Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reading in March and Pick of the Month

In March I read six books. I didn't have any specific goals for my reading in March. I have planned to read some Very Long Books, and I did read one of those. I joined the Once Upon a Time Challenge, hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings, and read my first fantasy novel for that challenge. 

My reading for March...

After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson
Touchstone by Laurie R. King
The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer
In the Heat of the Night by John Ball
Locked In by Kerry Wilkinson
Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

The Crime Fiction Pick of the Month meme is hosted at Mysteries in Paradise. Bloggers link to a summary post for the month, and identify a crime fiction best read of the month.

Often it is hard to settle on one of my crime fiction reads as a favorite, and this month was no different. I had two favorites so I will feature both

Touchstone (2007), by Laurie R. King, is set in the UK in 1926. The story centers around the weeks leading up to the general strike. Harris Stuyvesant is an agent of the United States Justice Department's Bureau of Investigation, and he has arrived in England to track down the man responsible for terrorist bombings in the US. I liked the writing, the characters, and the setting. This was the long book I read this month, at nearly 550 pages. However, there is no part of it that I would have cut.

The Cairo Affair (Olen Steinhauer) is a spy thriller, which takes place during the activities of the Arab Spring, in February 2011. Sophie Kohl's husband Emmett is killed while they are sitting in a restaurant, Sophie seeks the reasons for his death in Cairo, where he was previously assigned to the American Embassy. Along the way, three other characters get pulled into the quest: Stan Bertolli, a CIA agent in Cairo; Omar Halawi, who works in Egyptian intelligence; and John Calhoun, a contractor working for CIA agents in Cairo. 

I loved the structure of this novel, with the point of view changing focus several times throughout the story, and the story moving back and forth in time. The characterization in the novel is very good. As usual in spy novels, no one knows who they can trust.


Anonymous said...

Tracy - What I like about your selections is, as always, the variety. I admire the way you don't limit yourself to one genre. Thanks for sharing your picks of the month.

col2910 said...

Sounds like you had a good month Tracy. Two standouts for me - Ball obviously and Steinhauer which I'm reading and loving at the minute myself. Enjoy April!

TracyK said...

Thanks, Margot. I venture outside of my chosen mystery genres when I get good recommendations. Otherwise I am timid in my reading.

TracyK said...

Col, glad you are like The Cairo Affair. Steinhauer writes so well.

Clothes In Books said...

I'd read two of yours (the King and the McPherson), and now you've reminded me I was going to look up Stenihauer, mabye look at his earlier books.

Anonymous said...

I only read Touchstone and was not as positive about it as you are. However, I am tempted to read the Steinhauer, although I have never read a spy thriller in my life. Right now, I am so upset about what is going on in Egypt (sentencing 529 people to death in one fell swoop) and outlawing of all political protest, that I almost can't bear to read about that country. But I may try this book, given the good reviews.

I am also tempted to read a book by McPherson and one by Wilkinson. But the TBR list is humongous, just got library books, with a lot more on reserve, received one in the mail from a writer and another one from a bookseller. And I'm determined to cut down more on my stacks, which are all over this place.

TracyK said...

Kathy, If you try the Steinhauer, I hope you like it. I do understand about the TBR list growing and growing. I try to be reasonable and not buy more books, but don't succeed as well as I would like.

TracyK said...

Moira, I am a huge fan of Steinhauer's books. I have liked all of them, but I just loved his first series of five connected books (different protagonists but the same group of characters) . His first book was The Bridge of Sighs.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tracy, Laurie R. King is one of the authors from your list that I plan to read. I'm interested by the storyline of TOUCHSTONE. I don't mind 500-plus pages for this kind of a book.

TracyK said...

Prashant, I do think you would like Touchstone. Your kind of book.