December 7th, 2019


Book #58: Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

Number of pages: 410

This book introduces a detective called Jackson Brodie, who has appeared in a number of Kate Atkinson's novels. This has him getting involved in three separate cases, so first off there is the story of a girl who went missing in the 1970s, under the noses of her parents and three older sisters.

Then there's a separate plotline involving a man whose daughter was murdered in the workplace by a stranger, and a third storyline involving what appears to be a straightforward murder case, although this seemed to go largely ignored until quite late in the book.

This was a bit of chore to read, as the narrative cut back and forth between the different stories, and there were some flashbacks, including at the end when the book explained what had happened. I noticed that at times the narrative didn't exactly spell things out, so I found myself having to read "between the lines" so to speak. I'd also expected the three storylines to dovetail into each other a lot more than they did.

The best part of this book was the character of Jackson Brodie, a troubled character who has split up from his wife, but has to deal with parenting duties while also attempting to solve the three cases. The story goes into greater detail about his tragic family backstory near to the end.

This definitely felt like a book I had to read slowly and carefully, and I was constantly having to check back in the book and re-read older bits. I probably wouldn't try another Jackson Brodie thriller, but this is worth trying if you have the patience and attention span needed.

Next book: Sole Survivor (Dean Koontz)
Giles and books

Books 81-82

The Monster of ElendhavenThe Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A 3.5 read for me. It's dark, make no bones about that one. It revels in its violence and darkness. It's a story about monsters and revenge. Johann is a true monster in human form but definitely not entirely human. Florian is just as monstrous in his way, the last surviving son of a rich merchantile family. In fact I got an Astor, Carniege, Rockafellers etc vibe from everyone in this. Elendhaven itself is a dystopic sea-side city choking on its own manufacturing (think cities prior to clean air acts etc).

As the novella progresses and Johann and Florian's relationship develops, I was intrigued by what Florian is up to, why is his hate so deep and his need for revenge so burning. That didn't disappoint.

It's Johann who started to bug me with his very odd way of flirting with Florian. It just seemed odd to have him using multiple sweet pet names for Florian and there is a certain dub-con vibe to it.

Florian's magic and the hatred of magic by the people almost needed more words dedicated to it. It felt a bit underdeveloped especially for something that had such an impact on the finale.

I did like this though and will be looking for more from this author.

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Beyond Haunted Spencer State HospitalBeyond Haunted Spencer State Hospital by George Dudding

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Spencer Hospital was an insane asylum where like many of them in the 1800s and early 1900s had a lot of horrible things happen within them. (Mental health care even fifty years ago was still rather awful and even earlier on it was tragic).

This gives a little of the history of the place (There is another book or two by this author that is about the history) but it's main thrust is the ghosts and haunted happenings observed by the author on his paranormal investigations.

He does give some nice info on ghost hunting tools for the novice and every encounter is documented, maybe a little too documented. It can get a wee bit dry in places.

Overall though I did find it interesting.

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