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review 2018-03-08 00:35
Sleuthing for a new mystery series
The Killings at Badger's Drift - Caroline Graham

It might come as a surprise that I had never heard of the writer Caroline Graham until my mom got me into watching a show called Midsomer Murders. (It's on Netflix if you're interested.) What does one have to do with the other? Well, the tv show is based off of a book series by Graham that begins with The Killings at Badger's Drift which also happens to be the first episode's name. As this is the first in the Chief Inspector Barnaby series, you can expect the usual character introductions and some growing pains as the reader decides if they actually want to throw their hat into the ring of a somewhat grumpy detective in the English countryside. In the show DCI Tom Barnaby is a fatherly figure accompanied by a somewhat bumbling underling named Gavin Troy. It's not quite the same in the book. Firstly, Troy (who is one of my fave characters) is not at all likable. The reader is treated to somewhat of an inner monologue of his and he's not what I'd characterize as a a good dude (he's misogynistic, arrogant, and a cheater). Secondly, Barnaby is bordering on being a full-blown hypochondriac with an extensive knowledge of horticulture which at times seems to nearly distract him from the case at hand. (Get ready for a lot of plant descriptions.) However, looking beyond these very different versions of the characters the 'feel' of the mystery is the same if somewhat more overtly sexual. (This is an adult novel.) The crime centers around a small village called Badger's Drift and the victim is an older woman who everyone can agree was very likable. There aren't any concrete leads on suspects and Troy is ready to write it off as a bizarre accident when another murder occurs right up the road. Onward, super sleuths! Like Christie, Graham is able to write characters extremely well and the feel of the village comes completely to life on the page. This was an extraordinarily fast read for me because I was enjoying it so much and wanted to see whodunit (even though I already knew). Mystery fans who want to visit what has to be the deadliest county in the UK must get their hands on this book because I strongly suspect (see what I did there?) you won't want to stop there. 9/10 but lost a point because Troy made me grind my teeth in sheer frustration.

 

What's Up Next: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Others Lessons From the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-02-16 21:48
Books don't always end at the last page
Left in the Wind: A Novel of the Lost Colony: The Roanoke Journal of Emme Merrimoth - Ed Gray

The book in today's post was generously sent to me by Pegasus Books. There are some publishers that totally get the kind of books that I like and Pegasus is right at the top of the list. They sent me a copy of A Novel of the Lost Colony, Left in the Wind: The Roanoke Journal of Emme Merrimoth by Ed Gray which comes out on May 2nd of this year. It's a historical fiction book about the English that attempted to colonize Roanoke at the end of the 16th century...and were never heard from again. Gray took that concept and ran with it in a completely unique way. As the title suggests, it's the fictionalized journal of Emme who we know was one of the colonists who traveled to Roanoke. The preface explains that the governor who traveled over with the more than 100 individuals (including women and children) returned back to England for supplies, went back to Roanoke, and discovered that the colony was empty. There was no investigation. Gray created an entire backstory for 1. Why the governor really went back to England and 2. What actually happened to the colonists. I have to confess that this area of history is one which I am abysmally ignorant. However, the best works of historical fiction make the reader want to do their own research and if it's a really excellent book it will make you want to go out into the field to see it with your own eyes. I will warn that this book went in directions that I hadn't expected (there are scenes of a sexual nature is what I'm getting at here) but it fits with the characterization of Emme who is very sexually liberated for her time. It was fast paced, engaging, and had me wanting to know just what exactly happened to those people...maybe Gray had it spot on...guess we'll never know. If you're a history buff and/or you like an engrossing read (who doesn't?) then I highly recommend you go out and pick up Left in the Wind which comes out on May 2, 2016.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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