Continuing with my series on recent crime reads (see first in series), I include here the new to me (Kallentoft), the relatively new to me (Meyer) and some old stalwarts (Nesbo, Nesser et al).
'Midwinter Sacrifice' was my first encounter with Swedish writer Mons Kallentoft, and I give it a definite thumbs up. This I understand is his first crime novel, though not his first book. He tells a good story and I like his style. Set in Linköping, Sweden, it is a murder investigation that, though slow moving, kept my interest throughout. I liked the insight into the various characters, but would have welcomed more of it in fact, if only because the author does it well, and his characters do stir your interest. None more so than the members of the suspect and rather unpleasant family. Principal investigator is Malin Fors, in her early thirties, divorced and with a 12-year old daughter. I have seen reviews compare her character with Sarah Lund of 'The Killing' fame! The voice of the murdered man being heard at various junctures worked for me in the end even if at first I was unsure. Eager to read his next up, 'Summertime Death'.
'Dead at Daybreak' is for me the best of the (three) Deon Meyer titles I have read to date. Good plot, good pace, and the sub-plots concerning the main character's previous career are interesting and not out of place. Van Heerden has baggage and is not an althoughter sympathetic main character, but his attempt at redemption does garner some sympathy. South Africa is ever central and adds to the interest level. A good investigative thriller. (p.s. must try to get some additional copies of Meyer's books purchased if possible, too few copies on the shelves me thinks!)
'Phantom' , by Jo Nesbø, is the latest in the Harry Hole series, and is just another in a series of good reads from the Norwegian author, even if I thought it a little long and lacking in pace at times. And the airline pilot, your interest is stirred, but then what? This time the story is centered on drugs and Harry's return from the Far East to investigate a murder involving his surrogate son. Harry is at the outset quite a ravaged and battle scarred individual and as things unfold you must wonder how he is still going. On that note, I must not say too much more! Yet again, another Nesbø book to recommend.
(Read a previous story on Nesbø)
'Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach' by Colin Cotterill is the second in the Jimm Juree series (as distinct from the author's other great creation, Laos-based Dr. Siri). This is yet another wonderful, entertaining, humour-filled, fast-paced mystery read from Cotterill. Jimm, the Thai female main character, is a feisty, smart, fun character, and the supporting cast are equally colourful. I love how Thailand itself is intrinsic to the story, as Laos is in the Dr. Siri series. The plot as ever is so well done, and I'm looking forward as ever to the author's next.
'Borkmann's Point' is still Hakan Nesser's best in my estimation after my recent reading of 'The Unlucky Lottery' , the sixth in the "Van Veeteren" series. Be warned: Van Veeteren plays only a cameo role of no consequence in this, a pity in my view, I like the Van Veeteren character. Otherwise it's a solid enough read, with a good plot, is atmospheric if somewhat slow paced, and as ever with Nesser characterisation is strong. What makes Nesser's books all the more interesting is that the 'why' of the crime is ever as important as the 'who dunnit' aspect.
(Read more on Nesser in previous story)
I have mentioned 'The Potter's Field' in another recent post here, but any book by Andrea Camilleri is always worth a second mention. And this title in particular, as it has just recently been announced as the winner of the 2012 CWA International Dagger award, in which it was up against stiff competition from Maurizio de Giovanni, Åsa Larsson, Deon Meyer, Jo Nesbø, and Valerio Varesi.
Camilleri is one of my most favourite authors and this, the 13th in the Inspector Salvo Montalbano series, is up there with his best. It has a clever, well-worked plot, wonderful characters, wit in abundance, the wonderful Sicilian landscape, interesting insights into the Sicilian character and society, and of course the local cuisine as ever is so important. My one gripe is that this particular book has so little of Salvo's slightly weird relationship with his girlfriend Livia. Highly recommended nonetheless.
(Read more about Camilleri in a previous story)