Friday, November 14, 2008

Reading Up A Storm

I haven't written much over the past 6 weeks but I sure have done a lot of reading, mostly on my daily walks. Six books have been devoured, all of them written by those on my "favorite authors" list. Where do I start?

I have long been a fan of John Sandford's Prey mysteries featuring Lucas Davenport. However, in Dark of the Moon, he moves Virgil Flowers, who works for Davenport to the forefront. While I liked Flowers and his path to solving a wave of small town murders, I missed the Davenport panache. This was a good mystery but it was different.

Two Patricia Cornwell books were on the reading agenda. One, Book of the Dead, won a 2008 "crime thriller of the year" award in Great Britain although I found it somewhat disturbing. While Cornwell's novels tend toward the dark side, this one was just a bit too dark for me and it became more of a bit-by-bit read than a can't-put-it-down one. In contrast, I found her 1993 Cruel and Unusual mesmerizing with a number of unusual twists that had me wondering what might happen next right up to the ultimate solution. For me, this was a case of liking her earlier writing better than the later effort.

Jonathan Kellerman was the author of two other books on the list, Compulsion (2008) and The Murder Book (2002). This was also a case of liking the earlier writing better than the latter. While Compulsion was good and well written, as are all Kellerman mysteries, I kept wondering why psychologist Alex Delaware was involved in assisting Milo Sturgis in the first place. It seemed like he was there because he had nothing better to do with his time. In The Murder Book, Delaware was understandably involved from the opening page and we learned a lot about Sturgis' early career as a detective as they pursued a cold case. For me this was a spellbinder and the 605 pages flew by. The unexpected twists and turns kept me glued to the book on morning walks and, on a couple of days I narrowly avoided walking into parked cars.

The final book of this group was David Baldacci's Stone Cold which I found top be among the best of the 9 Baldacci thrillers I have read. I was reunited with Oliver Stone and The Camel Club along with con artists Annabelle Conroy and her ailing father. Both of the parallel storylines were spellbinding. The action was intense. My only regret is that the ending makes it appear that The Camel Club will not appear in future Baldacci efforts. But then again, that possible conclusion comes from the unanswered questions that lead to speculation. We will see.

Well, that's a quick review of The Ancient One's recent reading without giving away any of the plot lines.


P.S. Previously I added links to so that interested readers could look more closely at the books I read and, perhaps, even order them. But alas, the particular style widget I used appears to be no longer available. If anyone is interested, I will add the titles to the reading list link in the right hand column.


Ms. Fairway said...

Your reading list reminds me why I need to broaden my book list. I normally read mysteries written by women (early Patricia Cornwell among them) but John Sandford and David Baldacci are 2 authors I've always wanted to try. Thanks for the reminder!

Leon said...

MS. FAIRWAY - Thanks for stopping by. I notice that you said "early" Cornwell. I enjoy her earlier books more; the latest seem to be so very, very dark, almost depressing.

Charles Gramlich said...

I was going to read a Baldacci but a friend of mine said she didn't care for the two she tried. I haven't read any yet.

Darlene said...

Of the books you mentioned I have read one Baldacci and enjoyed it very much. I love a good mystery and my favorite author is P. D. James and her protagonist, Dagleish.