First up a non-fiction book, Walk the Lines by Mark Mason.
The sub-title for this book is, The London Underground, Overground and this basically is what this book is all about. The author has a brainwave one day and decides that walking the entire underground network, or 'the Tube' as we call it in the UK, 'overground' is a jolly good idea. It's a huge undertaking and his wife and friends (mostly) think he's mad. The book is not only a catalogue of the areas of London that the stations are in and lines and go through, it's also full of little historical tit-bits that I found absolutely fascinating. His personal experiences of living and working in the city (he is not originally from London) are also included, anecdotes, things people have told him about their childhood in London and so on. He also meets a few people along the way, authors, actors, cabbies doing The Knowledge. The one I found most interesting was his interview with John Pearson, the author of the biography of the Kray twins, a couple of East End hoodlums who ran part of the city back in the er... 1960s I think. I would never have thought I could have found that interesting but it really was! Anyway, an excellent book if you're familiar with London, want to go to London, or just fancy a fascinating and informative read.
Next, Keeping the Dead by Tess Gerritsen.
Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will know how much I love Tess Gerritsen's books. I haven't read one for a while because my library was supposed to have a copy of this book but it seems to be lost. (And I do like to read series in order.) Then a couple of weeks ago I spotted it in a charity shop and grabbed it quick and am now able to continue with the series. This one involves Egyptian archaeology and mummies. (I seem to be having an Egyptian year this year.) An ancient mummy is found in the basement of a private museum in Boston. There's a huge hoo-ha and the TV cameras are there to film its unveiling at a local hospital, and so is forensic pathologist, Maura Isles. But what's this they find? A bullet? It can't be... but it is. How can this be a 2000 year old mummy when it has a bullet lodged in its leg? It's detective Jane Rizzoli's job to find out... Excellent, just excellent. Possibly not as psychologically frightening as some of the instalments of this series, or as gory, but none the worse for that. I found all the mummification details fascinating and the plots always race along with unexpected revelations and goodness knows what else. Sometimes I think, 'Dear God, is she really going to do that? Yes, she is...' But that's all part of the fun. This series is never less than very readable and I'm glad now that I can crack on with the three or four I have left.
Lastly, I've just finished The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke.
I hate to think how long my husband has been on at me to read the Dave Robicheaux series; he absolutely loves it. I knew I would get to it eventually, he was, after all, responsible for my Charlie Parker obsession so I rather thought that once I got to them I would like them too. This, The Neon Rain is book one, written way back in 1989 I think, though it doesn't feel that old. Dave Robicheaux is a detective in the city of New Orleans. He's clearly had his problems, has served in Vietnam, is an alcoholic and a gambler, divorced etc. I couldn't quite gather his age but am guessing forty to mid-forties. Very experienced, whatever. He goes to see a convicted murderer just before he's put in the electric chair and is told by him that someone plans to kill him. Is this connected with Dave's new case, the death of a young black girl in the Bayou swamp? In order to find the answers the detective has to delve deeply into the web of curruption that exists in the city, not just amongst the criminal fraternity but also amongst the police: his friends and colleagues in other words. Many things will change over the course of this investigation and it's likely Robicheaux's life will never be the same again. So, did I like this book now that I eventually got to it? Oh, yes. Very, very good. Fast paced, full of twists and turns, terrific writing... the descriptions of the city, Gulf of Mexico, surrounding countryside were superb. Dave Robicheaux is a complicated, flawed, fascinating protagonist and I honestly cannot wait to read more in this series. I've already reserved the next two books from the library and wish they would arrive before we go away: they won't I know, but never mind. Something to look forward to when I get back.
So that's my reading up to date. I shall take my Kindle and a clutch of books away with me and doubtless come back with more than I went with. LOL. Such is the life of a book junkie...