Previous reviews are at Mack Pitches Up

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Two books read but not reviewed

I want to document what I read but not everything I read fits into the reason for this blog. Here are two book recently finished but for which I don't care to write a full-on review.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
HarperCollins, 2008. ISBN 978-0-06-053092. 311 pages. Illustrated.
Winner of 2009 Newbery Medal.

I don't read as much fantasy as I once did but if Neil Gaiman wrote the copy for a cereal box I'd read it. The Sandman series started me on the road to fandom and novels such as Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett!) and Neverwhere confirmed my status.

Stephen Cobert read a portion of the beginning of this book
There was a hand in the darkness and it held a knife. The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper that any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.

The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.

and asked Gaiman what happened to "Once upon a time there were four little rabbits ..." It is a terrific beginning for a story albeit perhaps a bit grim for a juvenile book. In the end this is an interesting and even uplifting story of a boy raised by ghosts in a cemetery after his family is killed by a member of a mysterious assassins guild. It has death and sacrifice and letting go of the past and moving on. I quite enjoyed it.

Promises in Death by J. D. Robb.
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2009. ISBN 978-0-399-15548-2. 342 pages.

The In Death... series is my guilty pleasure. While this is the 28 novel, only about a year and a half have passed in time since the first, Naked in Death. This time a fellow cop has been killed, a detective recently transferred in from Atlanta who was also in a serious relationship with Chief Medical Examiner Morris.

Robb does an excellent job growing the relationship between Lt. Eve Dallis and her gorgeous and obscenely rich husband Roark. In the beginning it didn't take much for their equally strong personalities take offense and spoil for a fight. In Promises in Death, Eve is noticeably more comfortable in her marriage and she and Roark have achieved a balance and acceptance of each other. Robb also introduces a bit more back story from the pasts of Eve and Roark. I wonder if she has something really huge in mind.

I enjoy the books as much, or possibly more, for the snappy dialog and banter and the diverse group of friends and colleagues with whom she interacts as the story itself.

I enjoyed it.

3 comments:

Bernadette in Australia said...

I should get back into the Eve and Roarke novels. I read a bunch of them one after the other a few years ago and enjoyed Robb's view of the future, Eve's temper and Roarke's sense of fun. I got a bit bored though from reading too many in a row. I have since learned not to do that and think I would enjoy re-visiting them.

Dorte H said...

They sound fun. I review anything I like on my blog - and keep my fingers crossed that some of my colleagues will never find it ;)

Mack said...

Bernadette, every 6 months is a good schedule for reading this series. Robb publishes 2 a year.

Dorte, I will be using this blog for the non-crime reading I do. I don't have the energy to start a new blog.

I like that Nora Roberts/JD Robb doesn't get carried away with the science fiction possibilities with the In Death series. She puts a lot of emphasis on the use of deep data mining and electronic forensics, aspects that are not that far off. There is a decent police procedural solved by door-to-door investigation, team work, and information analysis.

Also I enjoy how she has fun working in her romance writer side into the story.