Muse's Books (muse_books) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Muse's Books

Books 116-118: The Key, The Two and Wild Abandon

Book 116: The Key (Sancti Trilogy #2).
Author: Simon Toyne, 2012.
Genre: Religious Conspiracy Thriller
Other Details: Hardback. 440 pages.

The fate of Man lies in the hands of one woman. - cover tag line.

I really cannot say much about this novel's storyline as there would be spoilers for the outcome of the first book in the trilogy.

As with the first book in this trilogy, Sanctus (my review here), this was a real page-turner. I had wondered after the shocking events at the end of the first book how Toyne would carry on the plot. I certainly wasn't disappointed as he continued by exploring the ramifications of that ending on various characters, places and the wider world. Having read these two in fairly close succession I now have to wait at least a year for the concluding volume..

Book 117: The Two (January David #2).
Author: Will Carver, 2012.
Genre: Police procedural. Crime Thriller. Some paranormal elements including pagan/Wicca.
Other Details: Paperback. 472 pages.

Detective Inspector January David is on the hunt for an elusive serial killer but the leads are drying up. The first victim was taken on Halloween and as the months develop more ritualistic murders are discovered. So far, five innocents, each struck down in a public place, have been left dead. Brooke Derry should have been the sixth but she miraculously survives.Meanwhile, January’s personal life is in turmoil as he battles the demons which have haunted him all his life. - synopsis from author's website.

Carver is very clever in the way he constructs his novels and here along with the voices of the dead giving their accounts of their deaths he uses time in a creative way, moving forward, then back and forward again giving greater insights into the crimes on each pass. I have to say that at times this proved rather confusing over the usual linear model of police procedurals and I found myself somewhat confused in the middle and had to retrace my reading.

In terms of January David's personal demons I had plenty of questions at the end of Book 1 that I had hoped to be answered here but were not. I expect that I shall have to wait for a future book in the series (unless Carver plans on leaving things unanswered). Overall, I didn't enjoy it as much as I did 'Girl 4' though still plan to see how Carver develops January David and his haunted world.

Book 118: Wild Abandon.
Author: Joe Dunthorne, 2011.
Genre: Comedy Drama. Contemporary.
Other Details: Paperback. 243 pages.

Commune co-founder Don Riley remains oblivious to the fact that what was once a vibrant communal-living project in the British countryside is falling apart around him. The original back-to-basics enthusiasm has given way over the years to a vague discontent. He still feels he knows what is best for everyone including his own family. Yet his wife Freya is thinking of ending their 20-year marriage, his teenage daughter Kate enrols in school for the first time in her life and begins to longs for suburban 'normalcy' and his 11-year old son Albert becomes obsessed with apocalyptic fantasies. Don convinces himself that the only way to save the world he's created is to throw a huge wild party.

Despite an appealing premise and attractive cover, I came very close to abandoning this novel, finding it a real chore to get through despite its modest length. I never properly engaged with the characters, setting or story-line. Maybe the lack of commitment at the heart of the commune was part of the issue or perhaps had I read it too close to the superb Whit by Ian Banks. I wasn't the only member of our reading group to struggle with it - only two others managed to finish it while the rest had given up.
Tags: conspiracy fiction, contemporary, family saga, police drama, religion, thriller, wicca

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