This cold has lingered, and actually rendered me quite useless yesterday, which meant I did a lot of reading (and watching of movies). I finished Mo Hayder's latest Walking Man novel, Skin (it's excellent), Anne Giardini's enjoyable Advice for Italian Boys, and Twilight (note the lack of adjective).
#64 - Skin
Mo Hayder's writing scares the living bejeezus out of me. She writes excellent mysteries that keep you guessing to the very end. This book picks up right where Ritual ends, picking up the threads of the story just a couple days after Flea Marley and Jack Caffrey solve the muti case they were working on. There's a serial killer in this book who will send shivers up and down your spine, and the twists and turns that the book takes will no doubt have you shouting, "No!" as much as I did. Mo Hayder's writing's as addictive as her stories are -- once I started this book, I didn't put it down until I was finished. There's a lovely image of Flea in the middle of the book feeling as if the sky is pressing down on her -- squeezing all of the air out of her lungs -- and the passage was just so perfect, so indicative of Hayder's simple prose powers, that even if the book had stopped there I would have been satisfied.
#65- Advice for Italian Boys
Full disclosure -- I interviewed Anne Giardini for work the other day and had managed to read half the book before sitting down to talk to her (it was a REALLY busy week). Let's keep in mind that Ms. Giardini's a CEO of a giant company in her day job as I tell this story.
1. I forgot the battery to my recorder. And had to race back to my desk to get them.
2. Then I put said battery in upside down and had to fight with it to get the little thingy back open to switch it over.
3. I turned it on and set it down in front of her and started the interview. But I didn't press RECORD. So we had to start the whole interview over again after I realized that I wouldn't have a single note because I was relying on the audio... Sigh.
Regardless, she's lovely, and talks how she writes -- in long, luxurious sentences. The novel loosely follows the almost coming of age of Nicolo, a twenty-something Italian-Canadian man whose trying to find his way in the world. He still lives at home, works at the gym, and hasn't quite had a significant relationship with the opposite sex. The middle child (in between two Enzos), Nicolo has a very special relationship to his advice-spilling Nonna, whose sayings pepper the story and the text with old-world common sense. Giardini said that she wanted to write a book about a good man, a man who isn't without conflict, but one who at his core has a moral centre that's just right. She accomplishes this, and it's a breezy, delightful novel that presents the picture of a lovely family that you'd be happy sitting down and sharing a meal with -- and damn, I'd bet the food would be fantastic.
#66 - Twilight
I finished it. And that's all I'm going to say. More to come via our Undeath Match next week.