The dog ate my reviews

I have been reading more than reviewing lately, though in some cases not for want of trying.

I listened to Martin Edwards’ The Serpent Pool narrated by the always marvellous Gordon Griffin and enjoyed it very much (4 out of 5 stars). The 4th of the Lake District series it sees DCI Hannah Scarlett investigating the drowning of a young women called Bethany Friend. Originally the case was closed as a suicide but Hannah’s mentor, Ben Kind, was never quite sure and the girl’s mother, now dying herself, is absolutely sure her daughter did not kill herself. There are also current murders that may have some connection to the earlier death. And for light relief there’s the romantic triangle of Hannah, her boyfriend Marc and Daniel Kind who is the son of her now deceased mentor and a historian who has helped out on previous cases.  I am very much looking forward to book number 5 in this series which is due to be published in April (*woot* it is currently awaiting me on my eReader).  The reason the book will remain forever un-reviewed is that the flash drive which contained my nearly-finished review has spontaneously ceased to function. It is now nearly 2 weeks since I finished listening to the book and I have learned that I must review straight away if I am to make any sense of things. But do not fear, there is an excellent review of this excellent book at the excellent website Euro Crime (courtesy of Maxine of Petrona fame).

The next non-review is of a book called Leeches by David Albahari. I feel very guilty about this one because I asked for it as a review book via Net Galley and I’m also annoyed with myself because I was going to count it for the Eastern European Reading Challenge. My problem is I’m half way through the book and have absolutely no idea what’s going on. We’re in Belgrade in the 1990’s and a journalist (never named) (I don’t think) sees a man slap a woman and he tries to run after her (no idea why) but he loses her then he sees some triangles which he thinks are a symbol (of what I’ve no clue) then he smokes some dope then he talks to a painter then….I really don’t know. I think I was standing in an entirely different queue (the one for ‘eats too much of the wrong things’) when the genes for comprehending surrealism were handed out. My brain feels like it’s starting to shake inside my skull when I try to come to grips with this kind of fantastical writing. I wish it wasn’t the case but, so far anyway, wishing hasn’t made it so. Again though there’s a really great review of someone far cleverer than me so go visit Ted at BookeyWookey.

In case you missed it I did review a great Australian novel called Line of Sight by David Whish-Wilson but decided to post it only at Fair Dinkum Crime (a new blog focusing on Australian crime fiction only that a friend of mine and I have started). I’m still pondering whether or not to post reviews of Aussie crime fiction at both blogs but, in this case anyway, I decided to give the fledgling blog an exclusive (I do urge you to check out the review, it’s another terrific 4 star rated book, a fictionalised account of a real 1975 murder in Western Australia that highlights police corruption and abuse of power in some very unsettling ways).

I’ve still got three more reviews to catch up on to bring me up to date but I have hope I’ll actually manage to get those written by the end of the month. Otherwise I really will be blaming the dog.

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6 Responses to The dog ate my reviews

  1. Bernadette – I am sorry to hear about the flash drive debacle. That’s happened to me, too, and it’s maddening. I am glad you really liked The Serpent Pool. I’m a Lake District series fan, so I, too, am eagerly awaiting The Hanging Wood. And we’re all entitled, I think, to struggling with one form or another of writing. If it’s surrealism for you, why not?

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  2. Maxine says:

    I sometimes go through phases of not being enthusiastic about reviewing books I’ve read or attempted to read (though I appreciate that this isn’t the only reason for a non-review; how annoying about the drive – and thanks for the link to my review!). In my case I think I’ve got a bit jaded with crime fiction as there are only so many permutations, however well written the book.

    It’s a hard question, that of duplicate publication. I have a book review archive as well as a regular blog, but I’m never sure whether to put reviews in the archive if I have run them first on the blog (as opposed to first publication somewhere else). I suppose it depends on how many duplicate RSS subscriptions there are – I often seem to get duplicates in my RSS reader from trying to filter reviews from big publishers like the Guardian or the BBC – even though one can filter by subject, they still seem to sneak in a lot of duplicates so one reads the same article twice – or rather, one and a half times, by which time one gets the sense of deja vu!

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  3. I go through phases of more and less crime fiction Maxine, it’s always there at some level but my interest waxes and wanes. The last couple of years I’ve been reading it almost exclusively but I can feel an interest in other things creeping back in.

    I think I probably will make the Fair Dinkum reviews exclusive as I get sick of duplicated content myself. I kind of liked the idea of having a single ‘home’ on the internet but think I’m going to have let that idea go by the wayside. And it’s really only me who wants to read over all my own old reviews which I can do via good reads (or the links I will post here).

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  4. LauraR says:

    I have four reviews outstanding right now (two of the books not even read yet), so yes I really identify with your article title! Sometimes I have to have a genre break too Maxine, I occasionally veer into the erm less challenging vampire lit – stephanie meyer/melissa de la cruz.

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  5. JoV says:

    I always feel the need to review every book I read, even if it’s “Brilliant Job Hunting” or “How to look for a property in a faraway land…” LOL 😀 I feel if I don’t, I am letting the time of reading wasted away without leaving any mark on my life. Well, that’s just me.

    So here I am admiring your prolific output of reading and reviewing and wonder how anyone could read and review with the speed of lightning such as yours!! 😀

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  6. Pingback: Books of the Month – February 2011 | Reactions to Reading

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