A man whose name we never discover decides to commit more murders than anyone in history, and methodically chooses a small Northumberland town near Rothbury. I really didn't like this book. It's gory, certainly; but that's not totally offputting in itself. I think it was the complete moral vacuum in the book. The only thing which makes a story like this at all fascinating is learning why the crime has been committed, and the character himself really doesn't seem to have a reason, so it's ultimately all very pointless. One tiny point compared to the general non-interest of the book, but an irritating one; all brand and pseudo-brand names are italicised and capitalised, so you get Parka-wearing characters carrying SPAR bags containing bottles of Coke.
Sweet little lies, by J T Ellison. Kindle edition.
This is a book of short fiction, some of it extremely short in the flash fiction mould. I'm not completely convinced that flash fiction works for crime (in the way it undoubtedly does for fanfic, sci fi and fantasy), and this hasn't convinced me. There's a really good story in there, Killing Carol Anne, but as this is the story which led me to this book in the first place, it was a bit disappointing. I'll certainly go back and read more of Ellison's full-length novels and longer short fiction, though.
The Goliath bone, by Mickey Spillane with Max Allen Collins [audiobook]. Read by Jeff Harding. Oxford: Isis, 2009.
This is a Mike Hammer novel constructed from Mickey Spillane's notes and written by his literary executor. Two young archaeologists have discovered an enormous femur in the Valley of Elah, and both the Israelis and Al-Qaeda are interested in acquiring it. Hammer, although well beyond retirement age, and his trusty secretary-fiancée Velda, leap into the investigation. This is an entertaining listen, despite the unlikely premise. I'm not convinced I'd have finished this in book form, but as ever, Jeff Harding's reading is as much fun as the book itself.
Careless in red, by Elizabeth George. London: Hodder, 2009.
When Elizabeth George killed off Helen Lynley I swore off these books, but a couple of people whose opinions I respect persuaded me that this was a return to form, and indeed it is. The Cornish setting is interesting given how urban so many of the Lynley mysteries are, and the interplay between Lynley and Barbara Havers is wonderful. This makes up for the plot itself panning out in a somewhat disappointing way.
The comfort of things, by Daniel Miller. London: Polity, 2008.
This was the April Kniterati book, and a non-fiction choice. Daniel Miller and his assistant/student spent 18 months in a single London street, establishing a relationship with its residents and learning about them through their possessions (or lack of them). Some of the stories, particularly of the single men in the street, are quite heartbreaking; others are gently funny or moving. I did wonder about the conclusions Miller seemed to pick effortlessly out of thin air though - I kept wanting to demand that he show his working. A very interesting book, but it's ultimately as much about Miller as it is about the people he's studying.