Reading May…It’s been a busy month of reading. I don’t usually get through four books in four weeks, but something happens when I read crime fiction. I am compelled to keep reading even when my eyelids start to droop. Its just a matter of time before the book falls, waking me just enough to know I have to keep reading. I might reread the one paragraph over and over, reproving myself with an: I’ve already read this bit, until I begrudgingly turn out the light and fall straight to sleep.
I became a lover of the crime genre when I had small children and finding the time to read became a bit of a challenge. Novels that required brainpower just weren’t an option. Either I was exhausted or just had too many things going on to accept the challenge of literature. Once a habit forms it hard to break and so I remain a committed crime lover. This month I’ve excelled and read three, with a little bit of Colm Tóibín thrown in at the end to break the habit.
Nele Neuhaus’s, To Catch A Killer, is her fourth novel set in Frankfurt’s homicide unit. Chief Inspector Pia Kirchoff and Chief Superintendent Oliver von Bodenstein are once again front and centre in the Department’s efforts to solve the seemingly random murders that occur over the Christmas / New Year period. I love these books because they are intense, not just the ongoing plot development but also the subject matter that comes to light, leaving you questioning medical protocols and procedures. You really don’t need to read the first three to enjoy number 4, but they are such good reads, you might as well.
Next came Lee Child’s, Make Me. Another Jack Reacher novel where there is so much violence and destruction carried out by one individual in order to save the day, it leaves you wondering how they are still alive. For me, there is so little reality between these pages that it becomes a fun read that has those pages turning. Admittedly I am totally naïve about the dark regions of the Internet, (actually I didn’t even know they existed, do they?) so maybe it’s an insightful dose of truth and I should be scared.
And then came Sophie Hannah’s, The Narrow Bed…is the waiting grave. Once again Simon Waterhouse, Charlie Zailer and the rest of the Culver Valley detectives set about tracking the killer who is terrorising the community. Of the three crime books, this is the novel that takes the most effort to read. It moves between third person narratives, emails, parts of memoir written by one the characters, and New Age story extracts. Keeping up with what’s going on means you have to concentrate just a little bit more, but it’s well worth it.
After reading three crime novels back to back, I’d finally had enough. Colm Tóibín’s, The South, brought the heart rate down and took me into the life of Katherine Proctor. Leaving behind her husband, son and Irish home, she travels to post civil war Spain where she builds a new life. The novel spans a several decades, and explores her relationships, her work as a painter, and the eventual reconciliation with her son. Katherine’s life is fairly miserable, leaving me questioning the decisions she makes in light of the fact that she showed such strength to leave Ireland in the first place. I flew through the first three books, loving every heart stopping moment, whereas this was a much slower paced and considered read.
My book of the month has to be To Catch A Thief, closely followed by The Narrow Bed. These two have lots of twists and turns that keep you on your toes. Intense and readable, or maybe just intensely readable. But then again, when I read a Jack Reacher book, I can’t help but see Hugh Jackman in the lead role – the rugged yet bedraggled Hugh Jackman we saw in Eddie the Eagle. (I’m sorry but Tom Cruise just didn’t cut it with his attempt to bring Jack Reacher to the big screen. The imagery just didn’t ring true.) But I don’t think you can judge a book on the imagination of the reader. Too bad, that puts Make Me in third.