Books of the Month – July 2012

I’m finding it difficult to believe that 2012 is more than half over, not least because I’m reading less than I have in some years. However, July proved to be a terrific month in terms of quality, with three books achieving 4.5 out of 5 stars on my personal scale. They are all so different and so good that I have decided not to choose between them for my pick of the month. In reading order they are

Liza Marklund’s LAST WILL sees journalist Annika Bengtzon act as an eye witness to the assassination of a Nobel Prize winner. When she is banned from disclosing or publishing anything she saw her boss forces her to take leave and she continues to investigate the case unofficially. It is an above average combination of criminal investigation, exploration of intriguing political themes (including the cut-throat world of medical research and the unintended consequences resulting from the increases in security measures worldwide that followed the September 11 2001 attacks in the US) and salient observation on modern domestic life.

Geoffrey McGeachin’s BLACKWATTLE CREEK is the second historical crime novel to feature Charlie Berlin, a policeman in post WWII Australia who is still recovering from his experiences as a pilot and POW during the war. The book starts innocently enough with Charlie being asked by his wife Rebecca to look into something odd that happened to a friend of hers. The can of worms that Berlin subsequently opens when he starts looking into practices at a local funeral home turns out to be dangerous and quite horrifying. This book has great historical detail, absorbing characters and is an absolute ripper of a yarn. I think it’s better than the excellent first book in the series (which won last year’s Ned Kelly Award for best fiction).

Sulari Gentill’s PAVING THE NEW ROAD takes series characters Rowly Sinclair and his friends from the relative safety of 1930’s Australia to a much less secure Germany. Rowly has been tasked with preventing an Australian politician from becoming too en-meshed with European fascists and bringing their beliefs and practices back to Australia. Rowly and the gang investigate the death of the spy who preceded them to Germany in addition to becoming embroiled in several incidents indicative of the changes taking place in the country as the Nazi party increases its power. It is a superb example of the historical crime genre with wonderful characters, a truly suspenseful story and an enveloping sense of time and place.

Other books I read during the month that I would recommend are

My non review posts for July included

If you want to see other people’s crime fiction picks of the month head over to Mysteries in Paradise for the Pick of the Month meme

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5 Responses to Books of the Month – July 2012

  1. Sarah says:

    I’m listening to ‘Falling Glass’ right at the moment, Bernadette. You’re right about that Irish accent!

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  2. Bernadette – I’m so glad you had such a good month! It’s not always quantity that matters. What I like about your choices is that they’re quite varied. I try to read a really wide variety of novels myself but don’t always succeed as well as you have here.

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  3. Rob Kitchin says:

    Neither Black Water Creek or Paving the New Road are available on Amazon.co.uk. Nor is McGeachin’s first book in the series, The Diggers Rest Hotel. Which is a shame as I’d like to give them a read.

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  4. Maxine says:

    Some good reading this month. I haven’t read your two Australian picks but can’t argue with Last Will which I thought fantastic. Thanks for your other posts, in addition to the book reviews. Always good, & thought provoking, to read.

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  5. angelasavage says:

    Hah! I think we’re reading in tandem, Bernadette. I loved Blackwattle Creek (my review here) and also Paving the New Road (also reviewed). I think both McGeachin & Gentill deserve wider audiences. I’m surprised to find neither have ebooks on Amazon.

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