Recently Read

These reviews are long overdue as they’re all reads from my recent holiday to Cuba (which you can read about here) but I enjoyed every single one of them and thought they were worth sharing. I think I’m going to try and do more book reviews in bulk as I enjoy reading them more in this format so I guess maybe other people do too!

The Riverman – Alex Gray

The Riverman’s job is to navigate the swirling currents of the Clyde, pulling rubbish from Glasgow’s great river. But occasionally he is required to do something more shocking – such as lifting out corpses. The day he pulls out the lifeless body of a man from the river, it looks like a case of accidental death. But DCI Lorrimer is not convinced. And when he digs deeper, he begins to discover that this case is as explosive as they come.

The first of my holiday reads was The Riverman. Set in Glasgow, DCI Lorrimer’s case follows the murder of accountancy firm partner Duncan Forbes and the string of confusing events that follow. I enjoy crime fiction, however often times I get bored waiting for the conclusion.

This book was different. With a fluid narrative and a different characters’ point of view in each chapter, I never found myself growing bored. Instead I was intrigued, always trying to place each new character in my head and remember what events they had incurred previously. I almost felt like I was trying to piece the mystery together myself, rather than simply following one single character making their own judgements.

Overall I really enjoyed this read and it’s encouraging me to get back into crime fiction. Rated 4/5.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Held in high regard as a bit of a feminist dystopian novel, I’d been wanting to read this for a while. It’s been on the back of my uni to-do’s for ages as well, so really I’m not sure what took me so long to pick it up, or why it took me so long to finally finish. I started this book in about March and didn’t finish it until August, but I’m pleased I did get around to it eventually.

I will throw it out there; I found the plot slow. Yes, you need the background and the whys and the whats to set the scene, but I really only grew interested in the last third of the book; my perseverance only lasting that long because I’d heard such complimentary things and assumed I might be missing something.

I found the ending frustrating, as I was definitely hoping for something a bit more closed and finite, but I suppose that adds to the mysterious nature of the whole novel. I can’t say I’ll be going for a re-read in a hurry because it was a bit too slow for my tastes, but I would suggest that you read it if it’s on your list.

I gave this book 3/5.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

Rosemary doesn’t talk very much, and about certain things she’s silent. She had a sister, Fern, her whirlwind other half, who vanished from her life in circumstances she wishes she could forget. And it’s been ten years since she last saw her beloved older brother Lowell. Now at college, Rosemary starts to see that she can’t go forward without going back, back to the time when, aged five, she was sent away from home to her grandparents and returned to find Fern gone.

This is one that’s been widely reviewed in the Blogosphere, and one I could hardly put down. I hadn’t actually read many of said reviews because I’m always worried about spoilers with books I know for sure that I want to read, so everything was a total surprise for me, which is definitely the best way to go about it.

I was unaware of the twist in this novel (which as I’ve already said I’m not going to spoil for you!) but I can definitely see why it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. That said, I really enjoyed it. I was sceptical post-twist, but I’m really glad I gave it a chance. Fowler captures Rosemary’s voice perfectly and I found myself warming to her wit and charm effortlessly. The backwards way of storytelling really worked for me, but I’m a sucker for a bit of variety.

I gave this book 4/5.

Stone Cold – C.J. Box

Everything about the man is a mystery…

No one knows where he came from, how he made his money or what’s drawn him to the isolated Black Hills of North Wyoming. His generosity has won the locals over, but are his motives above suspicion?

After a string of disappearances, Joe Pickett isn’t the first investigator to pursue this enigmatic millionaire, but will he be the first to leave alive? With winter’s first storm closing in, Joe’s about to discover there’s a stone-cold killer stalking the hills – and he’s not alone.

This was my first introduction to the C.J. Box series of Joe Lorrimer, though since returning home and searching Goodreads, I have discovered that it is in fact the 14th book in the Joe Lorrimer series. Despite this, I wasn’t confused by the story as they each stand on their own with the ability to dip in and out of the series, but I will definitely be returning to read the others when I find the time.

Lorrimer and the hills of Wyoaming are a perfect match, and I enjoyed this book to the point of not wanting to put it down. I’m glad there are other books in the series to satisfy my Lorrimer needs.

Joe is put on the case of the mysterious Wolfgang Templeton, with a premise of keeping himself out of trouble whilst he seeks incriminating evidence.

Obviously not all runs as smoothly as planned, and Joe finds himself in some sticky situations and some even more questionable legal predicaments.

A secondary narrative following Joe’s wife and kids had me hooked, as I loved the personality they brought. Particularly Joe’s eldest daughter Sheridan, who, away at university, was having troubles of her own.

All I can say is that I’m excited to read more from Box and Lorrimer. I rated it 4/5.