Nikki (nakeisha) wrote,

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Books read in March 2009

Another month of all new reads - mostly dominated by the 'Gideon series' which I did finish this month.

MARCH (12)

Gideon's Press - J. J. Marric (aka John Creasey)
Gideon's Fog - J. J. Marric (aka John Creasey) (published posthumously)
Gideon's Drive - J. J. Marric (aka John Creasey) (published posthumously)
Gideon's Force -  William Vivian Butler writing as J. J. Marric
Gideon's Law - William Vivian Butler writing as J. J. Marric
Gideon's Way - William Vivian Butler writing as J. J. Marric
Gideon's Raid - William Vivian Butler writing as J. J. Marric
Gideon's Fear - William Vivian Butler writing as J. J. Marric
The Accidental Sorcerer - K. E. Mills
The Clockwork Teddy - John J. Lamb
The Poisoning In The Pub - Simon Brett
Bookmarked For Death - Lorna Barrett


12 were first time reads

I continued my read of the Gideon books which during this month's read moved from the 1970s into the 1980s. The main character (not surprisingly) remains Commander George Gideon of Scotland Yard, known affectionately both to his face by his friends/equals and behind his back (if it can be behind his back given he knows about it) as Gee-Gee.

Another change, as you can see, was a different author taking over the books. John Creasey died and I can only imagine the series was popular enough for the publishers to want someone to go on with it. The someone was William Vivian Butler. In truth, in style, there was actually very little difference, I'm not sure that, had I not known there was a new author, I would have noticed.

The real big difference though in the last few books was that the crimes had really become a lot grittier as we moved from the late 70s into the 80s. That's another thing I really like about this series, the crimes and the whole way the characters behave, etc. change to reflect the current times. So gone had the friendly informant, who was in many ways more like a friend and in come major drugs, far more murder and more bloody murder, gang related crimes and several crimes aimed at Gideon himself.

Throughout these books he had to deal with a threatened strike by the dock workers and the press, but in the case of the former not just a strike but plans to violently and brutally attack anyone who dared to cross the picket line. He also had to deal with his deputy (who was also just about to ask Gideon's youngest daughter to marry him) being abducted. And in another he had to deal with very underhand and dangerous food cartels that had to be broken. These were all stories written by Creasey himself.

Then Butler took over and a new decade began. There were estate wars, a case involving a psychic. The fire-fighters strike and the danger that brought to London as there was someone setting major fires. In both this book (Force) and the previous book (Law) the culprit is really surprising and quite frightening. And then Gideon's grand-son is kidnapped; he is the son of Hobbs (Gideon's second in command who, now, at Gideon's urging has in fact leap-frogged Gideon and is, in effect, his boss as Hobbs is Assistant Commissioner. Gideon himself is injured badly in one of the books, he's served twenty-five years a Commander. And if that is not enough in the final book he has to face the fact that his long ago estranged son is in fact the big new drug chief.

The Gideon books really are a good read from beginning to end and as I said the crimes shadow the era. The people are more than just two-dimensional and although the books are police procedurals they are more than that because we see Gideon's home life and his wife and family and that of other officers of various ranks too. It really is a jolly good series.

The Accidental Sorcerer was recommended by aingeal8c and is the first book in a trilogy (the other two aren't out yet). It's about a young man, Gerald Dunwoody, who is a third-grade wizard until one day when he's visiting a factory as part of his job and he blows it up. Why does he blow it up? Ah, now that would be telling. But as a result he is fired from his job and in the end gets sent, thanks to  a friend, to be the new Court Wizard, where even more things go wrong and suddenly he realises the King is not quite what he should be. He has a companion - an ensorcelled bird with a mysterious past.

I found it a very good, very enjoyable read and a page turner. I got drawn into the world and caught up with the characters. There were twists and turns throughout and it kept you wondering. There were one or two parts, in the first third or so of the book, where I thought 'this has been written by someone else'. Aingeal told me that the writer (who normally writes as Karen Miller) had chosen another name for this series as they were quite unlike her usual style. So maybe it was simply a case in one or two places of her 'alto-ego' taking over. Suffice to say I have already ordered the second book.

The Clockwork Teddy is the latest books in 'The Bear Collectors' Mysteries'. The books are actually written by a retired homicide detective who does in fact collect teddy bears. As I love teddy bears and crime books, these are a great balance. And don't think they are all mushy because of the teddies, they aren't at all. They are to an extent police procedurals with a cosy touch to them, it's a very good balance.

This one was set in San Francisco, where Brad, who had to take disability retirement after being shot, used to work. He has had to return to San Francisco to testify as the family of the man who shot and crippled Brad have sued the SFPD because Brad's partner shot and killed the perp who shot Brad. Brad and his wife Ashleigh get caught up when a one of the local teddy bear collectors/makers is attacked. And it turns out her son has apparently stolen a robotic teddy that can walk and talk. There are several twists in the book and even though I guessed the main one it was still a page turner to see who came through Brad or the baddie.

The Poisoning In The Pub is the latest of the Fethering Mysteries where Carole and her neighbour Jude investigate a spate of poisonings at their local public house, that ends up with murder and bit by bit they realise it is actually a plot to get the landlord, who is their good friend, out.

I enjoy this series (like all of Brett's books very much). I'm not sure I would actually be friends with either Carole or Jude in real life, but to my mind that makes them very real characters as they have flaws as well as their good points. And over the series they have both evolved and changed and adapted - Carole most of all. I can never fault Brett and this is another excellent book.

Bookmarked To Death is the second in the series set in a small book town in America where the main character runs a mystery book shop. This story is about an author coming to a book launch for her last book. All is going fairly well until the woman is found murdered in the small bathroom. Tricia, the 'amateur detective' decides to investigate herself. I really liked the first book and I enjoyed the plot of this book and the gentle twists.

However, in this book Tricia annoyed me pretty much from beginning to end *sigh* She was, I felt, very selfish, didn't seem to want to meet people half-way and was by the end more concerned with solving the case than even running her own book store - I could have cheerfully strangled her more than once. I hope it was just me at the time, because if she's like that in the next book (assuming there is one) I doubt I'll keep reading, even though the cases are fairly interesting and the other characters well drawn.

Tags: books, books: 2009, books: 50 books

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