July 31, 17.10pm
I went home for the first time in three weeks over the weekend - the house is being rebuilt and is uninhabitable - and found holiday gifts from the heavens waiting amidst the usual bills and crap that comes through the door.
I've not been especially impressed with what's on offer at many of the bookstores I've visited looking for holiday reading. Having decided to avoid the cost and weight of hardbacks has ruled out the latest John Harvey, Mark Billingham and Peter Robinson and nothing else has caught my eye.
So it was unadulterated joy to find books new titles from Laura Lippman and Michael Connelly on the doorstep and my line-up is now more or less complete.
- No Good Deeds by Laura Lippman. I started reading Laura Lippman's books because they are set in Baltimore, a city I spent some time in as a kid, having relatives in suburban Maryland. I continue with them because they are just so readable. Lippman's tells a grand mystery tale - In a Strange City, a Poe-related story is one of my favourite mystery stories ever - and her detective, Tess Monaghan, is as engaging a character as there is out there. (She's a sort of east coast Kinsey Milhone, for those who like Sue Grafton). My only problem with these books is Crow, Tess' boyfriend who just seems so unlikely. I really don't like him, but it may just be jealousy. The blurb makes No Good Deeds look like another good story; just about right for the poolside.
- Echo Park by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch is fast becoming one of the grand old men of the crime fiction scene. This is his 12th outing with Harry now working the cold case/unsolved files alongside former partner Kiz. Because he's been around such a long time, Bosch is one of the more complex detectives out there and the novels, good stories all, are made by the intensity of his desire to get the bad guys and not to be corrupted by the bureaucracy and moral ambiguity of the LAPD. I am confident this will be another high quality outing, and while those readers who came to Connelly through his last excellent Grishamesque courtroom drama (The Lincoln Lawyer) might be better off starting a it further back in the series, Bosch devotees are likely to love it.
- A Strange Affair by Peter Robinson. You don't hear a lot about Peter Robinson, he's not a celeb in the way that Ian Rankin has become, and I don't recall ever reading or hearing an interview. But quietly his Alan Banks series has taken him into the first division of British crime writers, on a par with Rankin and the like. This one was published well over a year ago and I'm not entirely sure why I haven't got to it before this. But better later than never.