Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reading in June and Crime Fiction Pick of the Month

In June I read a total of eight books. I read one non-fiction book, and two fantasy novels. Both of the fantasies had elements of crime fiction. And one of my favorite reads was a police procedural in an apocalyptic setting. Another good reading month.

The non-fiction book I read this month was Don't Know Much About Literature. I was disappointed in this book. The subtitle is "What You Need to Know but Never Learned About Great Books and Authors" and it supplied little that I needed to know or wanted to know about literature.

I usually love any book about books, this one did not do it for me. To quote a review at Goodreads that says it very well:
While I typically devour books about books and I have enjoyed Davis’s other books, the “quiz” format of DKMA Literature just didn’t work. It was literally too trivial and didn’t offer any quality information on literary topics or authors.
I got the impression from that review and others that the format is different from other books of the same series, and I have not tried any of those.

These are the books I read, with links to reviews...
  1. Kaleidoscope by J. Robert Janes
  2. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
  3. Don't Know Much About Literature by Kenneth C. Davis
  4. Death Wore White by Jim Kelly
  5. Daemons Are Forever by Simon R. Green
  6. The Last Policeman by Ben Winters
  7. The Mugger by Ed McBain
  8. The Pusher by Ed McBain
Two of these books stood out for me, Rivers of London and The Last Policeman.

Rivers of London is a cross-genre novel, blending fantasy and crime fiction. Most often I have seen it categorized as Urban Fantasy. The main character is a policeman and is actively investigating crimes so it also fits the definition of a police procedural. It is humorous and fun.

The Last Policeman is the story of a policeman, Detective Hank Palace, pursuing a homicide case in a pre-apocalyptic world. In a world where many people are abandoning their jobs or changing their entire lives, Hank is stubbornly investigating an incident that every one else thinks is suicide. That one was compelling and thought-provoking.

I could go for a tie, but I think I need to make a choice. I loved both of them for different reasons, but I guess my favorite book of the month is The Last Policeman. And later, when I am able to read the next book in each of these series, I will see how those compare.

12 comments:

  1. Good going, Tracy! I like reading books about books too. It's a pity that "Don't Know Much About Literature" didn't live up to your expectation. What great books and authors does Davis talk about?

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    1. Prashant, I hardly remember, which shows how useful it was (for me). It did include Pablo Neruda, Chinua Achebe, both of which I know little about. I think Kafka. Definitely Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird. But all trivia type information, nothing substantial. He doesn't really talk about the authors in most cases. It wasn't horrible for the bargain price I paid, but not worth anymore than that.

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  2. Tracy - One of the things I always admire about your reads is their variety. And I have to admit I've not read Rivers of London. I don't generally go for urban fantasy-type books, but you've got me interested in that one...

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    1. I did get variety this month, Margot. I think you would like Rivers of London. Although it fits the general definition of urban fantasy, it really isn't like most of the books I have read about in that genre. Probably giving it a label is a negative here. It is closer to Harry Potter for adults, and funnier. In my opinion.

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  3. Not too much in common with my reading in the past while.
    I am tempted to try for McBain, but OCD means I will be starting at no. 1. Kelly and Winters are possibles, at a push Aaronovitch.....deep sigh, much to ponder.

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    1. Col, I also have a desire to read series in order, where possible. And for the 87th Precinct, I think it is especially nice, because the people's lives change... or so I have heard. I would definitely recommend Ben Winters highly but you have a lot of other books that are just as good, I am sure.

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  4. I keep meaning to read The Last Policeman!

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    1. Rebecca, I wanted to read it because I heard such good things about it, and it lived up to its reputation. Just an amazing read. It was one book I wanted to be longer.

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  5. 'The Last Policeman' is a great novel, Tracy. Glad you liked it.

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    1. Yes, Sarah, Last Policeman is one of my favorites of the year, so far.

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  6. I read all three of the Rivers of London books in a binge for Carl's Once Upon a Time fantasy books challenge. Loved them to bits and a new one is out soon I think, or maybe later in the year. They just get better and better. The Last Policeman I have not heard of and plan to check it out later.

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    1. Cath, I am looking forward to reading all the rest of the Rivers of London books. I had forgotten that he has written a fourth one. Even more to look forward to. The Last Policeman is very good and very different and thought provoking.

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