After completing the extreme level of last year’s global challenge I only signed up for the medium level of this year’s challenge as I also had quite a few other challenges on the go this year. I needed to two novels from each of these continents in the course of 2011 – Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America, South America and a ‘Seventh Continent’ (which can be any seventh setting including Antarctica, the sea, space, the past, the future).
I didn’t really do much planning for this challenge but noticed when preparing this wrap-up post that 12 of the 14 authors were new to me but I didn’t do so well on achieving a gender balance, with only 4 of these being by women.
I think my favourite of these books is Domingo Villar’s Water-Blue Eyes set in Spain. It is delightfully short, has terrific characters, is full of humour and could be a promotional tool for the Galician tourist bureau. However there are lots of honourable mentions in the collection including Shamini Flint’s engaging tale of Malaysian law and order, Leighton Gage’s gripping novel of Brazilian corruption and Stan Jones’ thoughtful exploration of remote Alaska. All of these have an especially strong sense of their location which is what this challenge is all about, no?
1. Keigo Higashino, The Devotion of Suspect X (Japan) (2 stars)
2. Shamini Flint, Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder (Malaysia) (4 stars)
The Seventh Continent (international books with action in 3 or more countries)
1. John le Carre, Our Kind of Traitor (England, Antigua, France, Switzerland, Russia) (2 stars)
2. Adrian d’Hagé – The Maya Codex (Austria, America, Czech Republic, Guatemala) (3.5 stars)