If there was ever any doubt that J.K. Rowling was just a flash in the pan with her Harry Potter series, then that doubt is quickly shattered with the latest installment in her Cormoran Strike series (written under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith). Coming in at 647 pages, this complex story takes us from the supposed psychotic ramblings of “Billy”, who pleads for Strike’s help in investigating a crime that he thinks he witnessed as a child, to the Houses of Parliament.
As Strike pursues Billy’s story, made difficult by his sudden disappearance, Robin goes undercover in The House where “back-stabbing” is a daily occurrence amongst the Ministers and their cronies. Both investigations are complicated further by the events taking place in the private lives of Cormoran and Robin, respectively, as their personal relationship grows.
Due to their previous successes, Cormoran and Robin’s services are in great demand – to the point that they’ve had to hire more investigators. This results in Cormoran taking on the bulk of the surveillance. The toll that this takes on his body is evident in ever painful step that he takes. The pair will soon have to make some important decisions about the future of the agency and their personal relationship.
Book picks as published in the December 5, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.
A Shot in the dark : a Constable Twitten mystery
By Lynne Truss
With a new murder case on his hands and a lazy captain at the helm of the police department, the keen and clever Constable Twitten and his colleague Sargent Jim Brunswick set out to solve the decade-old mystery of the Aldersgate Stick-Up, but soon discover a criminal conspiracy that dates back decades. A new foray into mystery fiction by the popular author of Eats, shoots & leaves.
The 7 ½ deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle : a novel
By Stuart Turton
Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others… This book has been described as an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery in a Groundhog Day time loop. Many twists and turns and a surprise ending.
Pears’ 1998 novel has been described as “Dickensian in breadth and darkness” along with many accolades asserting to its excellence. I can only add that I found it an astoundingly clever piece – a mix of fact and fiction – that left me guessing right to the very last page.
As well as being a brilliant murder mystery, the novel shows us the scientific community of 1663 – from the practise of alchemy to the beginnings of modern chemistry and medicine in all its blood and gore.
When an Oxford don is murdered, the evidence points to a servant girl. Four narrators remember the events surrounding the murder – and each remembers them differently. Which version is the correct one, for we know that memory is a very unreliable witness? The journey to that last page was enthralling and the ending a touch of brilliance.
In the deserted hills of an Indonesian island, Marlina, a young widow, is attacked and robbed of all her livestock by a gang of seven bandits. She then defends herself, setting out on a journey to find justice, empowerment, retribution and redemption. But the road is long, especially when she begins to be haunted by the ghost of her victim. A stunning Scope western set to a Morricone-inspired score, this unique tale of female cinematic revenge takes no prisoners.
The film introduces a modern day Little Prince, a seven-year-old blind Pakistani Canadian boy who absorbs The Little Prince for the first time, and captures engaging conversations with an incredible range of individuals.
Book picks as published in the November 28, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.
Washington Black : a novel
By Esi Edugyen
Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born. When his master’s eccentric brother chooses him to be his manservant, Wash is terrified. But “Titch” is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor, and abolitionist. Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
The Friend : a novel
By Sigrid Nunez
A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog. When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane. Winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction (US).