Therese Raquin by Emile Zola
I liked this book quite a bit. The first few chapters establish the setting and situation of the characters and establishes the naturalistic or kitchen sink feel. But the rest of the book progresses as a psychological study of guilt. At times it reminded me of bits of Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre and Edgar Allan Poe stories like The Tell Tale Heart. It also made me think of films like Les Diaboliques and Roman Polanski's Repulsion (maybe even with a dash of Cul De Sac in it's interaction of the central relationship). It's a fine literary novel that might have equal appeal to fans of serious French literature, psychology, crime and horror (in it's imagery).
Open Season (Joe Gunther Mysteries) by Archer Mayor
Most of this book was an engaging and enjoyable read for me. It involved a cop investigating a series of incidents and their possible relationship with a closed murder trial from a few years previous and also features a mysterious man in a ski mask. I liked the engaging first person narration and most of it was a gripping crime thriller that evoked both Karin Slaughter and Raymond Chandler for me. Towards the end it started to go off the rails a bit in my opinion and it had a disappointing resolution (although the final scene with Ski Mask) was fine. Not bad, but I would have liked a far more satisfying ending and I also feel it lost it's crime noir feel to something more general action thriller towards the end. I guess it felt like the story and conspiracy promised more than it actually delivered.
Total Books Read This Year: 2
Le Ventre de Paris (1873) by Emile Zola
This is the next book in my Kindle Emile Zola collection, but it's actually the third novel in a series he wrote. The story is set around a market place and introduces the setting via a starving and fatigued young fugitive man who returns to the city after an absence of a few years. It's depiction of various characters and how they intersect reminds me of both Jean-Paul Sartre's 'Roads to Freedom' trilogy of novels and the recent Melanie Laurent starring French film 'Paris'. So far it's been interesting, but so far I'm only on chapter two and each chapter so far has felt almost book length in it's own right. There is a lot of talk and description of food (and the making of it) but the politics of the time (Napoleon III) and the lives of different characters have featured quite a bit too.
The Anti-Vampire Tale by Lewis Aleman
Despite the "you think you know about vampires but you don't" type of first person introduction, this story so far has been fairly familiar vampire territory. It's sort of The Terminator with vampires and has some of the familiar elements you might have found elsewhere, whether it's TV shows like Buffy, Angel or True Blood (which I know is originally based on a series of books) or things like Interview with the Vampire, Twilight, Blade or The Lost Boys. In other words if you like various versions or interpretations of vampire stories (particularly of the modern and hip kind) you might enjoy yet more of it here, but don't expect anything too "anti" what you've seen before or anything particularly innovative. It's set in New Orleans and there are vampire villains who are creating something called "the new blood". There's also the typical misfit young girl who gets drawn to a mysterious and magnetic vampire who makes all the women swoon. The tale is told from at least three different first person narrations so far. It's nothing particularly special or engaging to me so far, but I got it on Kindle at Amazon UK for 0.72 so at least it was cheap and it is at least readable if fairly generic overall.