Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reading in February 2015 and Pick of the Month



I started out the year reading nine books in January. In February I slowed down and read six books. Somewhat intentionally, but partly because work is a bear and my mind needs to rest more at night. Two of the books were non-fiction and four were mystery novels.

Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel by Barbara Gregorich is described thusly at Goodreads: "For those contemplating writing a mystery novel and those who have written one or more but are looking for fresh and invigorating insights into the approach, Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel provides an overall view of how to think like a writer in general and a mystery writer in particular." I have no plans to write a mystery novel but I am interested in the process, so when the author asked me to review the book, I agreed. It was an enlightening read and enjoyable too. Review to come soon.

What Makes this Book So Great by Jo Walton was also enlightening and enjoyable, so it was a good reading month for non-fiction. I love books about books and I have enjoyed reading some of Jo Walton's books. This book gathers a selection of Walton's posts at Tor.com between July 2008 to February 2011. The majority of those posts are about re-reading fantasy novels. But there are some wonderful pieces included here about reading in general. A review will follow (sometime).


These are the mysteries I read this month. Only two of them have been reviewed here. I still have reviews from December and January to catch up on.

Dancing with the Virgins by Stephen Booth

Cookie's Case by Andy Siegel

Murder in the Raw by William Campbell Gault

Too Late to Die by Bill Crider


I had a difficult decision picking a favorite between Murder in the Raw (1955) and Too Late to Die (1986). The two books were written about 30 years apart but there are some parallels between them.


Both books feature male sleuths with few hangups and fairly normal lives. OK, Brock Callahan is a former professional football star and he is setting up as a PI in Beverly Hills, California, but still he is a decent guy trying to make an honest living. The authors do a great job of evoking a sense of place. Too Late to Die features Dan Rhodes, who is up for reelection to the job of Sheriff of Blacklin County, Texas. The action takes in several small towns in that area. Each book is the first in a series and I am eager to continue reading both series. So both of the books will share the honor of Pick of the Month.


The Crime Fiction Pick of the Month meme is hosted at Mysteries in Paradise. You can go HERE to see other posts and choices for favorite crime fiction reads.



16 comments:

  1. Tracy, I intend to read Bill Crider's work this year, perhaps a Dan Rhodes book or two. Bill is an author I ought to have read much earlier.

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    1. I look forward to hearing what you think about his books, Prashant. I think they would appeal to you.

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  2. Two new series ...and they both sound great! Putting them on the list!
    Reading 1e book in series of Earst Fandorin ...Russian sleuth in Boris Aukinin's 'The Winter Queen"...and I love it! Best #CrimeFiction in English...I've read so far....( only my 4th book!) French great read was 'Alex' by Lemaitre.

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    1. Nancy, I have not read Alex yet, but I plan to someday. I did read The Winter Queen years ago. I look forward to your post on it.

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  3. I think Crider, closely followed by Siegel would be the two that interest me most. Looking forward to your Crider review.

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    1. Col, I hope to review the Crider book soon. I am behind on reviews but I don't always review in the order read.

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  4. Always nice when you discover a couple of good new crime series to follow up on. I loved What Makes this Book so Great too. Books about books are so relaxing to read. Congrats on a good reading month!

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    1. It was a good reading month, Cath. I liked everything I read. The great thing about book about books is that you can refer back to them over and over.

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  5. So glad you enjoyed the Crider as much as you did, Tracy. I think he's got a lot of talent. And I respect the way you've got both fiction and non-fiction in your mix here.

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    1. I often have a non-fiction book going, Margot, but sometimes it takes me a long time to finish them. I was glad I finally read my first book by Crider.

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  6. A good haul there TracyK - which reminds me, time for me to sample some Bill Crider!

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    1. Just with one book I have tried, I would say Crider is well worth sampling, Sergio. Let me know what you think, when you do read one of his books.

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  7. Your two non-fiction books sound particularly intriguing....

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    1. Yes, Moira, both of them were very good and different.

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  8. Can't wait to hear about the guide to writing mysteries. I think I need some help :-)

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    1. Sarah, from the point of view of one who loves to read mysteries, it was a great book. It definitely makes it clear how much work it is to write a mystery novel.

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