I am reading MURDER IN OLD BOMBAY by Nev Marsh. This was... technically still is... on my to buy pile. In the before time... the overwhelming to be read pile time... I would have bought this and thrown it on the shelf to read in the near or more likely distant future. I hope I like it enough to buy the second in the series. Buying a book is fun, buying a book that is good is better. [Editor's Note: Abandoned this book, unfinished.]
BLACKTOP WASTELAND - S.A. COSBY
So glad I didn't buy this last summer. Good decision to put off buying and reading what would have certainly been one of the best books of the year. New goal for the remaining 2021 calendar. Don't be dumb. Buy Mr. Cosby's follow up and read day one! [Editor's Note: I did buy a signed copy of RAZORBLADE TEARS, meanwhile B.W. won every award, except the Edgar where it wasn't even nominated!? Also Signed firsts of B.W. going for north of $200!! B.W. should be my crypto!]
MARION LANE AND THE MIDNIGHT MURDERS - T.A. Willberg
Not the first to describe this is an adult version of Harry Potter, though more grounded in reality with just a touch of mystical magic that verges closer to steam punk... I guess. The book really suffered because of the weak characterization of almost all the secondary characters. I often had no idea who Marion was talking to or their importance to the story. When the villain was revealed I legitimately responded with "Who?" Confusing the situation was Ms. Willberg's penchant for using first names for characters to only turn around and immediately and use their last names. At times it seemed a room was full of characters but it was just 2 or 3. I think the series has a some potential, but this was bursting at the seams with details and flourishes that should have waited a book or two to be explored.
TAKE ME APART - Sara Silger
My day job is as a film archivist so I was exited to read this story of a photo archivist who comes to small California town to organize the work of a photographer who killed herself years before.
The book really sings along until I ran in to a 50 page section where the lead falls for her boss, the son of the photographer. It was some rough sledding. Bad decisions are the corner stone of the Crime Fiction genre. If the book is working these bad decisions, for the reader, seem justified. Justified in the sense that the character for good or for ill is taking control of their life. But when a bad decision falls more into the stupid category the character making that decision suddenly becomes unworthy of my trust, my empathy, my forgiveness. That is what happens here and the book suffers for it. Still, I would recommend the author and will look for her next. The central mystery is compelling and thoughtful. Like most mystery's that try to reconcile the past I found the book to be compelling on that level.
[Editors Note: Right now I am reading THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD. Reading the le Carré Smiley books is a 2021 project. Early days on that book but already a significant step up from his previous two. After that I am going to have to burn down a handful of purchases from the last few months. I'll be back with a another round of reviews of Spring and Summer reads soon.]