Tag Archives: Sphere Books

Postmortem – Patricia Cornwell

My original plan after the last reads was to crack on slightly belatedly with The Cellist of Sarajevo by Stephen Galloway as the final read of the Richard and Judy Challenge. However, when I was just getting to the tube station I stopped and looked in my bag… no book! There is a very well situated Charity Shop just opposite so I dashed in for a 50p find. I wanted something I hadn’t tried before but also something that was different from my recent reads and my eyes fell upon Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell someone I have been meaning to read for ages as she is one of the biggest selling crime writers of the present day. Also with my love for crime fiction and of course the great Tess Gerritsen this looked like it would be right up my street. Plus it is the first in the series, and one of my pacts with myself is only to by a book in a series if it’s in order and have read the last one… or like this it is the first one. There is also the fact that I cant read books if its not in the correct order, I am not saying its wrong to do that, I just like to follow the journey as the author intended even if the books are stand alone novels as well.

Postmortem was Patricia Cornwell’s first published novel and was also the first in what has become the multi-million copy shifting Kay Scarpetta series. In Richmond, Virginia a serial killer seems to be on the loose three women have died and as we join the story Dr Kay Scarpetta has been woken with the news there is now a fourth. Now it’s a race against time and more killings for these crimes to be solved and the killer to be caught. Scarpetta is not the detective in the scenario though she is the Chief Medical Officer and through this we get a lot more of the science of crime scene investigations (which of course with the TV now is an incredibly popular angle though this book came out long before) as well as the detective work to find the killer.

While all this goes on of course we are given an insight into the personal life of Scarpetta which isn’t simple either. She cannot stand the detective (Marino) with whom she has to liaise with on these cases. It appears her peers and bosses aren’t sure that as a woman she is capable of the job. One of her peers has become a very complicated possible lover. On top of that she has her niece staying with her who thinks of Scarpetta as a surrogate mother. That’s a lot of stuff going on. Yet oddly, despite the fact you have all this I didn’t feel like I knew who Scarpetta was. I know she liked to garden and she liked to cook, though I wondered how she had time, and that her family history is Italian. That was about it maybe that will come with the books as I go further along the series which is something I definitely intend on doing.

Have any of you read the series, is it worth going on with at the moment I am thinking it is. I just think that Tess Gerritsen has an edge on Patricia Cornwell in terms of her work being slightly more gripping and page turning however I am further along in that series. Plus Speaking of series are there any crime series I am missing out on, I read the Gerritsen’s, M.C Beaton’s and Susan Hill’s what others would you recommend? I have heard that Mankell’s Wallander series is very good, do let me know.

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Filed under Patricia Cornwell, Review

The Dog – Kerstin Ekman

It wasnt my intention to read this so soon, but I did as The Bolter didnt turn up till today and so am now reading that like a demon… plus I wanted to leave the review up of Mr Toppit for a while, well at least until someone commented (violins for sympathy ha). Yesterday though I was just in the mood for a short read and something different and this seemed just right. I was sent The Dog by Kerstin Ekman from the lovely people at NewBooks Magazine to review for their next issue (they have had something different from this one as I couldn’t ramble on as I normally do on here) and I have to admit bar Dovegreyreaders review of the book, which made me interested, I probably wouldn’t have bought such a short novel for £12.99 – well it is the credit crunch. Moving swiftly on can anyone tell me what the difference between a novella and a novel is? This is 144 pages but quite a few are delightful illustrations.

The Dog is about a dog. A young puppy one day follows its mother as she chases their owner mistakenly thinking they are going on a hunt. The mother can barely keep up with the owner let alone the puppy and soon enough he is lost in the wooded lakeside unable to find his mother or owner. From then on he must fight for survival can the natural wild instincts come from a domestic puppy. I won’t say too much to give anything away but for those of you who are worrying and feeling sad I found the outcome incredibly uplifting and positive.

After the opening of the book, which evokes such sadness, the rest of the novel continues to take you on an incredibly emotional journey. You are taken through fear, joy, desperation the whole gambit and I thought that was remarkable. I also loved the way that Ekman really looked at how the instincts of a puppy and dog would work and how scents triggered his brain. I had never thought of ‘the scent of a predator’ and that idea particularly fascinated me and made me really think. The only draw back for me in all honesty

I hadn’t heard of Kerstin Ekman before this novel, but in fact The Dog was actually released in Sweden in 1986 though the book hasn’t aged at all it feels very fresh but then the story could be set at anytime in the past, now or even in the future. She has quite a few novels that are just starting to be published over here and one thing I must say is that she is a wonderful writer. The book is in extremely poetic and I could so imagine the scents and scenery quite vividly. I think it could be slightly shorter but the illustrations along the way are lovely.

This is a 3.5/5 book for me personally. I would recommend it but wait until it comes out in paperback. This is definitely a book for dog lovers though. I think maybe because I am more of a cat person that’s why it didn’t quite work as well for me? Cats verses dogs in the reading world which one wins? I can only think of Gobbolino The Witches Cat as a book solely about a cat. I shall leave you a picture of Charlie and Phoebe in their natural book habitats and you can decide.

Which wins?

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Filed under Kerstin Ekman, Little Brown Publishing, Review

The Brutal Art – Jesse Kellerman

I didn’t realise that the first week of Richard and Judy had come around so fast so this review is a little on the late side as should have put it up on Wednesday, but hadn’t actually read the book yet at that point. I started it late last night and by lunch time today it had been completely and utterly devoured. This book has actually only further confirmed in my mind that this is the strongest year with Richard and Judy’s book choices.

After a rocky childhood and turbulent teenage years and twenties Ethan Muller has slowly but surely become on of the most popular art dealers on the scene. When he gets a call from his fathers right hand man telling him there is a collection of art her really needs to see his instant reaction, after his bitter relations with his father, make him hesitant. When he sees the collection however he realises he could have found the discovery of a lifetime, only when he accepts the works do the police want to talk to him and the mystery of the vanishing artist who created them draws him into a mystery set to change his life forever.

Jesse Kellerman is not an author I had heard of before. The son of authors Faye and John Kellerman he comes from a fine heritage (I haven’t read their works am only going on what others have said) but I think this book will definitely make his name as an author stand out alone. I didn’t think I would be interested in the art world and thought this might be a poor version of a mix of The Da Vinci Code of The Interpretation of Murder. It isn’t it’s a stand out thriller that had me swiftly turning through the pages and I thought I had it all sussed and suddenly a massive twist was thrown in I don’t think anyone could predict coming.

My favourite parts of the book however weren’t set in the present. They were set in the from 1847 until now telling us the secret family history of the Muller’s and helped make the conclusion incredibly clever. Kellerman delivers all this in a direct yet colourful prose whilst making it easy to follow the complicated history that all ties up in the end. I was worried that Ethan’s ‘poor little unloved rich kid character’ might grate on me but I didn’t. His love interests are incredibly clichéd, it was the character of the artist as you got to learn about it I found fascinating.

I have to say I was incredibly pleasantly surprised with this book. I wasn’t expecting to be drawn in on such an adventure. Don’t listen to the comparisons to The Interpretation of Murder (which I enjoyed) as they are quite separate books and I think this one should stand alone as just a great gripping thriller. A must read!

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Filed under Books of 2009, Jesse Kellerman, Little Brown Publishing, Rebecca Miller, Richard and Judy