Sunday, May 5, 2019

Six Degrees of Separation: from The Dry to Bluffing Churchill


The Six Degrees of Separation meme is hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavoriteandbest. The idea behind the meme is to start with a book and use common points between two books to end up with links to six other books, forming a chain. Every month she provides the title of a book as the starting point.

The starting point this month is The Dry by Jane Harper. I know very little about this book except that it is a crime fiction book that was incredibly successful for a debut novel. And it is set in Australia.




My first link is to another book set in Australia, On the Beach by Nevil Shute. I just finished reading that book last night, and it was a fantastic read. This is a post-apocalypse story, a sub-genre I do enjoy reading now and then. The book was published in 1957 and was set just a few years later than that.


My next book in the chain is another apocalyptic story, but this time with a contemporary  setting. The Last Policeman is the story of a policeman, Detective Hank Palace, pursuing a homicide case in a pre-apocalyptic world. It has been confirmed that an asteroid heading towards earth and human life on earth will end. 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 book leads me to another book with a similar title.  Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective by Leslie Thomas is about an alcoholic, bumbling detective, who is assigned a cold case that he pursues with determination. Davies lives in a boarding house, where his best friend Mod also has a room. Davies' wife also lives there but they are in different rooms. Davies has a dog (large, old and cranky), that lives in the back seat of his car. It is a very weird and humorous story, published in 1976.

There are many other mystery series that feature a detective and his dog, but I have read none of them. However, in Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, Jackson Brodie rescues a dog from a man who is abusing him. I read this one back in 2011 and don't remember a lot of the story, but there are several threads that come together in the end.


My next book is by the same author: Life after Life. This book, published in 2013, is not a mystery, and it has an unusual structure. Ursula, the heroine, lives her life over and over. Sort of like the plot of the film Groundhog Day, but not. Ursula is born in 1910 and the book continues to some point in the 1960s; thus, the reader experiences the Blitz and Germany under Hitler.

My final book in the chain is Bluffing Mr. Churchill by John Lawton, set in 1941 London during the Blitz. This fourth book in the Inspector Frederick Troy series combines espionage and World War II. Published as Riptide in the UK.


So my chain took me from Australia to London, England during World War II, by way of two post-apocalyptic novels. And two books in the chain were not crime fiction, so a little variety.

Next month the starting book for the chain will be Murmur By Will Eaves.


12 comments:

  1. I've actually read all of these: great collection and great links for your chain...

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    1. Thanks, Moira. The connections worked well and easily, and I got to spotlight some of my favorite authors.

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  2. Nice chain, Tracy. The Dry was good, and worth your time. My wife liked the Last Policeman novels (a trilogy, I believe).

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    1. I do have a copy of The Dry that I found at the book sale last year, Rick, and plan to read it. I read all of the Last Policeman novels and liked them a lot, also.

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  3. I haven't been here for some 'check-in's in a long time!...So here I am again! I've been busy trying to understand of all things...poetry!
    I see you've read one of my favorites On The Beach.
    I did not know what to expect from this book. I discovered that Shute’s writing style is calm and without the ‘shock effects’ one would expect in apocalyptic fiction. Still, the narrative is absolutely chilling to read!

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    1. I enjoy poetry sometimes, Nancy, but there are times when I don't understand it. That is a good description of On the Beach... chilling.

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  4. These are fun. I wish more people would join...

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    1. I agree, Davida. They take me a while to do so I can't do them every month, but I do enjoy putting them together.

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  5. Great choices, Tracy. I like the variety in them. And you've reminded me that I haven't read much by Atkinson recently. I need to re-acquaint myself with her work; she's so talented.

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    1. Margot, I would like to read some of Atkinson's early books, and I have two of her more recent books on my TBR pile.

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  6. Jane Harper is the only one of these authors who I have read. I do have a copy of The Dry somewhere and something by John Lawton. Pretty sure I remember seeing Dangerous Davies on TV many years ago. I never could decide whether Leslie Thomas' work would appeal to me or not, so never took the plunge on any of his books. At one point you used to trip over copies of his "Virgin Soldiers" in second hand bookshops.

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    1. I don't know if you would like the Dangerous Davies series, Col. I would definitely read more books in the series if I ran into them. I do plan to read The Dry by Jane Harper someday.

      I think the John Lawton series is fantastic (and I don't think it makes much difference where you start reading them). It is not specifically espionage but has enough of that to keep me interesting.

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