Saturday, July 1, 2017

Crime Fiction Reading in June 2017

In June I began reading from my 20 Books of  Summer list (my list is HERE). Only five of my seven books read this month were from that list. The Big Killing was a carryover from my reading in May, and I purchased Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective in June so that I could read it prior to watching the TV series. So I am a bit behind on the list, but still doing well. I read three books from the 1990s and only one vintage mystery, published in 1937.

These are the seven books I read in June:

The Big Killing (1989) by Annette Meyers
Xenia Smith and Leslie Wetzon are executive headhunters located on Wall Street. This is the first of the mysteries featuring this team. Wetzon meets Barry Stark, a potential client, at the Four Seasons for lunch. He excuses himself for a moment; shortly after that, Leslie Wetzon finds his dead body in a telephone booth at the restaurant. Both Smith and Wetzon are very interested in the homicide cop, Silvestri, who is assigned to the murder. The main protagonist, Wetzon, was formerly a dancer on Broadway, and that side story lends the most interest to the story for me. 
Vanishing Act (1995) by Thomas Perry
I have only read two books by Thomas Perry, and I feel like I have found a new favorite author. The first was The Butcher's Boy, about a man who murders for hire, and a brilliant young analyst, Elizabeth Waring, who notices a pattern related to his crimes. Vanishing Act is the first in a series about Jane Whitefield, a Native American guide, who helps people in trouble find new identities and disappear. I will be reading more books by Thomas Perry later in the year.
Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective (1976) by Leslie Thomas
Dangerous Davies is a hapless detective with serious flaws who through patience and determination manages to solve the cases that he takes an interest in. The book was published in 1976 and Davies takes up the cold case of a teenage girl who disappeared in 1951. My review is HERE. I will continue reading the series (only 4 books) and watching the TV series.
The Man with the Getaway Face (1963) by Richard Stark
This is the 2nd book in the Parker series by Richard Stark (aka Donald E. Westlake). Parker is an amoral crook; Westlake wrote 24 books about him between 1962 and 2008. I find it hard to describe these books, so I am borrowing a paragraph from The University of Chicago Press, the publisher of the reprint edition: 
"Parker goes under the knife in The Man with the Getaway Face, changing his face to escape the mob and a contract on his life. Along the way he scores his biggest heist yet: an armored car in New Jersey, stuffed with cash."
Track of the Cat (1993) by Nevada Barr
Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr is a fine debut novel, the first in a series about Park Ranger Anna Pigeon. In this novel, Anna has a posting in Texas (the Guadalupe Mountains National Park). The book is a nature lover's delight, and Nevada spends a lot of time hiking in the park. Nevada is a loner, cranky, not much for socializing; a different kind of heroine. 
The Black Ice (1993) by Michael Connelly
The second novel in the Harry Bosch series starts on Christmas day; Harry is eating his Christmas dinner alone and is on call. That same night, he ends up in a motel room where the dead body of Narcotics detective Calexico Moore has been discovered; or so they assume, since the body has been in the room for weeks and is in bad shape. The investigation into how Moore died takes Harry to Mexico.

Busman's Honeymoon (1937) by Dorothy Sayers
This is the last novel in Dorothy Sayers' series about Lord Peter Wimsey. After five years of being wooed by Peter, Harriet Vane has finally said yes, and we get a peek at the wedding planning, the nuptials, but most of all their first few days of marriage at Talboys, where a dead body is discovered.


Anonymous said...

I liked that Jane Whitefield series very much by Thomas Perry.
And, Nevada Barr, what can I say? My favorite park ranger. The books take place in different national parks and are often very educational as well as just fun.
And Anna Pigeon is a real character -- in more ways than one. She's a complicated personality.
Her latest venture at Boar Island, Maine, is a good one, too.

And although I've read several of the Harry Bosch books by Michael Connelly, I haven't read The Black Ice. If I ever have time, I will.

pattinase (abbott) said...

What a great month of reading. Always liked the Nevada Barr books but haven't read one in years.

Anonymous said...

You did have a good reading month, Tracy. I like the balance in your reading very much.

Cath said...

I've only read 3 or 4 of the Anna Pigeon books but have enjoyed them all immensely. That first one is *excellent*. I have Busman's Honeymoon is on my tbr pile.

TracyK said...

I know I am going to like more books in the Jane Whitefield series, Kathy, and the first one was very very good.

The Nevada Barr mystery was a surprise to me, and I will trying more of them. Anna Pigeon is an interesting character, not what I expected.

TracyK said...

It was a very good month, Patti. I don't know why I put off reading this Nevada Barr series so long.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Margot. In the past I have read more vintage mysteries, but recently I am catching up on newer series.

TracyK said...

Cath, I am glad to hear more praise of the Anna Pigeon series. Busman's Honeymoon was a reread for me, and I maybe did not like it as much the 2nd time, but still a good read.

Anonymous said...

I really must read Thomas Perry. Been meaning to for years. Good reading month for you, Tracy --Keishon

TracyK said...

I have been planning to read some of Perry's books for years also, Keishon, and finally got around to it. Very glad I did.

col2910 said...

I love Perry, Stark and Connelly, but haven't read any for at least a couple of years now. Never enough time for me!

TracyK said...

You have been reading a lot of new authors, Col, and I am sure that they appreciate it.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tracy, I have had several occasions to read Leslie Thomas but for some reason never read his novels. He was very prolific.

TracyK said...

I did see that he had written lots of books, Prashant. Some of them sound interesting.

Clothes In Books said...

I'm always impressed by your lists, you always have a great and varied collection, a mixture of books I've read and ones I'm intrigued by. I have a faint memory of the headhunter mystery from the late 80s, I must look up to see if I ever read that one. Was it part of a series?

TracyK said...

Thanks, Moira. The headhunter book is part of a series, about eight books I think. I wasn't that thrilled with this first book in the series, but I have at least one more I am determined to read and there is one that features a Broadway show (I think) that sounded good.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember the names of the books at this point, but one book with Anna Pigeon takes place in an underground cave -- and this park ranger has claustrophobia. Interesting.

Also, another one that takes place among Indigenous peoples' ruins where a huge fire breaks out is interesting, too. I learned a lot about fire-fighting in that situation.

And, I'm excited about Michael Connelly starting a new series featuring a woman cop. While I don't always think male writers write about women protagonists realistically, I'm going to give Connelly the benefit of the doubt and read, "The Late Show." My library has it now.

TracyK said...

Kathy, I am very interested in the two books about fires and fire-fighting (I had read that there were two). We have fires nearly here all the time, although less lately. But we have one really nearby right now. One year we had three fires nearby and a co-worker lost his house in one of them. And a long-time co-worker worked for years as a seasonal firefighter in Alaska putting himself through college. So he had told me a lot about firefighting.

I had heard about that new Michael Connelly series and I will be giving it a chance too. It would be good to get in at the beginning.

Anonymous said...

One of Nevada Barr's books deals with a horrific, large fire. I don't remember the name but her blog can tell you.

And Australian writer, Adrian Hyland, wrote a non-fiction book about a horrendous fire near where he lives. It sounds good if one wants to read about fire-fighting and a community coping.

TracyK said...

Thanks for those suggestions, Kathy. I have had Hyland on a list to read for a while now but I don't have any books by him. Will have to seek some out. I don't know if I would prefer fiction or non-fiction about a fire. I have read at least one non-fiction book by a firefighter.