Monday, 11 May 2020

Recently Read

It strikes me that I haven't been writing any book reviews for a while. That doesn't mean I haven't been reading. But some of the books I've read or listened to this spring have been in Swedish; which means not much use writing about them here unless I know they are also available in English. And others have been re-reads.

I have also read two recently published ones in English, though.

The Lantern Men (Ruth Galloway Mysteries Book 12) by [Elly Griffiths] 

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (2020)
No 12 in her series about forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway.

At the beginning of this book, Ruth has a new job in Cambridge, where she and her daughter are now also living, together with Ruth's new partner Frank. However, Ruth still manages to get drawn into a case involving her old familiar environment on the coast of Norfolk - and of course her old friends there as well (including DCI Nelson, father of her daughter)... The title The Lantern Men refers to old legends about mysterious figures haunting the salt marshes and luring travelers to their death.

I like this series a lot - for the background setting and the main characters as well as the plots in each individual book.

More recently (April), the author did a "lockdown reading" of the whole of the first book in the same series (The Crossing Places) aloud, live on Facebook, in daily installments. I followed and enjoyed that! ;)

Speaking of lockdown, I've also read:

Lockdown: the crime thriller that predicted a world in quarantine

Lockdown by Peter May (2020)

In the foreword, Peter May tells the story of how back in 2005, he wrote this crime novel set against the backdrop of a bird flu pandemic. At the time, British editors thought it too unrealistic, and it did not get published. The author himself had almost forgotten  about it, until the present Covid-19 situation began spreading worldwide. He then decided to dig out his old manuscript - "if only to make us all realise just how much worse things could actually be"... 
"Bird flu, or H5N1, was being predicted by scientists at the time [2005] as the likely next flu pandemic. --- I began looking into the chaos it would inflict, and how society as we know it could rapidly start to disintegrate. I chose London as my setting, the epicentre of the pandemic, and a city in total lockdown. Against this background, the rendered bones of a murdered child are uncovered on a building site where workmen are feverishly constructing an emergency hospital." ...

Good timing for getting the book published, no doubt. Whether this is also really the best time to read it, I think must be up to each reader to decide. It's of course interesting because of anticipating the problems brought by a virus pandemic. But if you're looking for distraction, and something to remind you of "normal", you should probably pick another book... 

For me, curiosity took over - but I soon found Lockdown not suitable for "bedtime" reading. At the same time it really is a page-turner, though, so I did want to finish it. My compromise was to read it only in the daytime - and skimming through some of the more gruesome parts, I have to admit! The virus-related stuff was quite interesting (even if scary); but all in all there was too much thriller action for my taste.

(Out of Peter May's books that I have read, the Lewis trilogy still stands out to me as the best.)


  1. The Lantern series looks good! Tempting!

    1. Ginny, if you want to try them, I do suggest starting with the first one (The Crossing Places). I'm sure the books can also be enjoyed even if not read in order, but there are relationships and friendships among recurring background characters that are probably best understood by reading them in order.

  2. Yes. The Lewis Trilogy was outstanding.

    1. I'd kind of expect you to agree about that, Graham ;)

  3. Your reviews make me think I would very much enjoy both books. But I am a very slow reader these days (have not turned one single page of the book I brought along on my 1 1/2 week off work with O.K.!), something I do regret.

    1. Meike, I suspect most of us probably tend to overestimate how much "free" time (for things like reading) that we're going to have on our holidays... Especially if we're spending most of it in company of other people! :)


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