Sunday, March 31, 2013

Reading in March and Mystery Pick of the Month

In March I read ten books. I really don't know why I am reading more this year. It is not like I am neglecting other activities. Maybe, in general, the books are shorter.

Again, this month I read a few non-mysteries. I read one book that is categorized as fantasy: The Courts of Chaos by Roger Zelazny. I read two non-fiction books, both from the Book Lust series by Nancy Pearl: More Book Lust and Book Lust to Go. More Book Lust was a reread, but Book Lust To Go was new to me. I had purchased that one specifically to find books, especially mysteries, set in various locations. I enjoyed both of them.

Crime fiction is my favorite genre and I read seven mysteries in March. Only one vintage mystery again this month. One vintage mystery a month is OK, but I do hope to pick up the pace in future months. Of the seven mystery authors, five authors were new to me. Two authors were old favorites: Agatha Christie and Olen Steinhauer.

The mysteries I read this month are:
  1. The Loyal Servant by Eva Hudson
  2. Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt
  3. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
  4. Deadly Appearances by Gail Bowen
  5. Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland
  6. Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer
  7. A Stone of the Heart by John Brady 
The Crime Fiction Pick of the Month meme is hosted at Mysteries in Paradise. Bloggers link to summary posts for the month, and identify a crime fiction best read of the month. Check out the link here to see the other bloggers picks.

Again I cannot decide on one pick. My favorites this month are the last two books that I read: Nearest Exit and A Stone of the Heart. They are each in one of my favorite sub-genres of crime fiction. Unfortunately, I have not reviewed either of them yet. 

Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer is spy fiction. It is the second book in a trilogy; the first book is titled The Tourist. I think this book would mainly appeal to those who enjoy spy fiction, because it features the same major themes as most spy fiction: moral ambiguity in the spy's life and the inability to trust anyone.  However, the trilogy also involves a spy with a family, which threatens to affect his ability to be effective in his job.

A Stone of the Heart by John Brady is a police procedural. Like some books of that sub-genre, it goes much deeper and examines the character of the policeman and how his family and his environment affect his ability to do his job. The setting is primarily Dublin, Ireland in the late 1980's. Thus the unrest and violence in Ireland at the time is a part of the story.

These two books both deal with families and relationships, and I enjoy books that combine these themes with a mystery.


Bill Selnes said...

TracyK.: I have read Forty Words of Sorrow, Deadly Appearances and Nearest Exit. All were excellent books. You have had a strong reading month. For A Stone of the Heart to be better than the two Canadian books it must be a great book. I shall have to keep an eye out for it.

Peggy Ann said...

A Stone of the Heart is one I'll be looking for!

Anonymous said...

Tracy - Like Bill, I'm a fan of both Blunt's and Bowen's work. So if Nearest Exit beats those out, it's definitely one for my list. Thanks and I'm glad you had such a good reading month.

TracyK said...

I was lucky to read a lot of great books this month. Really hard to pick a clear favorite, to be honest.

Although John Brady was born in Dublin, he has lived in Canada for a long time. A Stone of the Heart won the Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel, and several later novels in the series were finalists for the Arthur Ellis award for best novel.

TracyK said...

It was a good read, I think you will like it.

TracyK said...

Giles Blunt's book was well written and good characterization, but the graphic violence was beyond my ability to enjoy. It has put me off serial killer books in general for a while.

I have a love of spy fiction for some reason, unbelievable as most of it is. And Olen Steinhauer does it very well.

Sarah said...

I love spy fiction. I can't wait for the review Tracy.

TracyK said...

Sarah, I anticipate it will be a hard review to write, without revealing too much about the previous book.

col2910 said...

Tracy, I can't claim to have read any of these though the Blunt and all 3 of the Steihnauer trilogy are waiting for me.

TracyK said...

I will be interested in seeing what you think of the books by Blunt and Steinhauer. I have read all of Steinhauer's fiction, except for the last in the trilogy. Loved them all.

RebeccaK said...

I liked Deadly Appearances, and I have The Loyal Servant on my Kindle. Your monthly roundup always gives me more interesting books to check out. Glad you had a good reading month!

TracyK said...

Hope you enjoy The Loyal Servant. I plan to read the next book in that series in the next month or two.