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text 2018-08-19 21:00
Summer of Spies - Tracking Post
Above Suspicion - Helen MacInnes
Blowback - Valerie Plame Wilson,Sarah Lovett,Negin Farsad
The Traveller Returns - Patricia Wentworth
The Spy - Paulo Coelho
Zoo Station - David Downing
The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book - Simon Vance,Peter Finn,Petra Couvée
Night Soldiers - Alan Furst
Fair Game: How a Top CIA Agent Was Betrayed by Her Own Government - Valerie Plame Wilson,Laura Rozen
I Will Repay - Emmuska Orczy,Johanna Ward
The Lifeline - Phyllis Bottome

Memorial Day Weekend -- Labor Day 2018

 

Finished, to Date:

Fiction

Agatha Christie: N or M? (revisited on audio, narrated by Samantha Bond) ***

Ian Fleming: Quantum of Solace (short story only; new / audio, narrated by David Rintoul) *1/2

Kate Westbrook: Guardian Angel (new / audio, narrated by Eleanor Bron) ***1/2

Stella Rimington: Secret Asset (new / audio, narrated by Rosalyn Landor) ****

Francine Mathews: The Cutout (new / audio, narrated by Trini Alvarado) **1/2

Jane Thynne: Black Roses (new / audio, narrated by Julie Teal) ****

John le Carré: The Tailor of Panama (revisited on audio, narrated by the author) ****1/2

Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana (audio, narrated by Jeremy Northam) ****1/2

Agatha Christie: They Came to Baghdad (new / audio, narrated by Emilia Fox) ***1/2

Rosalie Knecht: Who Is Vera Kelly? (new / audio, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers) ***1/2

Len Deighton: Berlin Game (new / audio, narrated by James Lailey) ****

Eric Ambler: The Mask of Dimitrios (new / print) ****

Helen MacInnes: Above Suspicion (new / print) ****1/2

Valerie Plame Wilson, Sarah Lovett: Blowback (new / audio, narrated by Negin Farsad) ***

Patricia Wentworth: The Traveller Returns (new / print) ****

Paulo Coelho: The Spy (new / English print version + German audio, narrated by Luise Helm and Sven Görtz) ***1/2

David Downing: Zoo Station (new / print) ****

Alan Furst: Night Soldiers (new / audio, narrated by George Guidall) ****1/2

 

 

Emmuska Orczy: Adventures of The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel (revisited on audio, narrated by Stephen Crossly) ****1/2

I Will Repay (new / audio, narrated by Johanna Ward) ****

 

 

John Le Carré: George Smiley Cycle

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (revisited on audio, narrated by the author) *****

The Looking Glass War (new / audio, narrated by Michael Jayston) ***1/2

Smiley's People (revisited on audio, narrated by Michael Jayston) *****

 

 

Nonfiction

Stella Rimington: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (new / print edition) ****

Peter Finn & Petra Couvée: The Zhivago Affair (new / audio, narrated by Simon Vance) **1/2

Valerie Plame Wilson: Fair Game: How a Top CIA Agent Was Betrayed by Her Own Government  (new / audio, narrated by the author) ****

 
 

Currently Reading:

Phyllis Bottome: The Lifeline
 

 

 

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text 2018-08-18 09:54
Reading progress update: I've read 42 out of 511 pages.
Night Soldiers - Alan Furst

Well, this is off to a grim start. Gripping, tho. And I love that the setting is not the usual Western European one.

 

 

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review 2018-08-18 03:00
Girls' Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
Girls' Night Out - Lisa Steinke,Liz Fenton

A special thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.

 

Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?

 

As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.

 

Liz and Lisa, what a ride!  This book was fantastic!  The writing is layered, dynamic, and oh so clever.  The character depictions are detailed and fierce and I was completely captivated by the timelines and narratives.    

 

What Fenton and Steinke do best is conversation.  Did you not feel like you were on this trip too?  Beyond the story are deeper themes of secrets, complicated relationships (at what point is a friendship obligatory?) and mystery.  The brilliant aspect of this book is the juxtaposition of complex friendships against a frantic search for a loved one.  Female relationships are complex, but three is never an ideal number and this ratchets the tension even further.  I would highly recommend this book.  

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text 2018-08-16 15:47
Reading progress update: I've read 62 out of 190 pages.
The Solitary Summer - Elizabeth von Arnim

Ooooh, and I love that description of her foray into the garden just before dawn; so peaceful and serene.  And yet, the symbolism of dreaming and then waking up to the day's impending sorrows is impossible to miss.

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review 2018-08-14 20:49
A little uneven and disappointing
Dark Sacred Night - Michael Connelly

Bosch and Ballard together solving crimes in downtown LA, sounds a recipe for success, unfortunately my original enthusiasm was not realized. Ballard is the new kid on the block, first introduced last year in the excellent "The Late Show". She has a lot to prove, riding the night shift, surfing in the morning accompanied by her faithful dog Lola. It's tough working as a female detective always open to criticism and ridicule and constantly under the watchful eye of her male colleagues just waiting for disaster to strike.

 

Bosch of course is the grizzled vet, working out of the San Fernando police dept on "cold cases" that still remain unsolved after a number of years. Daisy Clayton was murdered nine years ago, her body found naked and bleached clean to hide all trace of DNA. Ballard discovers Bosch working on this unsolved murder and she decides to help him in her downtime. So up to a point this story is full of potential and hope. However this is not the only case the detectives are involved in and that's where the narrative comes undone. When I read a detective story I want the author to concentrate and build the storyline one theme or murder (or numerous murders as in the case of a serial killer) This gives the reader time to become acquainted with the various issues raised and characters introduced. By running a number of sub plots/storylines the main theme, which in this case is the killing of Daisy Clayton, becomes diluted and loses its impact and effectiveness. Harry at the same time is involved in a crime case with gangland connections that goes terribly wrong. Ballard has her own heavy work load including a potential rape case that becomes something different entirely.

 

Having said that a Michael Connelly novel always contains some great moments with Harry Bosch at the centre. He is a maverick investigator refusing to admit that he could ever be a target, but on this occasion he is wrong. In addition he is harbouring an unexpected house guest and the fallout from this has a tragic outcome. So "Dark Sacred Night" is not a bad novel it is simply that I expect such high standards from the author. The partnership of Ballard and Bosch works to an extent but the Daisy Clayton killing seems to lose its impact as it becomes lost amongst the ever increasing workload that forms the agenda of our two hard working detectives. The conclusion of the story indicates the possibility of future adventures/assignments and I hope that will not happen. Bosch is a loner, a detective who shirks instructions, and this is the very quality that makes him so attractive to his many adoring readers. Yes lets develop the career of Renee Ballard.....but not on Harry's watch!

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