The past week has been filled with a beautiful snow-covered mountain landscape, a continuously roaring fireplace, a gigantic oversized sweatshirt, and the inability to stop sneezing! One of the few good things about having a cold is the opportunity to be incapacitated with only the ability to catch up on all the television you’ve been missing and highly addictive plotty page-turners that usually fall to the sideline. Below, is an overview of what I’ve been up to for the week that I was sick.
Kate Atkinson has a good many books under her belt, whether it be her award winning fiction to her incredible popular detective series featuring private dick, Jackson Brodie. Case Histories is the first in the series featuring the aforementioned sleuth. Like the title suggests, this novel is all about case histories, three to be exact. The cases span the past three decades but all seem to end up on Brodie’s doorstep. Atkinson’s narrative gets really involved with these twisty turny plots and I rather enjoyed reading about each case history and then finally getting the real truth in the last third. Atkinson had a way of propelling each story forward and weaving the three cases through the present day narrative.
Thanks to PBS and Carole Barrowman’s rec, I googled Peter Robinson and found a whole slew of books featuring DCI Alan Banks. The British-Canadian novelist has been going strong with this series since 1987! Aftermath was brutal, not my usual fare, but I was completely hooked. The book was structure interestingly: the culprit or culprits have already been captured for their crimes and now the rest of the novel proceeds in the aftermath. Like I mentioned, the crimes were brutal and stark (I’ve never been a fan of shows like CSI; too much disembodied sperm, disembodied limbs for my liking) but the plot had momentum and the narrative was written quite well. This book was smack-dab in the middle of the series and Robinson did a good job incorporating vital past info without making the story cumbersome. Robinson also writes about the background and inspiration for the story on his website.
I should admit that I haven’t yet finished Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman but I will! I am a latecomer to the Scandinavian lit that is all the rage these past years and Nesbø’s thriller is certainly an interesting one. It unfairly suffers from coming right after my Peter Robinson read that was so enjoyable and of course it is a hard act to follow. I do have to say it took me a few chapters to get into the groove of The Snowman (which might have been due to a shaky start with the English translation) but once I did, it started to move forward. Out of the three, this seemed the most cinematic. I am curious to know if he was writing this with movie deals in mind. The Norwegian landscape in the novel is bold and a huge part of the setting. Nesbø does a really good job of taking an everyday image–a snowman–and making it horrifying. The reader knows something is afoot whenever the narrative lens takes a turn toward this image. I’m looking forward to finally having a chance to finish it up. There is also a 6 minute audio clip at Wikipedia from Bookbits radio featuring Jo Nesbø talking about the book.