Thursday, June 04, 2020

What Are You Reading?

Thursday! Are you ready to talk about what you've been reading this week? I'd love to know.

I want to talk about two books. Akashic Books does a series of anthologies that are noir, dark and gritty crime stories, set in various cities around the world. And, they are dark. There's always one or two that I don't like in every anthology. I'm reading Columbus Noir, about Columbus, Ohio. Jeff and Glen have probably read some of these books. Here's what CrimeReads said about the book.

"Like the rest of the state of Ohio, Columbus has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, and the stories included in Akashic's ode to the city are as full of misery as the city currently is in real life. Moments of humanity shine through in many of the tales in this collection, and epic takes on pride and greed make many of the stories in this collection go beyond small miseries into the realm of Shakespearian tragedy. Urgent, beautiful, and not to be missed."
--CrimeReads, included in CrimeReads' Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020

I wouldn't call these crime stories "beautiful". In fact, the first one was so gritty, I didn't pick up the book again for a week. But, my family is all in Ohio, so I know some of the spots written about in the book.

And, I certainly can't review it right now, but I also read, for review, Craig Johnson's next Longmire book, Next to Last Stand. Craig is one of my two favorite storytellers. When I read one of his books, I can hear Craig "reading" it to me. It's due out Sept. 22. Watch for it!

What are you reading this week?


Jeff Meyerson said...

You're right. I have read a bunch of the "Noir" anthologies - Brooklyn (of course), which has two plus a true crime volume, plus Manhattan, The Bronx, San Francisco, New Orleans, and a bunch of others. Like you, I find there are always some stories I don't like at all, and some that I really do. As a rule, I've looked for the collections where I know at least some of the authors already or where I am familiar with the city at hand, or where I am interested in a place I've never been, like Havana. It may be unfair to others with "new" authors, but no one has time to read everything.

For instance, Buffalo has Lawrence Block and Joyce Carol Oates (both of whom are from the area) among the authors. Dublin has Ken Bruen. I read the Toronto before their last Bouchercon there.

But what about this week, you ask. I read a second Joe Hill collection, Strange Weather: Four Short Novels. I don't consider these "short novels" but novellas. They range from 90 to 130 pages long each. I liked (more or less) three of them and was bored by the fourth. Overall, I've enjoyed the collections I've read so far (one still to go). His novels are too long for me.

I'v still reading the James Sallis collection, Time's Hammers, which has grown on me a little, without coming close to any of his novels.

Finally got (can't believe it is seven years since the last one) Julia Spencer-Fleming's Hid From Our Eyes, the new Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery, and I'm racing through the pages so far. The mystery is intriguing. A young woman's body, dressed up but with no shoes, is found dead on the side of the road with no cause of death easily apparent. Turns out there was an exactly similar case in 1952, then another in 1972, when the only suspect was a young Russ Van Alstyne, newly back from Vietnam.

Lesa said...

I want to read the Dublin one, Jeff. I ordered the Columbus one because I read some of the authors, and know the city. I've read a few of the others, usually for review.

I have copies of Julia Spencer-Fleming's Hid From Our Eyes, and people have raved about it. I just haven't picked it up yet because of Russ being a suspect. I do need to read it, though.

SandyG265 said...

I finished Murder Ink by Lorraine Bartlett. I’m trying to catch up on her Victoria Square series. This wasn’t one of my favorites. Too much of the all of the men being interested in Katie and Katie being oblivious to it all. I don’t know what I’m going to start next.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Oh! Not familiar with these anthologies but will look into them now - Thanks!

What I've read:
Their Last Secret by Rick Mofina (ARC)
Hideaway by Nora Roberts - I loved this!
The Shore House by Heidi Hostetter (ARC)
The Weekend Away by Sarah Alderson (ARC)
The View From Here by Hannah McKinnon (ARC)

And I love the book I'm reading right now. From NetGalley - "Cathy Bonidan's The Lost Manuscript is a charming epistolary novel about the love of books and magical ability they have to bring people together."


Glen Davis said...

Lesa, I've read several of the Noir books, and they are very uneven. I don't look for them, but I'll pick one up if I see it in the wild.

Hot Lead, Cold Justice by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane; Newest book in the western series. It's a snow bound western, but a pretty good one.

Black Lily (The Nine Lives of The Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat) is an alleged western, but doesn't really hew to the conventions.

In The Dark, Soft Earth; A collection of poems inspired by art. I thought the best were inspired by Salvador Dali.

The Lucifer Signal; First book in an espionage series, where the hero is almost a guest star in his own book.

The Forlorn Magic trilogy; High fantasy about a world where everybody has a little bit of magic. There's a Mary Sue, and everything is wraps up in a bow that's just a little too tidy, but still pretty decent.

Mark Baker said...

My ebook request from the library came in, so I am starting THE 20TH VICTIM by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro today.

SallyM said...

Since I last wrote I finished The Last Romantics (Conklin) and liked that the family story lasted through the years. Since then I've read Dear Edward (Napolitano) and The Wilding Sisters (Chase). Dear Edward kept me turning pages as Jeff said but not literally - Overdrive on my Kindle. The story of the young boy who is the only survivor of a plane crash is devastating and the descriptions of the plane as it traveled on its journey prior to the crash were heartbreaking. I think if I were planning to fly I'd be canceling my flight. The Wilding Sisters moves back and forth from a summer in the 50s and the current time in a house in the Cotswolds. There's some overlapping of characters, lessons learned, mysteries solved, etc.

Right now I'm reading Olive Kitteridge. I know I'm a little late to the party but I'm enjoying it.

I'm looking forward to reading the Spencer-Fleming book. I've read all her others and had thought she had quit writing until I saw that this one was to be published.

Rosemary said...

Hi Lesa

This morning I finished 'Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Vampire Menace' by Olga Wotjas. It was good fun, and better, I think, than her first - Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Golden Samovar. This new one is about Shona MacGonagel being sent by Miss Blaine back to the beginning of the 20th century, and to a village in France where the sun never shines, and there are some very strange things going on. As before, it is Shona's inability to see what's under her own nose, despite the fact that she is one of Miss Blaine's girls and super-proficient in all things, that provides a lot of the humour. And she is of course a librarian :)

I'm not sure if I also mentioned Angela Meyer's 'Joan Smokes', which won the MsLexia Novella Prize last year? It is very brief and spare, but I loved it so much - I needed to review it yesterday so I re-read it (only 67 very short pages) and loved it even more. Joan is reinventing herself in Las Vegas, and gradually we find out why. It is shocking and heartbreaking and so very well written. One thing that really surprised me in it was that even in the 1960s the nuclear testing sites in Nevada and Arizona were still seen as tourist venues - people used to drive out there, sit on bleachers and watch the test explosions. They were so close that they could feel the rush of the wind, and the earth shaking beneath them. I had no idea.

I am taking part in a reading challenge - '20 Books of Summer' - in which you choose 20 books from your TBR shelves and try to read and review each one between 1 June and 1 September. So I will next read one from that -maybe one of the ones my son sent me, The Last Hillwalker. I also have one more book to read for Saraband - The Nature of Summer - and quite a few reviews waiting to be written. We have an abysmal weather forecast for the next few days, so perhaps that will encourage me to get down to it.

I like reading things set in places with which I am familiar, but I'm afraid those Noir books look far too gritty for me!


Lesa said...

Sandie, I'm not sure if I started that series, and never went far, or if I haven't even picked up that series by Bartlett.

Lesa said...

Kaye, As the guys said, sometimes uneven, very dark. Lots of titles, though, if there's a place that interests you. I'll look tonight to see if there is a Paris Noir.

Thank you for The Lost Manuscript recommendation! I requested it on NetGalley. I don't want to wait until January.

Lesa said...

Glen, I agree. The few I've read in the Noir series are sometimes uneven. I do read any that I come across though, and I ordered this one. I may order Dublin, just because. Ireland.

This week's titles sound a little better, especially the western. Have you ever read Larry D. Sweazy's westerns? Pub dates have changed for his upcoming ones, but I have his next couple.

Lesa said...

The 20th Victim! One of our most popular titles right now, Mark. I hope you enjoy it.

Lesa said...

SallyM, Julia Spencer-Fleming makes no secret what took her so long. Her husband was ill and died. Some of her daughters moved home. It hasn't been an easy seven years for her. It sounds as if you're enjoying your reading right now. Great!

Lesa said...

Rosemary, Those Noir books are dark, sometimes depressing. Maybe too gritty, at times, as you said.

That's quite a summer challenge. Good luck with it! I'm sure I could get through it, if I wasn't always distracted by other books.

I didn't release the nuclear testing sites were still tourist attractions in the 1960s, either. Fortunately, that's one trip my father didn't take us on!

Glen Davis said...

I don't believe I've ever heard of Larry D. Sweazy.

Gram said...

I am happy to hear that Hideaway by Nora Roberts was really good - Thanks Kaye Wilkinson Barley. I have it on hold on Overdrive and the wait is about 15 weeks! I tried to read the new Julia Spencer-Fleming and could not get very far. I do not know if I just was not in the mood during this pandemic or what. Since I love all her other books, I will go back to it later. I am mostly doing rereads as they are comforting.

Patricia Stoltey said...

After reading Book 3 of Rachel Caine's thriller series, I had to go back and start with book 1, Stillhouse Lake. Her writing is really good and these high-tension novels are great distractions.

Lesa said...

Glen, I'll have to look to see what I have around by Larry.

Lesa said...

That's funny, Patricia. And, the last thing I want right now is a high-tension novel. I have enough tension. I'm glad you're enjoying Rachel Caine's books, though.

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