Category Archives: detective fiction

Blast from the Past

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According to T.S. Eliot, The Moonstone is the novel that invented the detective fiction genre. I’ve been wanting to read this novel forever. In high school, I read The Woman in White and absolutely adored it. There is a soft spot in my heart for mystery and detective fiction so I thought that this book would be perfect for this category, a book over 100 years old.

The Moonstone is one of Collins’s most known works, after The Woman in White. From the back cover, this novel is about a mysterious diamond from India that causes havoc in the life of whoever owns it. The jewel was originally in a statue and was stolen.

This novel, like The Woman in White, is told in different narratives and from different perspectives. I can’t wait to read this novel and see where the story takes me.

I also can’t believe that this is the final book in Book Battle 2015. It has been quite the ride so far.

Stay tuned for the full review of The Moonstone. Happy reading!

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Career of Evil

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Career of Evil is the third installment in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling. The first, The Cuckoo’s Calling, introduced us to both Strike and Robin and focused much of it’s efforts on how to plot of the novel brought the two characters together. The second Strike novel, The Silkworm, was extraordinarily plot driven. And this newest novel is a mix of the two. Career of Evil lets us get to know more about these characters that we’ve come to love. We learn about both Strike’s and Robin’s past and how their pasts lead them to each other and the life that each has chosen.

Strike and Robin remind me so much of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. They have a similar rapport with each other, outside of crime solving. Out of the three, this novel is by far my favorite. I feel like these two characters have been through so much together but know so very little about each other. And as a consequence, we the reader, don’t know much about either’s past.

This novel shines a light on the past of each and how it drew them to where they are. As we already know, Strike’s mother was a groupie and his father a famous rock star. The crime in this case directly goes back to Strike’s past and is the perpetrator’s way of getting revenge on Strike. The three main suspects represent each phase of Strike’s life and all of them have a good reason to want revenge. Robin’s past, although not directly related to the case, ultimately leads to her involvement in it.

I loved seeing both Robin and Strike evolve in this novel. The characters have so much depth to them. The closer I got to the end the sadder I became. I didn’t want this novel to have an ending. I would happily continue reading about Strike and Robin.

As with the other two novels, this one has all of the danger and perhaps a bit more romance. I loved the focus on each character as they get to know each other better, faults and all. This novel has a lot of miscommunication, especially between Robin and Strike. They see and hear what they want, and that may not be at all what the other person means. It leads to many tense moments in the novel and to the novel’s conclusion, which isn’t so much about the plot but more about resolving the conflict between characters.

Rating: 5/5 Can’t wait to see what’s next for this crime solving duo.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

 

Rivers of London

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Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch reads like a hybrid between a Doctor Who episode and a police procedural. In a way it’s not surprising since Ben Aaronovitch has written two serials for Doctor Who about Daleks.

Rivers of London is the first book in a series by Aaronovitch about police detective/wizard Peter Grant. It doesn’t take the novel long to reveal it’s magic elements to the reader. The first element introduced is the ghost Nicholas Wallpenny. Grant sees Wallpenny while investigating another crime and Wallpennt gives Peter details about the crime. The crime itself has it’s supernatural elements as well. A man seems to appear and disappear without ever being caught on camera.

As Peter delves deeper into the mystery he is confronted by the head wizard in the police department, Nightingale, and asked to join as his apprentice. Grant then becomes the first English apprentice wizard in over 70 years. As the apprentice, Peter must practice and hone his magical abilities as well as solve two seemingly unconnected cases.

In one case he must find an entity that is possessing people and forcing them to kill, and in the other Peter must make peace between the gods of the River Thames. As the novel unfolds the connection between the cases becomes clearer.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the protagonist, Peter Grant, and the way he interacts with those around him. I did, however, find this novel a bit hard to follow in terms of the plot. It read very much like a TV show, abrupt cuts and all. But whereas in a TV show you have visuals that connect these scenes together, in the book it left me a bit lost.

Even with a few plot holes, I would love to read the other books in the series and see what’s next for Peter Grant and Nightingale.

Rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

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At first the plot line of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency isn’t quite clear. It’s a little bit of everything. The story starts off with Richard MacDuff attending a dinner at his Cambridge Alma Matter with an old professor named Professor Chronitis. During the dinner the professor performs a magic trick that seems nearly impossible. He takes a salt shaker and a clay pot and then fuses the two together. It’s not until after dinner that Richard realizes he forgot to pick up his girlfriend Susan, the sister of his boss Gordon Way. He leaves an awkward message on her answering machine that will later incriminate him in the untimely death of his boss.

It’s this message that brings Richard and his old pal Dirk Gently together. Having taken many names before Dirk is now running his own P.I. business where he believes that all things are connected together in some fashion or other. Using very unorthodox methods, Dirk begins to work out what happened to Gordon Way and it’s far more complicated than a simple homicide.

There’s the Electric Monk, an alien from outer space trapped on Earth, and a time traveling professor who’s managed to hide his time machine disguised as his apartment. While he unravels the death of Gordon Way, clearing Richard’s name in the process, he discovers that the alien has a nefarious plan and his using a man determined to prove himself at any cost.

I won’t spoil the entire plot unraveling but I will say that this book is one rip roaring adventure. Just when you think you have it nailed down it takes a turn in the opposite direction. This novel had a bit of everything in it. There was humor, mystery, science fiction elements, and romance. It took a bit for the plot to start moving but once it did it moved quickly. Anyone who enjoys Doctor Who themed novels with love this one.

Rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

I Love the 80s

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Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a book from the year you were born. I had a hard time with this category trying to look up books purely by year until I discovered the power search setting on the library’s webpage. Best thing I discovered all week. I couldn’t believe how many options there were. I finally decided to settle on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams, famed for his Hitchhiker series.

I’ve read the first Hitchhiker book by Adams and loved it. Adams himself described this book as a “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic.” How can you beat that? I can’t wait to see what Dirk Gently has in store and how Adams will tackle the detective genre.

Stay tuned for the full review of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Happy reading!