Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Mo Hayder – Skin

DI Jack Caffery is assigned to a missing persons case but his heart is not really in it. He has concerns over a recent death that looks like suicide but could have been murder disguised. Police diver Flea Marley is helping on the case but she has big problems of her own that are starting to interfere with her work.

I hadn’t realised before I started this book that it is set in and around Bristol which is where I live so many of the places mentioned in the book were familiar to me. I really liked that.

I hadn’t read any of Mo Hayder’s books before and as I seem to be doing quite a lot lately I have entered a series that has already begun without having read the preceding novels. Luckily that didn’t really matter though, whilst I think it would have added to my enjoyment of Skin to have read the previous book, Ritual, it was by no means essential. The book is set shortly after the occurrences in Ritual and does refer back to them several times but it was explained sufficiently to allow anyone that hadn’t read it to catch up.

Skin follows Jack Caffery and Flea Marley in two separate but interlined storylines. Caffery is still shaken from his previous case (the events of Ritual) and is investigating a missing person case and a suicide that he suspects was really murder. Flea Marley and her dive team are helping by searching locations for bodies but the main part of her storyline follows her personal issues.

I liked the story and the characters, I am especially interested to find out what happens to Flea in the next book as there are still things that could happen with that storyline. I’ll have to keep a look out for new releases from Ho Hayder as she might do some local book signings with any luck!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Robert R. McCammon – They Thirst

Vampires have come to Los Angeles. Each night they walk the streets drinking the blood of the unsuspecting people that they find, increasing their numbers in a bid to take over the city. How can the people fight against an enemy that they don’t believe exists?

I like a good vampire novel and this is a very good vampire novel. It took me quite a long time to read it – 16 days – I normally read an average of a book a week. This book is longer than it first appears. It has 531 pages but it is printed in a quite small typeface and new chapters start on the same page rather than starting from a new page as they do in most books. I think if it was to be reprinted now the page count would probably increase fairly considerably. It is currently out of print but I was lucky enough to pick up a second hand copy at the Book Barn a while back. The only other Robert R. McCammon book that I have read is Swan Song and that is my second favourite book ever (after The Stand by Stephen King) so I thought it was about time that I read another of his books.

The book has a large cast of characters which I liked about it. The characters were all memorable and well written so it was easy to keep track of who was who. The vampires were old school evil vampires, only interested in feeding and increasing their numbers. They were quite creepy, which is good.

I enjoyed the story. I did feel that parts of it were a little farfetched but that didn’t really matter and it all served the overall plot. A couple of times I found myself wondering why the characters didn’t have mobile phones and I had to remind myself that the book was written in the 1980’s and people didn’t have mobiles back then! I think this shows that the book had a modern feel to it as it didn’t feel dated at all in any other way.

I think it’s a shame that this book is out of print. I have tried to find out why but the only information I could find was that the author deliberately keeps it out of print. I can’t find any reasons why (If anyone knows I would be interested to hear). I’m hoping that it will be put back into print at some point in the future as it’s a book that deserves to be read and enjoyed. (As an aside, when I first got Swan Song about 12 or more years ago it was out of print in the UK and I had to do a special order and pay quite a lot of money to get it. It wasn’t as simple to just get things over the internet like it is now. But Swan Song is now back in publication here so maybe there is hope that They Thirst will be re-published one day).

Friday, 15 April 2011

James Thompson - Snow Angels

It's Kaamos in Finland, meaning its dark all day and night for weeks. During this time an immigrant film star is brutally murdered and mutilated. Detective Kari Vaara must investigate and bring the killer to justice but as he works deeper into the case he finds that things are getting a little too close to home.

I choose this book as part of the Criminal Plots Reading Challenge. This one is for the category “New-to-you Series” as this is the first in a series of books following Detective Kari Vaara.

The setting in Finland adds an interesting side to this story, with the freezing weather and the constant darkness making things more difficult than they would be elsewhere. It does paint a picture of lots of Fin’s being alcoholics though!

The plot was interesting with quite a few twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. I didn’t manage to work out who the killer was. I liked Detective Vaara. I thought he was an interesting and likeable character. The same cannot be said of his wife, Kate though! She was just constantly moaning and irritating!

This is a series that I will probably read more of but not one that I will be rushing to buy on release day.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Wayne Simmons - Flu

An outbreak of deadly flu kills of most of the population. Those that die soon rise as zombies, hungry for the flesh of the living. The few remaining survivors face a terrifying struggle to stay alive.

Flu drew me straight in from the start, it's fast paced and full of action. There is a good range of characters who Wayne Simmons has no problem killing off! I like that in a book, it keeps you on your toes, not knowing if your favourite character is going to make it or not.

I also enjoyed the Northern Ireland setting. I don't think I've read a book set there before. I believe there is a sequel coming out at some point so I will look forward to reading that and I'll also pick up some more Wayne Simmons at some point as well.