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Muse's Books
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Books 132-134 (2011): The Slap, The Genesis Secret and Bloodline

Book 132: The Slap.
Author: Christos Tsiolkas, 2008.
Genre: Contemporary. Family Drama. Parenting.
Other Details: Paperback. 485 pages

At a suburban barbecue in Melbourne, a man slaps a misbehaving 4-year old child that is not his own. The novel is told from the viewpoints of eight people in attendance at the barbecue and chronicles the far-reaching effects of the incident upon this group of family and friends.

Even though this was quite an engaging read, I didn't really like the novel though recognised that it was attempting to address modern-day issues such as child rearing, discipline, drug use and adultery. I felt that it was basically a laddish take on the same kind of territory that Jodi Picoult has made her own including the multiple narrative viewpoints. While I found its crude language (and I can swear like a sailor at times) and casual racism unpalatable, I did recognise that both were coming from the minds and mouths of characters that I wouldn't really want to associate with in real life. It portrayed an Australia very far away from affable soap operas such as Neighbours.

Due to illness I was unable to attend the reading group meeting where The Slap was discussed but heard later that people either loved or hated it and the novel generated a great deal of discussion; something that is always welcome in a selection.

Book 133: The Genesis Secret.
Author: Tom Knox, 2008.
Genre: Conspiracy Thriller. Adventure.
Other Details: Paperback. 516 pages

Rob Luttrell, a war reporter recovering after nearly being killed in Iraq, is sent on a 'tame' assignment to Gobeckli Tepe, an archaeological site in Turkey. However, when the site is sabotaged Luttrell becomes caught up in dangerous situations. Meanwhile in the UK a Scotland Yard detective is trying to solve a series of gruesome ritualistic murders. The novel flips between these two narratives; though they eventually do connect up.

A highly engaging thriller with a fair few stomach-turning passages. The characterisations were not quite up to the standard of Steve Berry and some of the situations that the lead bloke got himself into made me want to give him a good shake. Also, although it raised certain issues liked to the early development of religion, I didn't feel the author really wanted to address these except in the broadest terms; more that the novel was about trying to shock the reader. Still in its own way proved a 'fun' read.

Book 134: Bloodline (Anna Travis 07).
Author: Lynda le Plante, 2011.
Genre: Police Procedural.
Other Details: Hardback. 496 pages.

"An ominous pool of blood but no victim' - cover tag line Bloodline

Under the watchful eye of Detective Chief Superintendent James Langton, DCI Anna Travis takes charge of her first major investigation since her promotion. However, it is unclear whether it is a missing person's case or a full blown murder enquiry as there is no body. There were lots of twists, turns and red herrings in this highly engaging police procedural. I love Anna Travis as a character, admiring her determination to uncover the truth. Overall I feel that this series goes from strength to strength and hope Lynda le Plante continues to write more of them.
Tags: adventure, award winner, conspiracy fiction, contemporary, drugs, parenting, police drama
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