On the Bone by Barbara Nadel
Truth, lies and family secrets: against a background of foodies and a chef who exceeds the boundaries of “good taste”, Nadel has crafted a novel that touches so many bases.
Inspector Cetin Ikmen and his colleague Mehmet Suleyman become incidental as the story unravels. We hear little of Ikmen’s family life or Suleyman’s mistress, Gonca. It’s the story of how and why Umit Kavas dropped dead on the street of Beyoglu that needs to be told and why his body showed that he’d indulged in the last taboo.
She shows us the precipitous slope that “not telling” can lead to and its effect on an entire family. The power of the internet, the radicalization of young people, and ISIS in all its horror are graphically examined and should make any parent aware of the dangers to their children, causing them to carefully monitor their computer use.
The novel lacks a lot of the humour present in the other Ikmen stories, but then humour really doesn’t have much of a place in a story of such unsettling themes. It’s one of those novel that will stay with you for a long time while you contemplate the “what ifs” in your own life.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Cormoran Strike is having a bad day. He has just broken up with his fiancée of 15+ years and is now virtually homeless, resorting to sleeping in his office. His PI business is floundering, and he is up to his eyebrows in debt. His prosthetic leg (the result of his tour in Afghanistan) is giving him grief and the temp agency has sent him another secretary who is surplus to his needs.
And then John Bristow walks through the door. Wealthy, and the brother of Charlie and Lula, both now deceased, Bristow could just be Cormoran’s ticket out of his troubles. Charlie, a school mate of Cormoran’s, died years ago when he rode his bike into a quarry; Lula Landry, the famous model, committed suicide a few months back by jumping out of her apartment window – or so the police concluded. It’s Lula’s death that Bristow wants Cormoran to investigate because he believes it was anything but suicide.
So Cormoran insinuates himself into the world of high fashion, rock stars, and dysfunctional families (the least of which is his very own).
Galbraith (the pseudonym of J. K. Rowling) has created a fresh new character in Cormoran – someone who endears himself to the reader after the first chapter. I enjoyed every page of this novel – the humour, the cleverness of the plot, and the well formed characters. Cormoran is a character I want to read more of!