Saturday, 2 February 2019

January's Reading

As well as the album's I've written about elsewhere, I've also managed to finish three books this month.

I've been a fan of Peter Robinson's DCI Banks novels  (and his other work too) for a number of years, and I've recently finished the 23rd of the Banks series, When The Music's Over. Banks has recently received his promotion to Detective Superintendent, but he doesn't let that get too much in the way of investigating crime, though in this instance it's an old crime allegedly perpetrated by a TV celebrity. Running alongside is his colleague Annie Cabbot's chasing after an Asian grooming gang. (Where does he get his ideas from...?) The stories run very well in parallel, and eventually reach suitable conclusions, and the characterisations are as strong as ever. Always an entertaining read.

Rachel Abbot made her name over recent years as a self-published author on Amazon, and her 6 novels to date (that I have read - there are a couple of more recent ones that have still to reach the top of my pile...) have as their focus the Mancunian DCI Tom Douglas. The Sixth Window also deals with grooming and sexual exploitation, and works very well on a psychological rather than a police procedural level. It doesn't disappoint.

Most recently read was the third in a collection by the renowned novelist, Iain Banks. I read The Crow Road a few years ago, and was quite impressed, and when I found this collection of three of his other novels I thought I would give them a go. The Wasp Factory was his debut, and is quite weird, but engaging, touching on some interesting psychological issues. The Bridge is a strange story: essentially a dream by a man rendered unconscious by a motor accident, as he struggles to regain consciousness, it again touches on psychological themes. I didn't find this one as accessible as the first, but stuck with it, before taking a break. I returned to the anthology towards the end of last month for the third story, Espedair Street, which chronicles the disintegrating life of a one-time rock star, coming to terms with loneliness, loss and what might have been had he not had his 'big break' some 12 years ago. I must say that of the three stories I found this one the most engaging, and the most 'un-put-down-able'.

I am continuing to trudge through Vikram Seth's monumental 1,500 page tome 'A Suitable Boy', which is taking some doing, but which I hope to finish this month, but I may look elsewhere for some light relief as well...

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