Crime Fiction


November Part 2

In Part 1 we reported on our best and worst ranked reads from November. Part 2 is about the other books we read and recommend – the filling in the sandwich!
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Photo by Wilfred Wong on Unsplash
Our reading theme for November was books that didn’t involve a detective. But, of course, we read other books too, and discussed those at our meeting as well. Because none of us is comfortable with the idea of ‘literary criticism’ our reviews (such as they are) really just boil down to whether we’ve enjoyed a book or not, and why. But as we’re all avid readers we reckon our opinions count for something! Our new rating system makes it easier to assess the books we discuss. It’s a simple system where 5-Stars ranks as ‘Beyond Brilliant’ and 1-Star probably as ‘Don’t even bother to read the flyleaf’.

We’d recommend all of the books listed below.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The story of a woman who’s disappeared, and whose husband is suspected of her murder. Oxo knew this book (and film) by reputation and chose to read it because some critics rank Gillian Flynn alongside Patricia Highsmith. Although Oxo says this as an unusual story with a terrific twist at the end, she doesn’t feel Gillian Flynn is yet in the same league as Highsmith. However, she awarded Gone Girl 4+ Stars because it keeps you guessing and is a great read.

Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton
This was the last book written by Sue Grafton in her Alphabet series. It begins in 1979 when four teenage boys sexually assault a 14-year old classmate and film the attack. The film goes missing and the suspected thief is later found murdered. But although two boys are convicted and sent to prison, the ringleader escapes. Ten years later when one of the boys is released from prison he and his family are being blackmailed over the missing film and ask Kinsey Millhone to help. Freyja has read all the Alphabet titles and thinks this is a terrific finale to the series. She gives it 4+ Stars.

The Other Woman by Daniel Silva
The Gabriel Allon series, which started with Kill Artist (2000), now totals 18 books. Allon is an art restorer and sometime Israeli secret agent/assassin. Cornish Eskimo gives the thumbs up to this series saying they're excellent thrillers which are never less than absorbing. In this latest book Allon is now the slightly reluctant head of Israel’s secret service and the plot centres around a race to find a high-ranking mole in Britain’s MI6. Allon knows there’s a mole but, if he’s to persuade the British of that fact, he must catch them first. It’s an unusually low-key plot for Daniel Silva and although the story isn’t his usual action-packed thriller it’s still very enjoyable. The Eskimo rates it 4-Stars.

A Rustle of Silk by Alys Clare
This is the first in a new historical mystery series by Alys Clare. Set in 17th Century Devon, a former ship’s surgeon is trying to establish himself as a country physician. When a body is found he discovers he has a connection to the dead man and works with the local coroner to find out what was behind the death. Freyja enjoyed the historical detail and the mystery, and she thinks this new series might be better than the previous Aelf Fen series. She rated this 3+ Stars.

Proof by Martina Reilly
After a vicious murder in a small town, Marcus is arrested and put on trial. But to some people it seems obvious that he’s been framed, so his friend, Sash, investigates. An easy read, with a twist at the end. But Calendar Girl only gave it 3-Stars.

Red War by Kyle Mills
The latest in the Mitch Rapp series which, since author Vince Flynn’s death in 2013, has been continued by Kyle Mills. Cornish Eskimo doesn’t think Mills captures the characters as well as Flynn did, so although the plot of Red War races along you don’t actually get hooked in. If you want to enjoy a seriously good thriller, read any of the first 13 books in the series (the ones written by Vince Flynn) all of which the Eskimo would rate at 5 or 4+ Stars. Red War only earned 3-Stars.

Oundle Library’s Crime Fiction Book Group meets on the third Friday of each month @ 2.30pm at Oundle Library; and for our meeting on 18 January 2019 we’re each going to read a book by Ian Rankin.

We don’t consider ourselves a formal book group because we don’t work through a reading list. We just pick a reading ‘theme’ each month, which is entirely optional. At our meetings we chat about whatever we’ve read, and swap notes about the books and authors we enjoy. It’s been a great way for everyone to find new authors to try. If you think it sounds fun, why not join us? You’ll be very welcome.