Monday, April 26, 2010

Reading Report

Gee, been a while since I blogged. What can I say? Things are quiet at the moment. I'll give a quick reading report just to keep everyone in the loop. So what have I read recently? Read James Patterson's seventh Women's Murder Club book, 7th Heaven. A good, solid entry in the series. I still prefer these to Patterson's Alex Cross books. There's usually more of a mystery element among the standard thriller tropes. 7th Heaven has two major plotlines. Detective Lindsay Boxer has a string of unsolved murders, all involving wealthy couples who are bound and then left to burn to death when their homes are torched. This is an "open" mystery in that the reader actually knows who the killers are, though not their motivations. Meanwhile, Attorney Yuki Castellano is trying a high profile murder case that could make or break her career. Subplots abound, mostly concerning the romantic lives of the club members, but these are the two main plotlines. The other two members of the WMC play mostly supporting roles in 7th Heaven.
The WMC books are Big Mac novels. No real nutritional value, but great for a few hours of entertainment. One would be perfect for a plane flight I think. Some of the "surprise plot twists" in 7th heaven are a bit contrived, but for the most part it holds up well to the rest of the series. I'm a couple of books behind as I only read these when I'm in the mood. Last year's The 8th Confession is already in paperback and the new one, The 9th Judgment is due out this month.
Then I re-read Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser story The Jewels in the Forest. This was one of Leiber's earliest tales of the two adventurers and it's a lot of fun. The boys have heard rumors of an old stone structure deep in a forest where a fabulous treasure is hidden. The legend of the treasure says that there is no guardian there. No traps. No beasts. No armed men. And yet the treasure has never been taken. Fafhrd and the Mouser fight a band of mercenaries who are also seeking the treasure before stopping at the home of a farmer and his family who have lived their entire lives in the shadow of the strange building without ever entering. Leiber shines in his depiction of the country folk, making for some quiet, funny scenes in the middle of the sword & sorcery action. That sort of thing is what makes Leiber's work stand out among his peers. The man could write.
I also read two history books that I'll review soon and over the weekend began reading or re-reading some of Robert E. Howard's El Borak stories. A couple of nice collections of the El Borak material have recently been published. More about that later as well.

2 comments:

Rachel said...

I love the variety!

Yet another mystery book question from me. Since you read so many of these are there any surprises left for you? I rarely figure these things out but other mystery fans give me the impression that it's often pretty obvious. I don't try very hard as I like to be fooled (I LOVE magic shows!) but do you find that you always know what's coming?

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Rachel, I am rarely surprised. I can't actually recall the last time I failed to spot the killer in a mystery before I got to the end. I've read so many of the things that I can see the patterns. However I enjoy the challenge so it's still fun to read whodunits. I consider it a successful mystery if I miss an important clue, even if I figure out who the killer is. If there's a moment where I go, "Darn, I should have spotted that!" then I'm happy.
There was one mystery by an author I really like, where I solved it on page 14 of a 360-something page novel. I saw something and I thought "Surely she's not going to try that." But she did. I didn't mind though, because it was still a good read. With the really good writers, I don't care if I figure the plot out. I'll keep reading for the characters, dialogue, etc.