This  Man Reads….

February Reads Take Me All Over Europe!

the Hermit - Thomas Rydahl one of my february reads

 February Reads – Books 12 to 9…..


So far this month I have finished four books. Those books have taken me to a variety of counties where I met a lot of interesting characters. I am writing about the books in the reverse order of when I read them…

Book Number 12 The Hermit by Thomas Rydahl took me to the Canary Islands.There I met a 65-year-old taxi driver from Denmark, Erhard Jorgenson. Erhard lives alone in a shack near the resort of Fuerteventura. Erhard’s life is changed forever,after a car is found washed up on the beach. A dead 3 month old baby is found in a cardboard box on the back seat. The police try to quickly and quietly close the case by having a prostitute  claim she was the mother. Erhard knows that is wrong and for the sake of the baby he wants to prove what really happened!

During the course of his investigation Erhard makes some questionable decisions are in the name of advancing his investigation. At times I thought the story dragged a little and some of  Erhard’s actions bothered me. But In the end I The Hermit was a great read. Others thought so too. As The Hermit won the 2015 Glass Key award as the best Nordic crime novel! Rating: 4 stars


Black Widow - Chris Brookmyre a2017 reading challenge book

Book Number 11 – Black Widow  -Christopher Brookmyre.

Black Widow is set in Scotland, Over the last several years, I have visited Scotland many times, via the books of Peter May and others. Black Widow is book 7 in Brookmyre’s Jack Parlabane series. In this book Lucy Elphinstone hires Jack to look into the disappearance of her brother Peter. Peter went missing after his car slid off of a snow-covered road and ended up in the river. Lucy and two police detectives feel that Peter may have met with foul play. And the likely suspect is his wife of six months,successful surgeon Diana Jager aka bitchblade!

It seemed to me that the story took a long tine to develop. I had a little trouble with Brookmyre switching back and forth from the first to the third person in the narrative. I thought it was a little strange that Jack Parlabane didn’t become an important part of the story until the second half of the book! The last half of the book certainly made up for any of the shortcomings of the book in its first half! And the ending was great!

Black Widow won the 2016 McIlvanney Prize for Scottish crime book of the year an honor it rightly deserved. Rating- 4.5 stars

All that Man Is - David Szalay

Book 10 All That Man Is by David Szalay

All That Man Is took me to many places across the European continent. It is a collect of short vignettes of nine different men all at different stages of their lives. With each vignette the man in the story is a little older than the previous one. Typically I don’t read books  like All That Man Is,  And for that reason, I’ll let Goodreads tell you about it……

A magnificent and ambitiously conceived portrait of contemporary life, by a genius of realism.

Nine men. Each of them at a different stage in life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving–in the suburbs of Prague, in an overdeveloped Alpine village, beside a Belgian motorway, in a dingy Cyprus hotel–to understand what it means to be alive, here and now. Tracing a dramatic arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, the ostensibly separate narratives of All That Man Is aggregate into a picture of a single shared existence, a picture that interrogates the state of modern manhood while bringing to life, unforgettably, the physical and emotional terrain of an increasingly globalized Europe. And so these nine lives form an ingenious and new kind of novel, in which David Szalay expertly plots a dark predicament for the twenty-first-century man. Read More

All That Man is was a Man Booker Prize Nominee (2016), and a Gordon Burn Prize (2016 )winner and once again deservedly so! Rating: 4 stars.

A Foreign Country - Charles CummingBook 9  A Foreign Country  – Charles Cumming.

A Foreign Country is book one of Cumming’s Thomas Kell series. The settings for A Foreign Country include France, Tunisia and England. Thirty years ago a young au pair walked away from the family she was working for. She left without a word of good-bye. Now the reason that young girl left could rock the world of the first woman director of Britain’s MI6. From  Goodreads..

On the vacation of a lifetime in Egypt, an elderly French couple are brutally murdered. Days later, a meticulously-planned kidnapping takes place on the streets of Paris. Amelia Levene, the first female Chief of MI6, has disappeared without a trace, six weeks before she is due to take over as the most influential spy in Europe. It is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced in more than a decade. Desperate not only to find her, but to keep her disappearance a secret, Britain’s top intelligence agents turn to one of their own: disgraced MI6 officer Thomas Kell. Tossed out of the Service only months before, Kell is given one final chance to redeem himself – find Amelia Levene at any cost. Read More

I really enjoyed this book. The book moved at a brisk pace and I like the character of Thomas Kell and others around him.There was a fair amount of suspense particularly at the end. I believe I will be visiting with Thomas Kell again and again. I already have  checked out from my library the Kindle edition of A Colder War (Thomas Kell # 2). While  A Divided Spy (Thomas Kell #3), was just released on Valentine’s Day! So maybe when I finish A Colder War,  A Divided Spy will be available at the library,

Final Thoughts

Summarizing I have read twelve books so far in 2017. That puts me ahead of  schedule to reach my goal of 60 books for the year. I had never read any books written by any of the authors I have read  so far in February. Additionally, Black Widow and A Foreign Country are both part of a series, that I will definitely be reading more of!

I noticed after writing this post that none of the books I read this month are set in the USA. I guess I needed a vacation from all he turbulence in our country since January 20th……..