Blimey it has been months since I wrote one of these and many books have been read, many books have been discarded and many books have been forgotten, so what are my most recent, that I can remember…books

jodi picoult vanishing acts

Jodi Picoult – Vanishing Acts

Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father, Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can’t recall. And then a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret that changes her world as she knows it. In shock and confusion Delia must sift through the truth – even when it jeopardizes her life and the lives of those she loves. What happens when you learn you are not who you thought you were? When the people you’ve loved and trusted suddenly change before your eyes? When getting your deepest wish means giving up what you’ve always taken for granted.

Yep I gave another of Ms Picoults a go. And, well, it wasn’t great. It was a very long-winded, disjointed story- she just seemed to throw in some weirdly placed spiritualism into it out of nowhere, and the unnecessary violence in jail was odd. I found the love triangle uncomfortable, I was unsure who I was supposed to be rooting for. I got and liked the irony of the story; the main character pursuing a career in finding missing people when she (unknown to her) was one herself, and Jodi Picoult accomplished her thing of making you think – which parent would you side with!? However it was too long with very little actually going on for me to really enjoy.

joyland

Joyland – Stephen King

College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life – and what comes after – that would change his world forever.

This isn’t one of Stephen King’s classic horror stories; this is more a creepy murder story, wrapped in a coming of age story for a young man – told by his old self – whilst working in a carnival and getting over a broken heart.

Mr King obviously enjoyed telling a story with the backdrop of the carnival as that was predominately what he wrote about, he introduced some typically eccentric ‘carny folk’, and threw in a mysteriously private woman and her poorly and supernaturally gifted son and gave Devin a murder to solve.

It was a simple story, fairly entertaining, but predictable when it came to the ‘who dunnit?’ question, and no surprising twists, and although I will always be a Stephen King fan, I won’t be reading this one again.

remains of the day

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

In 1956, Stevens, a long-serving butler at Darlington Hall, decides to take a motoring trip through the West Country. The six-day excursion becomes a journey into the past of Stevens and England, a past that takes in fascism, two world wars, and an unrealised love between the butler and his housekeeper.

Oh dear, another classic book with lots and lots of great reviews, and I just didn’t get it. Yes it was really well written; I was there with Stevens living and working in this majestic, beautiful house, and I was there experiencing the drive through the countryside, his first experience of freedom in many years. But like the Butler, who was dedicated to his trade, and due to that was a stiff, subservient, withdrawn man who lacked a personality of his own, and that it was what I felt about the book, it lacked something for me – emotion, personality…? something.

stalkers

Stalkers – Paul Finch

Time’s up. You’re Next.

“All he had to do was name the woman he wanted. It was that easy. They would do all the hard work.”

Detective Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenberg is investigating the disappearance of 38 deifferent women. Each one was happy and successful until they vanished without a trace.

Desperate to find her missing sister, Lauren Wrexford seeks out Heck’s help. Together they enter a seedy underworld, of gangsters and organised crime.

But when they hear rumours about the so-called ‘Nice Guys Club’ they hit a brick wall. They’re the gang that no-one will talk about. Because the Nice Guys will arrange anything you want. Provided you pay the price…

My haphazard way of reading a number – an ever increasing number – of books all at the same time did not fit well with this book, it is ‘fast paced’ and a ‘page turner’ with a number of twists and alsorts of nasty characters popping up to do violent things but I kept getting lost and confused. Did I like Heck or was he just a predictably grumpy, worn down yet hard-working, loner detective with a bit of an attitude, a crappy private life and a drinking problem…? I have mixed feelings. Maybe I will give another one of these a go.

a chemical fire 1

 

A Chemical Fire – Brian Martinez

The story unfolds through the eyes of John Cotard, a science teacher who drugs his life away. After a car accident turns him onto prescription painkillers he allows first his job, then his marriage to crumble, doing nothing to stop it, lost in a haze of chemicals. Then, one night, the world ends. When a great fire sweeps through the land, wiping out most humans and leaving behind a scattering of zombie-like burn victims, he carries on, breaking in to houses to steal drugs and hide away. For John the end of the world seems to make sense – it’s the next logical step in his self-destruction. One-by-one he meets the few remaining survivors, including a woman starving herself thin, a combat-obsessed survivalist and a dangerous face from the past he hoped to never see again. As the group travels across the country to seek safety, they face not only the dangers of the dead world around them but each other, discovering the strange connections they share along the way.

This is an odd odd story. I really liked the concept of it – why am I such a fan of the hopeless ‘apocalyptic fiction’!? It is told in an often confusing way – only for my brain, probably not for most people, but I soon got the hang of it. It was clever though and the four characters, each one completely unlikeable, fitted the story perfectly. I had no idea where the story was going and did not see the end coming and it isn’t a book I would read again, but I am glad I have read it.