Life got in the way of reading in rather a big way during March and I finished what is for me a paltry 7 books. Which should make picking a book of the month easier than normal but I happened across 4 bloody good reads and I don’t fancy picking a favourite. They are (in reading order):
Gene Kerrigan’s THE RAGE is, for me, a story of two men battling internal demons, one character ostensibly on each side of the law but who live in the giant grey chasm that exists between black and white, right and wrong. It’s a fast-paced, brilliantly complex story, has characters that keep you awake at night and offers a glimpse into a distant, tension-filled world. I’m still mulling it over, 4 weeks after finishing it.
Belinda Bauer’s RUBBERNECKER fits only tenuously within the boundaries of crime fiction, delighting as it does in the details of the stories of Patrick Fort, a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome, and Sam Galen; car accident victim and coma patient. It is full of characters who don’t conform to the roles expected of them and stories within stories.
I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET is the second of Adrian McKinty’s planned trilogy telling the story of Ireland’s turbulent 1980’s through the eyes of Sean Duffy, a minority Catholic member of the RUC. It is a brilliant book not because it transported me to a time and place that is recognisable and enveloping, taught me things without me really being aware of it and kept me guessing from beginning to end.(though it did all of those) but because it made me laugh, albeit with black, black humour, all the way along.
ROLL WITH IT is a début adult novel from Melbourne-based journalist and children’s author Nick Place and tells the story of Tony “Rocket” Laver who is a senior detective with Victoria’s Major Crimes Unit when he is demoted and sent to work with the bicycle unit who are considered more tour guides than ‘real’ cops. It is a clever mixture of farce, satire and thoughtfulness and the characters are surprisingly nuanced for this kind of book.
Progress towards my book-ish goals
- I only read one more book by an Australian woman during March, and it wasn’t very good so I haven’t reviewed it yet but may do so in the next few days.
- If I count Irish-born, Australian living Adrian McKinty (and I do) I read two more books by Australian male writers this month and I’m pleased with that. I’ve already finished another in this category for April!
- My goal regarding book acquisition is to buy less but buy local (audio books excluded) is going quite well. Audiobooks aside I have only bought 2 books this year (though have taken advantage of a few freebie deals for eBooks and have received some ARCs too).
Just because it’s been a while since I did a chart here’s a comparison between the first quarter of this year versus last year which shows I’m certainly doing well in acquiring less physical books
I posted another roundup of the crime category for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, this month focusing on two individual reviews as I was inspired by Scribe’s prize for good reviewing for last year’s challenge.
I also posted about deleting my Goodreads account following the site’s acquisition by Amazon (which generated a few comments and the most creatively profane email I’ve received via this blog).
Finally I reminded everyone how many ways there are to participate in honouring the member of Maxine Clarke, whose death last December is still keenly felt. The project I am most directly involved with is the new blog called Petrona Remembered which has started a series of weekly posts celebrating great crime fiction, each novel submitted by a reader, writer or other fan of the genre. In four weeks I’ve added four books to my wishlist!
Was March a good reading month for you? Did you have a favourite book or three? Have you lost sight of your new year’s reading resolutions yet?