A Is For Alibi - Sue Grafton
B Is For Burglar - Sue Grafton
C Is For Corpse - Sue Grafton
D Is For Deadbeat - Sue Grafton
French Pressed - Cleo Coyle
Primary Colors - Anonymous (Joe Klien)
Blood At The Bookies - Simon Brett
Back On Blossom Street - Debbie Macomber
Secret Agent Men 10 - published by Bast of Requiem Press
TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS READ THUS FAR in 2008: 53
04 were books I'd read before
05 were a first time reads
Sue Grafton's 'Alphabet Series' is about a private investigator name Kinsey Millhone and each book features one of her cases. They are good reads, told in the first person by Kinsey and apparently came about when Ms. Grafton started to think up ways to kill her second ex-husband. However, she decided she'd get caught so instead created Kinsey (who is also twice divorced) and the various crime plots. Kinsey is an interesting character as part of the time it's not that easy to like her, or to necessarily approve of all the things she does, yet you still care about her and the case. There are several recurring characters throughout her books, one being her 80-something landlord who is still extremely sprightly as well as a local restaurant owner who is the kind who tells the customer what they are going to eat. The cases tend to be intricate and involved enough to keep your interest, but not so complex that you get lost trying to remember who did/said what to whom. I've read the series before, but decided it's time for a re-read. I understand Ms. Grafton's plan is to go through from A - Z, T comes out this year. It'll be interesting to see if she manages it; at one point she was turning out a book a year but in recent years it's been one every two years. I thorough enjoy the books and certainly wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.
Primary Colors is a 'novel of politics'. It basically is a story about the primary race in America, focussing on the attempts of Governor Jack Stanton and his attempts to gain the Democratic nomination for President, It's a novel based on an insider's account of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and the anonymous author (who later revels himself as Joe Klien) is reported to be someone close to the Clintons, in fact I believe he was part of the campaign. It's a good way to get a feel for the intricacies of the American primary system. It's a book about politics, ambition, love, sex, grit, dubious morals and determination and shows both the positive and the negative side of what goes on during a campaign. It's told in the first person by Henry Burton and the story is as much about him and how he changes in many ways, as it is about Stanton - and it's Henry's involvement with Stanton and the campaign that chances him. It is a good read, an excellent read in fact, not always an easy read, and you swing from liking to really disliking Stanton and his wife and what they are prepared to do to get the White House. If you know nothing about American politics this book might well shock you in parts, but I understand that it is also very accurate as to what does go on. It was also made into a film starring John Travolta, Emma Thompson and Adrian Lester, in fact I'd seen the film twice before I read the book.
French Pressed is the latest book in the 'Coffee House' mysteries series. It's an amateur detective series about a woman who pretty much falls into investigating crimes when she discovers the dead body of her assistant manager and she is the obvious suspect. They are very light reads, but enjoyable ones. There's a touch of romance in them too (involving Clare and a detective), but like all book romances nothing is easy as Clare is divorced but her ex mother-in-law (who owns the coffee house) keeps trying to get Clare and her son back together, going so far as to give them joint ownership of the apartment over the coffee house. Nice light, fun, reads with good characters who are 'real' and rounded, oh and there are coffee tips thrown in throughout the books too.
Blood At The Bookies is the latest book in the 'Fethering Mysteries' series. They are amateur detective books involving a early-retired ex-civil servant and her neighbour - a very unlikely partnership he pair are quite different in character, but it works really well and the characters develop and change, to accommodate one another, throughout the books as they become close friends. Carol (the ex-civil servant) is rather reserved, straight-laced, divorced, had never been in a pub in her life, almost stand-offish to an extent, very proper in dress and though, where as Jude (the neighbour) is laid back, relaxed, a large lady, open and affectionate. And yet oddly enough the little twist is that despite all of Jude's openness and friendliness, we know very little about her - not even her surname. I like Simon Brett, I have all his books and this series is another very enjoyable one, they are cosy mysteries, light but exciting enough with a sufficiently complex plot to keep your attention.
Back On Blossom Street is the latest in a series of books caffyolay introduced me too revolving around the owner of a knitting shop and her customers and their lives and the trials and tribulations of day-to-day family life. A couple of the characters have been involved since the first book, but each book also introduces new characters with their own problems. Again they are fairly light reads, but have enough 'grit' and tension in them to stop them from being too fluffy.
Secret Agent Men 10 is the latest in the series of The Professionals zines, so will only appeal to those involved in the fandom. It's a slimmer edition than some recent ones, it's a sad fact that zine sales are declining and fewer writers are submitting stories for zines. I always enjoy Bast zines and this wasn't an exception, and I love the format of the digest zine they are so lovely and easy to hold.