A weekend of suspense. Well, reading-wise anyway. Once again I've been grazing when it comes to books--in a good way and a bad way. A while back when I saw the title of one of Carl's posts, "I Can't Stop Starting Books", I had to file it away mentally as it describes perfectly how erratic my reading has become of late. Yes, that is me, too. It's not that I am not enjoying my books, it's that I am enjoying them too much, I think. I have this voracious appetite at the moment for really good stories (okay, maybe that is all the time actually), and really good stories right now means 'page-turners'. Stories that keep me on the edge of my seat and flipping pages as fast as I can go.
I'm cheating. This photo is actually from the weekend before this last. I will be writing about Frank Tallis's Vienna Blood in a day or two. I very much enjoyed it by the way. And the coffee was as delectable as it looked (cinnamon dolce latte . . . yum . . . an indulgence . . . must keep energy up in this cold weather).
But let me tell you what good things I've been reading over the past weekend.
After I finished Frank Tallis, I picked up Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes. (Many thanks by the way for the suggestions--they are also filed away for later consumption). All the blurbs tell me that this is "unputdownable", "tension to unbearable heights", "page-turning" and "gripping suspense", so my expectations are high and to be honest so far Haynes is delivering. I know her novel Into the Darkest Corner (I have a copy of that, too) is the book that put her on the reading map, but the setting of this one--a houseboat is Kent was too tempting to pass up. It's written in first person, and with this p.o.v. in a thriller I am always immediately suspicious.
Genevieve, a Londoner, has fulfilled a dream to buy a houseboat and fix it up. She saved enough money, quit her job (walked out really), and when the story opens is having a party with her London friends and fellow houseboat dwellers. It's not an easy mix really. After the night winds down and she is alone in bed she hears a thumping against her boat and goes to investigate (if this was a movie, at this point we'd all be saying--no, don't go there, right?). She expects some trash to have gotten caught between her boat and the dock and when she fishes it up it turns out to be the body of a woman. A woman she knows. That's the premise and what makes it so suspenseful are all the little details that make the reader realize there is something quite fishy going on--and not just murder. Oh, I don't want to tell you more--must save it for later when I write about it properly!
Then, for something a little different and perhaps just a little more tame I picked up Simone St. James's An Inquiry into Love and Death. I really liked her first book, The Haunting of Maddy Clare, and with her next book soon to be published (Silence for the Dead), I thought it was time to catch up. Her books seem to be firmly in the 'romantic suspense' category and remind me of Mary Stewart and Susanna Kearsley, both authors I like very much. St. James has her own slant, however, as she does ghost stories. They are more suspenseful and atmospheric than outright frightening, but I like the way she uses the power of suggestion in her books.
In this case it is the early 1920s and a young Oxford student is called to tie up the affairs of her uncle who died accidentally. He had an unusual job, essentially he was a ghost hunter. She travels down to the English coast believing it will be a quick trip to clear out her uncle's belongings but questions arise as to whether Toby fell accidentally to his death or if he was pushed. A rather dashing inspector from Scotland Yard is called in. Like Jillian, an oddity of the times with her independent ways and university education, Drew Merriken is somewhat war damaged, so the two may be an unlikely pair but feel a mutual attraction. I am thoroughly enjoying this one, too.
Approaching library due dates (every library user's dilemma) means I have once again had to do a book shuffle. Jennifer McMahon's The Winter People was the victor. This is a decidedly creepy read. I've only just started reading, so it's too soon to tell how the story will go, but it involves something called "sleepers", or ghosts who walk the earth. The story is told through diary excerpts in part. It begins in 1908 Vermont and concerns the death of a woman and her child, but I think it is going to move around in time a bit. So far I am liking it and finding it very absorbing.
Now I have another little dilemma. I have a few other 'obligation' reads this week that I need to turn my attention to, and these books call out to me, too. I think I will have to come up with some sort of reading rotation. Too bad there isn't a holiday that would open up a little free time for extra reading. So, I'll be fitting in my reading whenever and wherever I can this week!