I’ve spent much of February starting and then not finishing books. It’s been pretty frustrating, and I have to wonder how much of it is due to the books themselves, or how much of it has to do with the fact that my patience with winter is wearing thin. I don’t mind the cold, but after a couple of months of short days and being stuck indoors, my attention span is too short to hang on to much of anything unless it can grab my interest in short order.
Hence the mysteries.
One of my book club friends recommended Ben Aaronovitch’s Midnight Riot, a supernatural murder mystery set in modern London. It’s hard to say no to a book that can seamlessly reference everything from Star Wars to Isaac Newton, and be snarky and funny, and talk about the process of magic in a logical sort of fashion. I found Peter Grant, to be a clever protagonist, and even though the plot itself was maybe not fashioned as well as the first book in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, I think I like Midnight Riot just a little bit more than Storm Front.
I started reading J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling yesterday. I think part of my interest had to do with the author- would Rowling write mystery books as well as she wrote about teenaged wizards? Well, I’m thirty percent of the way through The Cuckoo’s Calling, and so far, I’d say yes. It’s a little weird to see harsh curse words coming out of her characters’ mouths, if only because the worst things said in the Harry Potter books was, ‘blimey’ and the like, but it fits the gritty world Rowling is writing about.
In this tale, Cormoran Strike, a war veteran turned private detective, takes the case of Lula Landry, a supermodel who fell to her death one cold winter’s night. The police ruled her death a suicide, but Landry’s brother is convinced that she was murdered. So far, Strike hasn’t found any evidence of foul play, but that will undoubtedly change.
I’m guessing so, anyway, or there would be no mystery.
But both books have caught my interest in a time when a certain kind of malaise generally falls over me. Perhaps I should make February my ‘murder mystery reading month’.
I’ve also been making my slow way through Stefan Klein’s We are Stardust, and I finally(!) started Colm Tóibín’s Story of the Night. I’m about twenty pages into it. The problem is I read it before bed, and I’ll fall asleep after a few pages- not because it’s boring, but because I’m really tired.