As I was going through my kindle, looking for something to read that would provide a topic of interest for this evening, I was surprised at how many books I had begun and left unfinished. Someone mentioned in a comment, in someone else's diary, how e-books seem to create this syndrome. Perhaps they do, but I have to confess that I have a few dead tree books staring at me from their neglected shelf on the bookcase. At least they get dusted occasionally, even if unread. But the books on my kindle don't even get that much attention as I shove them into the archives and out of sight.
Tonight I decided to drag some of them out into the light of day, or at least the home page of my kindle, and take another look.
The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch
One of the real disadvantages of an e-book reader is that you can’t just flip to the back cover to learn what the book is about. Yes, you can read about it when you buy it, but when you are a quarter of the way through and are confused it is a pain in the neck to have to connect to the internet and download a precis. I was unclear of the setting, found the first part of the book confusing, and so set it aside. But it is one of those books that haunts me, as I can clearly see the characters and do wonder what happened to them, so I will eventually finish this one.
A historical thriller set in Germany, 1660: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. Whispers and dark memories of witch trials and the women burned at the stake just seventy years earlier still haunt the streets of Schongau. When more children disappear and an orphan boy is found dead—marked by the same tattoo—the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt into chaos.
A Simple Murder by Eleanor Kuhns
I have started this one a couple of times, but got no further that the first few pages. It seemed that something always came up to distract me. As I recall, the Shakers were a short lived cult that believed in celibacy for all members. And they designed a nice line of furniture. This is another story that I want to get back to someday.
Five years ago, while William Rees was still recovering from his stint as a Revolutionary War soldier, his beloved wife died. Devastated, Rees left his son, David, in his sister’s care, fled his Maine farm, and struck out for a tough but emotionally empty life as a traveling weaver. Now, upon returning unexpectedly to his farm, Rees discovers that David has been treated like a serf for years and finally ran away to join a secluded religious sect—the Shakers.
Overwhelmed by guilt and hoping to reconcile with his son, Rees immediately follows David to the Shaker community. But when a young Shaker woman is brutally murdered shortly after Rees’s arrival, Rees finds himself launched into a complicated investigation where the bodies keep multiplying, a tangled web of family connections casts suspicion on everyone, and the beautiful woman on the edge of the Shaker community might be hiding troubling ties to the victims. It quickly becomes clear that in solving Sister Chastity’s murder, Rees may well expose some of the Shaker community’s darkest secrets, not to mention endanger his own life.
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Originally downloaded this one when I was reading mysteries set in the Soviet Union but turned instead to those written by Russians. In any case, this one scared me off in the opening chapter where Tom Rob Smith described the hunting of a house cat by a starving child. It was more that I could handle at the time, but has received such good reviews that it deserves a read.
Starred Review. Set in the Soviet Union in 1953, this stellar debut from British author Smith offers appealing characters, a strong plot and authentic period detail. When war hero Leo Stepanovich Demidov, a rising star in the MGB, the State Security force, is assigned to look into the death of a child, Leo is annoyed, first because this takes him away from a more important case, but, more importantly, because the parents insist the child was murdered. In Stalinist Russia, there's no such thing as murder; the only criminals are those who are enemies of the state. After attempting to curb the violent excesses of his second-in-command, Leo is forced to investigate his own wife, the beautiful Raisa, who's suspected of being an Anglo-American sympathizer. Demoted and exiled from Moscow, Leo stumbles onto more evidence of the child killer. The evocation of the deadly cloud-cuckoo-land of Russia during Stalin's final days will remind many of Gorky Park and Darkness at Noon, but the novel remains Smith's alone, completely original and absolutely satisfying. Rights sold in more than 20 countries.
Dissolution by CJ Sansome
Dissolution is a book I really really want to read. It has been on my kindle since December of 2010 and I have twice read the first few chapters. No idea why it hasn’t been finished yet.
It is England in the year 1537, and Thomas Cromwell is Henry VIII's vicar-general and in the process of dissolving all of the large monastic houses, granting the land to his favorites or the highest bidders. When one of his commissioners is murdered at the monastery in Scarnsea, mired among the marshes of England's south coast, Cromwell sends the hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake and Mark, his young handsome assistant, to solve the mystery. They find that not only has the murder been covered up but also other murders have been covered up as well, and they also find treasonous monks hostile to the king and his assumption of the role of head of the English church. As Shardlake uncovers more unsettling facts, he realizes that his own life is in danger--and solving the mystery takes on a life-or-death importance. Reminiscent of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose (without much of the intellectual discourse), Sansom's first novel will not disappoint fans of historical fiction.
Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia #1) by Deanna Raybourn
It is easy to explain why I haven’t finished this one. At the halfway mark I found that the only action took place on the first page, other than one of the main character’s migraine attack. Apparently there is supposed to be some sexual tension between the widow, Lady Julia Grey, and the migraine suffering detective, Nicholas Brisbane. If so, I totally missed it.
And as much as I liked the fairly eccentric family of our heroine, I had a hard time believing that she would openly discuss with her aunt, her aunt’s sexual relationship with another woman. Not that such relationships did not exist in that era, but people did not discuss them as they did the weather. It felt clumsy and attention grabbing. There were other times that the 21st century sensibilities were attributed to the Edwardian era and each one pulled me out of the story and into present day reality. Not all will feel that way however, and it continues to be a very popular series.
"LET THE WICKED BE ASHAMED, AND LET THEM BE SILENT IN THE GRAVE."Delightful first sentences:
These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.
To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.And there are other tidbits of well written humor throughout the part of the book I read, but not enough to keep me engaged. Fortunately, the Amazon edition only cost $4.85.
Murder Your Darlings (An Algonquin Round Table Mystery #1) by J.J. Murphy
I started this one while my husband was in the hospital and found myself unable to concentrate on it, which is a shame because it started out promising a lot of fun.
One morning legendary wit Dorothy Parker discovers someone under Manhattan's famed Algonquin Round Table. A little early for a passed out drunk, isn't it? But he's not dead drunk, just dead. When a charming writer from Mississippi named Billy Faulkner becomes a suspect in the murder, Dorothy decides to dabble in a little detective work, enlisting her literary cohorts.
It's up to the Algonquins to outwit the true culprit-preferably before cocktail hour-and before the clever killer turns the tables on them.
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
This is a mystery novel by an award winning novelist that I bought while on sale. The action takes place in Mississippi and I have not been in the right mood to go there. Someday I will read more than the first page.
Edgar Award-winning author Tom Franklin returns with his most accomplished and resonant novel so far—an atmospheric drama set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town.
More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades.
Indemnity Only (V.I. Warshawski #1) by Sara Paretsky
Isn’t it silly for a Chicagoan who is interested in mysteries, and loves to see strong women portrayed in them, to not have read any titles in this series? Started this in January of this year. Hope to finish it before January of next year.
Meeting an anonymous client late on a sizzling summer night is asking for trouble. But trouble is Chicago private eye V.I. Warshwski's specialty. Her client says he's the prominent banker, John Thayer. Turns out he's not. He says his son's girlfriend, Anita Hill, is missing. Turns out that's not her real name. V.I.'s search turns up someone soon enough -- the real John Thayer's son, and he's dead. Who's V.I.'s client? Why has she been set up and sent out on a wild-goose chase? By the time she's got it figured, things are hotter -- and deadlier -- than Chicago in July. V.I.'s in a desperate race against time. At stake: a young woman's life.
The Shape of Water (Inspector Montalbano #1) by Andrea Camilleri
This is one I will read in addition to other mysteries set in Italy for an upcoming diary. I just haven’t read it yet although I did start it, once.
Bestselling Italian author Andrea Camilleri has built a massive international following for his sardonic Sicilian mysteries featuring a listless, dejected, nonconformist protagonist who somehow always accomplishes his duty in spite of himself. The Shape of Water is his first Inspector Salvo Montalbano adventure to be translated into English.
When a local politician is found dead in his car, half naked, in a seedy neighborhood known for prostitution and drug trafficking, it's assumed that he died of natural causes in the middle of a sexual escapade. Hoping to avoid an embarrassing situation, Montalbano's superiors expect him to close the case quickly. But the inspector senses that not all is as it seems and determinedly launches a full investigation.
The Name of the Rose Umberto Eco
My favorite unread book of all time.
The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon--all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where "the most interesting things happen at night."
In my defense, I tend to study all of the sale and discounted books lists at iBooks, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and snag books I think might be interesting at some future point (Sunday I downloaded 7 Karin Fossum mysteries at $1.99 each). As a result, quite a few of my unread titles are due to smart shopping and not laziness on my part (or so I try to convince myself). Perhaps I need to follow the example of ckf and start a Challenge list.
What about you? What books are haunting your shelves or e-book readers, patiently waiting their turn to be read?
Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule
|DAY||TIME (EST/EDT)||Series Name||Editor(s)|
|SUN||6:00 PM||Young Reader's Pavilion||The Book Bear|
|SUN (hiatus)||9:30 PM||SciFi/Fantasy Book Club||quarkstomper|
|Bi-Monthly SUN||Midnight||Reading Ramblings||don mikulecky|
|MON||8:00 PM||Monday Murder Mystery||Susan from 29|
|Mon||11:00 PM||My Favorite Books/Authors||edrie, MichiganChet|
|TUE||10:00 PM||Contemporary Fiction Views||bookgirl|
|WED||8:00 PM||Bookflurries Bookchat||cfk|
|THU||8:00 PM||Write On!||SensibleShoes|
|alternate THU||11:00 PM||Audiobooks Club||SoCaliana|
|FRI||8:00 AM||Books That Changed My Life||Diana in NoVa|
|SAT (fourth each month)||11:00 AM||Windy City Bookworm||Chitown Kev|
|SAT||9:00 PM||Books So Bad They're Good||Ellid|