Anyway, books. I had a fairly quiet month personally, and subsequently a good reading month. Here's what I read:
At Home in Thrush Green - Miss Read. I still have a few more Thrush Green books left to read, five I think, I shall miss them when I'm done.
Down Under - Bill Bryson. This one will definitely be in the running for best non-fiction of the year.
The Ship Who Sang - Anne McCaffrey. A reread which I enjoyed as much now as I did in my late teens.
Stories - edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sorrantonio. Some good stories, some not so good. Slightly underwhelmed. The best story was by Lawrence Block, so I plan to find some of his books to try at some stage... I own one, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling.
All in One Basket - Deborah Devonshire. I've been reading this over a couple of months as a bedtime read. I thought it was just perfect.
West of the Moon - Katherine Langrish. YA fantasy at its best. Loved it.
Partnership - Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball. Book two in the 'Ship who...' sci-fi series. Slow start but it picked up and I ended up quite enjoying it.
Dark Hollow - John Connolly. I'll say a few words about this one underneath.
I think that's eight books, with my usual mixture... 2 non-fictions, 4 sci-fi/fantasy, 1 crime and 1 novel. I enjoyed them all, some more than others obviously. I'm not going to pick a favourite. I tend to review my favourite reads so folk will be aware that I loved Down Under, All in One Basket (no proper review but I've banged on about it several times) and West of the Moon.
And before I finish this post I ought to say a few words about my last read of March, Dark Hollow by John Connolly.
Ex-cop, Charlie Parker, is back in his home state of Maine after the events of the last year. I haven't actually read the first book but have gathered that his wife and little girl were murdered and Parker went after and killed the culprits. He's doing PI work in Maine and is after Billy Purdue who owes his wife some child support money. Charie catches up with him and obtains $500. He doesn't ask where the money came from and this turns out to be his first big mistake. Next thing, Billy's wife and child are brutally murdered and Billy is on the run. Charlie doesn't believe him capable of the murder, so who did it? There are many suspects including Tony Celli, a gangland boss, and a freakish individual who keeps appearing that Charlie doesn't know but fears instinctively. Deep-down though, Charlie feels the whole mess is connected to a serial killer his grandfather had dealings with, Caleb Kyle. And if that is the case no one will be able rest easy in their beds until the sadistic killer is apprehended.
My husband's been on at me to read John Connolly's Charlie Parker books for ages. I've also seen many mentions on various blogs, so I knew that this was a series that might appeal to me. I started on book 2, probably not the best place, but it was fine, a lot of the events in book one are explained as you go along.
I'm not a huge fan of the gangland, organised crime, sort of crime yarn, and there is quite a bit of that kind of thing in the book. Thus, I wasn't at all sure I was going to like it as I moved through the first few chapters and, to be honest, those were the bits I liked the least. But what I am a fan of is the kind of psychological crime yarn that Tess Gerristsen writes so well, and this reminded me quite a lot of her books, especially the Rizzoli and Isles story, Body Double. It's creepy and frightening quite frankly, with a large smattering of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. It seems this book is really a sort of crime/horror hybrid and I've decided I really like the mix.
The wilderness in Maine plays a huge part, the forests particularly, and Connolly is not afraid to give plenty of factual information about the state, its history, the logging and so on. It might seem like an odd thing to do in a work of fiction but, for this reader anyway, it worked like a dream. I was amazed to discover that Connolly - author of The Book of Lost Things and a favourite supernatural anthology, Nocturnes - is Irish and lives in Ireland. How he writes books set in the US so well I don't know, it could be of course that Americans can tell he's not American, but I certainly could not. I thought the book excellent and already have book three, The Killing Kind, on my library pile. I will also be adding it to my American states challenge list as I came away from it with a real sense of the state of Maine... and also wanting to visit one day.