Book Diary – April 2013

The X Files – Ruins’ by Kevin J Anderson

51p3LQo16PL._SL500_AA300_Saturday 20th – Sunday 21st April

Taking a break from ‘Parade’s End’ and looking for something a little quicker and easier for a recent weekend in Belgium, I opted for one of the X Files novels I had stashed in the loft.

My expectations were pretty low – the previous book I had read in the series, Goblins, was mediocre to say the least – but this comfortably exceeded them. It bowled along at a decent pace, had the Mulder/Scully banter just right, had a decent plot with all the right X Files elements, and didn’t outstay its welcome. It had a similar premise to ‘MAMista’ which I hated last year, and was much better, which shows how badly wrong Len Deighton got it.

‘The Informer’ by Akimitsu Takagi

Monday 29th April – Tuesday 7th May

Having paused ‘Parade’s End’ I decided to start working my way through some of my Christmas presents. This, from Emma, is one of the few translated works from Akimitsu Takagi, whose ‘Tattoo Murder Case’ I read in January 2012.

As with the previous book, the story was a little dated but that shouldn’t really be held against it. In some ways the primness gave a veneer of authenticity to the story, set in 1960s Japan.

The plot was good, helped no doubt by the fact that it was based on a true story. I was kept guessing until the end, though I think I noticed a couple of errors in the story towards the end – while I did have a little bit of a struggle keeping track of all the Japanese names, I am pretty sure that a new character was introduced in the explanation less than three pages from the end of the story.


Book diary – January 2012

‘The Troubled Man’ by Henning Mankell

Friday 31st December 2011 – Friday 6th January 2012

The last of Henning Mankell’s Inspector Wallander series, and one of the best.

‘The Tattoo Murder Case’ by Akimitsu Takagi

Friday 6th January 2012 – Saturday 14th January 2012

A very interesting story. It took a little while to really grab me, and the prim prose combined with a couple of rather contrived plot points stopped it being a great book, but I will certainly read another Akimitsu Takagi if I can get hold of one cheaply.

‘The Cut’ by George Pelecanos

Saturday 14th January – Friday 20th January

This is George Pelecanos’s latest novel, and follows a format. As always, very readable, but the end felt a little half-hearted and predictable. It’s not that I don’t enjoy GP’s books, I just want one which doesn’t end in a shootout in which everyone gets just about what they deserve.

 ‘Mustn’t Grumble – In Search Of England And The English’ by Joe Bennett

Friday 20th January – Saturday 28th January

This was a Christmas present from the mothership, and, if I’m being totally honest, a book I probably wouldn’t have chosen for myself. However, I enjoyed it, found it very readable and would read another of the author’s books. In essence it is an English Bill Bryson. Joe Bennett has returned to England after a couple of decades in New Zealand and is going ‘in search of England’. Along the way he discovers how England is changing and makes some very astute and thought-provoking observations. My only real criticism would be that the book ends very suddenly.

‘Shoedog’ by George Pelecanos

Saturday 28th January – Tuesday 31st January

The first standalone George Pelecanos novel, and I would go so far as to say one of his best, if not the best. It is only 198 pages – probably explaining how I read it in 3 days – but is more lean and concise than some of his later books (this one is from way back in 1994) which does it no harm at all. It bowls along at a really good pace, and yet contains all of the usual details of character and place. This book was intended to last a little longer, and kick off ‘George Pelecanos Month’ which involved me reading ‘Shoedog’, ‘Drama City’, ‘The Turnaround’ and his latest, only-just-published novel, ‘What It Was’ throughout February. Depending on my progress, it might turn into ‘George Pelecanos Fortnight’.