western title if there ever was one, but Constiner is a steady western scribe who I have read when I find him over the years.

What happens next is our protagonist gets mixed up in a range war, and in a tempestuous near-romance with a fiery woman whose cattle spread is at the center of it.

A nicely-done western, helped a lot with heavy doses of laconic humor, as the undercover sheriff (whose motivations to uphold the ruse seem agreeably murky throughout) meets all kinds of colorful characters in his journey to find out the truth.

An enjoyable, quick read, and on the other side of an Ace Double called The Skull Riders which also features a range war.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

#20: You WIll Know Me by Megan Abbott

A teen gymnast is on the verge of going to the next level when a coach's boyfriend is killed in a mysterious hit-and-run, throwing a wrench into everyone's plans, in Megan Abbott's You Will Know Me.

This suspense novel is narrated by the mother of the young gymnast, who begins to think both her husband and her daughter know a little too much about what happened. 

I think readers will see the ending coming, but the tension ratchets, ratchets, and ratchets throughout.

Good characterizations, and understanding of family dynamics, add value to a nail-biting story.  I will look for more from Megan Abbott.

I listened to this on audiobook on loan from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library, and the storytelling benefits from a good reading by Lauren Fortgang.  Worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#19: The Skull Riders by Dean Owen

A ranch baron dies, and suddenly a range war brews up, casting a reluctant gun-hand into the center of it in Dean Owen's The Skull Riders.

Owen was Dudley Dean McGaughy, who appears to have written a lot across multiple genres using multiple names (most a variation of his real name).  

This is a pretty standard oater without many surprises, but it is fast-moving and has plenty of action as well as a splash of frontier romance.

I got this in a big lot of Ace Doubles, with the oddly-named The Man Who Shot "The Kid" on the reverse side.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

#18: A Girl in Exile by Ismail Kadare

A playwright in Communist Albania falls under scrutiny when his autograph ends up at the center of a mysterious case in Ismail Kadare's A Girl in Exile.

A young woman who recently died, and whose family was out of favor politically, had the signed book.  Her friend reaches out to the playwright, with far-reaching consequences.

This recent work is the first novel I have read by Kadare, who remains a towering figure in the history of Albanian literature.  It is both a stark portrayal of life in an oppressive state as well as a sometimes dreamlike story with fantasy elements.

Solid, literate novel of interest to those who wonder about life in a communist regime; complicated relationships add value.

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

Saturday, April 7, 2018

#17: The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly

Long-time, hard-nosed LA detective Harry Bosch was forced into retirement, and now splits his time as a volunteer in a small-town police force as well as P.I. work; when both suddenly heat up with explosive cases, he has his hands full in Michael Connelly's The Wrong Side of Goodbye.

Connelly has written one of the great contemporary police procedural series, and it continues to grow and change with time for readers who have stuck with it. 

In this one, he helps a beleaguered police squad catch a serial rapist called The Screencutter; at the same time, a rich, elderly man decides to see if he has any living heirs, but dies abruptly after.  Both of these cases start to cut very close to home as the story rockets to its double finale.

The Wrong Side of Goodbye is a pretty straightforward entry, and is accessible for new readers.  Longtime fans will still find plenty to enjoy.

I checked this out from the New Castle-Henry County Public Library on audiobook, with a good read from Titus Welliver.