I leave early Friday morning for points south, and won't be back in Gardiner until mid-October. Between now and then I'll be in Washington, New York and Baltimore, and hope to see many of my friends and relations. If you need more detailed information about my whereabouts, send me an e-mail.
The blog resumes on Monday, and no, I still don't have a theme. We'll both be surprised.
In the meantime, I took a few days off last week, and got a lot of reading done.
What I've Read Lately
Jennifer Finney Boylan, I'M LOOKING THROUGH YOU: Growing Up Haunted. A very loose memoir of Boylan's life growing up in a haunted house, as a girl in a boy's body. Boylan is a funny, insightful, compassionate writer -- I was a fan of her novels when she was James Finney Boylan and loved her first memoir, SHE'S NOT THERE. This book could have used a little more structure, but still left me with the feeling that she's someone I'd love to know in person.
Sean Chercover, TRIGGER CITY. A worthy follow-up to Chercover's dazzling debut, BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD. Chicago PI Ray Dudgeon agrees to investigate an apparently straightforward murder for the victim's father, a retired Army colonel, and discovers an international conspiracy. The book will be out in October.
Jack O'Connell, THE RESURRECTIONIST. Jack O'Connell is a unique voice who's been silent much too long. His books are unclassifiable, somewhere between crime fiction and fantasy; this book is unquestionably a thriller, but one that deals with things seen and unseen. Sweeney, a pharmacist, brings his comatose son Danny to the prestigious Peck Clinic in hopes of a cure. What he finds are two very different philosophies of dealing with the comatose, which require him to make life-changing decisions about his future and his son's. That description doesn't begin to describe the strangeness and wonder of this book. I will need to read it again about six months from now.
Clare Langley-Hawthorne, CONSEQUENCES OF SIN. A debut novel set in Edwardian England, featuring the politically active heiress Ursula Marlow. Someone is killing the daughters of wealthy men, for reasons that may have to do with a secret in Ursula's father's history.
Lee Child, NOTHING TO LOSE. Jack Reacher crosses between the Colorado towns of Hope and Despair, and runs afoul of Despair's police force. They're rude to him for no reason he can identify, so he decides to teach them some manners. Not one of the stronger titles in this series; Reacher, always an anti-hero, comes off as irrational and petty, and the end of the book is just plain ugly.
Max Allan Collins, THE FIRST QUARRY. Classic pulp about a hit man's first job, set sometime in the 1970s.
Michelle Gagnon, THE TUNNELS. A very impressive debut novel. FBI Special Agent Kelly Jones returns to her alma mater (a New England university based on Wesleyan), where a serial killer has been slaughtering young women in a tunnel network underneath the campus. Tight, clean, suspenseful, with a strong, believable heroine; the sequel's already on my to-be-read pile.