29 April 2014

Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child

An audio book.

This is one of the Jack Reacher novels. It is set in New York City, and begins with Reacher witnessing a suicide on a subway train.

While this is probably not great literature, it certainly was good entertainment while driving back and forth to work. The story is told clearly, with lots of suspense, and kept me involved through its entire length.

There is of course gratuitous violence in this book, typical of this series and genre.

The Maid's Version, by Daniel Woodrell

A beautifully written, small novel. One reviewer described Woodrell's prose as "Old Testament," and I don't disagree. Woodrell is the author of Winter's Bone.

In West Table, Missouri, many years ago, there was (according to this tale) a terrible explosion in a dance hall that killed several dozen people. This disaster overshadows and provides the focus for the plot of this unusual story, told from the point of view of a young man whose grandmother lost a sister in the blast.

In this story there is a strong element of class struggle, and the amazing strength of the truly poor.

NPR Review

03 April 2014

Godforsaken Idaho, by Shawn Vestal

A short story collection.

LA Times Review by William Boyle. 21 August 2013.

A quote from an email I sent to a friend about this book:

... I am almost done reading Godforsaken Idaho, a collection of short stories by Shawn Vestal. How good it is: I wish it were three times longer. There may be other chronicles of the lower-class victims of Joe Smith, et al, but I haven't read any. This stuff really needed writing.

Now that I think of it: be careful. I think that the book has done a little something to my mental state. If you're feeling fragile (long winter, all that), perhaps wait a while and pick it up in the dog days of August. Just sayin.

01 April 2014

Knots and Crosses, by Ian Rankin

This is the first novel in the Inspector Rebus series. I have previously read number three, Tooth and Nail.

Knots and Crosses is set in Edinburgh. Its copyright date is 1987, and the novel takes place in a time that is perhaps a few years earlier than that.

Rebus is called away from a busy desk to join a task force investigating a series of murders of young girls. As the investigation intensifies, the murders continue, and Rebus is drawn further into the mystery. His involvement becomes more and more personal as the plot unfolds.

We learn, in this book, that Rebus was in the SAS before joining the police. His experiences there, which were beyond horrible, have affected him, and color the events of this story--as well as being integral in its plot.

We are introduced to Rebus's ex-wife Rhona and their daughter Samantha in this book.