I love a good mystery, and many of my favourite authors have extended series. Three recent books are interesting page turners which keep you guessing. I have to caution you to read these in order though, so if you don’t know these great authors, you’re in for a treat (and a lot of summer reading!) These also have some brutal moments not for the faint of heart. Field of Prey by John Sandford is the 24th installment of the Lucas Davenport series. It’s all there, the same cast, the same plot, still in Minnesota, but the same scary suspense that keeps you reading to the end. It won’t disappoint his loyal following, but some days I am glad I no longer live in Minnesota. This time the violence was a bit over the top for me and there were a few glaring holes/oddities. While I enjoyed the character development of Letty, his daughter, (to the point where I suspect she will be the main character?!) it was hard to believe she was allowed on site. I didn’t find many moments of comic relief and a more than a few odd details (really Lucas? Karma?). I enjoy the Flowers series more, even with similar depressingly accurate criminal tendencies. This felt like watching the new Fargo: too real and too unpleasant. But hundreds of five star reviews on amazon.
And why aren’t there hundreds of five star reviews for Christopher Brookmyre mysteries?! His intense police procedurals take place in Glasgow Scotland with two principle characters: DS Catherine McLeod and PI Jasmine Sharp. The third in the series Bred in the Bone has just been published (read Where the Bodies are Buried and When the Devil Dances!) and is an excellent, clever and twisted intelligent mystery, well researched, perfect portrayal of Glasgow criminal underworld (not as dark as Denise Mina’s mysteries) and has a fine sense of black comedy/humor. The Glasgow patter/slang may confuse you a bit, but it is an accurate, insightful portrayal mixing social commentary, politics and riveting action. I find the complex plots rewarding, but the character development also makes reading them in order important. I love the writing and language, at home with blether, craich, wee dram, jakey, polis, dodgems, and the places (Dunfermline’s Alhambra, Crammond, spooky woods and the steamie).
“This is Glasgow, we don’t do subtle.”
“…Beware the vengeance of a patient man.”
“When you’re living in a jungle, it helps if you have friends among the predators.”
If you like Ian Rankin or Val McDermid, both top notch Scottish crime writers, you will enjoy this. And he has written a number of other books (I love his titles too- e.g Quite Ugly One Morning).
And then there are series that have made the move to television. The 8th Walt Longmire mystery is also now in bookstores, just as season 3 is about to appear on A&E. And while I am addicted to the program, I love the books. I think Any Other Name is Craig Johnson’s best yet. Really. BUT with the character development and overlapping cases, you should read this series in order. This time he is helping his crusty old boss (still with pistol in hand) Lucian Connally solve a suicide of a friend/colleague, but he has a crucial deadline to solve it before the birth of his first grandchild. I love Walt’s idiosyncrasies, the deadpan humor, the walking encyclopedia, and Dog. And while bad things happen, there is a warmth and sense of humanity that made this a great reading experience. And it is much better than the tv. Walt is the stuff of Wyoming legend and this book doesn’t disappoint on any page.
Summer reading begins!