I know I'm a few days late with my reading list and I totally missed Fun Monday. I arrived home with an unexpected parting gift - a killer cold that gave me a temperature of nearly 102, aches and chills, and the feeling that the inside of my throat had been run through a meat grinder and then spackled with wallpaper glue. Not pleasant at all.
There I was, all pleased because I managed to sleep comfortably for half of the flight (which has never happened) and now I realise it was probably just the cold clobbered me over the head and knocked me out. (It probably also stole my lunch money. The big bully.) But I did take Laurie's advice on the dried cherries, so maybe they deserve the credit.
I'm feeling much better today. Now I just have a cough that sounds worse than it is. I sound like TB ward but in actuality, it's just my voicebox rattling like a screen door in a gale. For some reason, I tend to develop these very persistent and ugly-sounding coughs. I blame it on all the bronchitis and tonsilitis I had when I was a kid.
Enough whinging - on to the vacation-inflated edition of my November reading. I hit my goal - 10 books, largely because I read 2.5 books on the trip over and 2 books on the trip home. Unfortunately, this is largely a case of quantity trumping quality.
10. Simple Genius by David Baldacci - A self-destructive detective and the fool who loves her try to unravel a mystery involving the CIA, a secretive scientific community, and a borderline autistic 9 year old orphan. Cloying, overly-pleased-with-self, and too long by half.
9. Bye-Bye Black Sheep by Aylet Waldman - Juliet, everyone's favourite detective-mommy, takes on the case of a transvestite looking for the killer of his drug addicted sister. Overly preachy, moralistic, and not even a very satisfying mystery. Now I know why the hardcover was at an outlet store for $4.96. (I still feel like I overpayed.)
8. Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinesella - Becky, everyone's favourite shopaholic, meanders her way into trouble and misunderstanding and then somehow, miraculously, meanders her way back out. Not bad, just not very good either. The series may just have worn itself out - how much spending and bumbling can one well-meaning girl do, after all?
7. The Overlook by Michael Connelly - Harry Bosch finds himself in the middle of a case with apparent terrorism links. But is everything as it seems? (Of course not - no book otherwise.) Not bad, just not very good either. I'm grading this one overly harshly because its clever twist was similiar to another book that I read the same day.
6. City of Bones by Michael Connelly - When a guy's dog finds a bone in a wooded area, Harry Bosch investigates a 20-year old mystery. Not bad, just not very good either. (Seeing an alarming trend here?)
5. Finders, Keepers by Mark Bowden - The true story of Joey Coyle, an unemployed longshoreman who found $1.2 million on a Philadelphia street in the early 80s. Great story, well-told, but there really wasn't enough material here for a book. (And it was very depressing.)
4. Nature Girl by Carl Hiassen - If you can think of a way to summarise a Carl Hiassen book in 1 sentence, then you deserve to find $1.2 million on the street. (Just don't do what Joey did.) Enjoyable enough, but not one of Hiassen's best.
3. Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid - With the help of bed-ridden Tony Hill, Carold Jordan is struggling to solve the mysterious death of a Bradford football player, and then the apparent terrorist attack on the Bradford football stadium. Val McDermid is one of my favourite authors and I'd have to call this good, but not her best.
2. Lost by Michael Robotham - Detective Victor Ruiz wakes up in the hospital with literal holes in his leg and figurative holes in his memory. He must quickly figure out who is trying to kill him, why he has 2 million quid worth of diamonds in his hall closet, and what he was doing working a case when he was suspended. A very interesting narrative that allows the reader to discover the story along with the narrator.
1. Whack A Mole by Chris Grabenstein - John Ceepak, the detective with an unbreakable honour code, and his young partner Danny Boyle are put to the test when body parts start turning up in odd places in their New Jersey seaside town. My big pleasant discovery of the month - Grabenstein has an engaging writing style and a great voice, one that somehow blends Guy Noir, Bruce Sprinsteen, VI Warsharski, and someone else that I can't quite place. I'm looking forward to tracking down the two preceding books in the Ceepak series.