Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tea, books and audiobooks on a muggy Sunday morning...

It’s overcast and muggy on this Sunday morning as I sip my chai tea and think about what I’ve read and listened to over the past week. 
I’ve been really busy with things other than reading last week, so I’ve only managed one book.  I read Toronto writer Linwood Barclay’s newest novel, No Safe House, which is due out on August 5th (I have a review copy because it is one I am reviewing for the local paper).  This novel is a sequel to his 2007 book, No Time for Goodbye, which I have not yet read – I’m planning to read it before I write the review, just so I know a bit more about the backstory.  In No Time for Goodbye, 14-year-old Cynthia Bigge wakes up one morning to discover that her whole family has disappeared without a trace.  Twenty-five years later, she has moved on with her life and has a family of her own.  Then strange cars appear, she gets untraceable phone calls, and ominous “gifts” are delivered - she is about to discover the truth about what happened so long ago, and not even her own innocence is guaranteed.  Fast-forward seven years, and we step into No Safe House.  Cynthia and Terry are having challenges with their rebellious 14-year-old daughter Grace, whose movements and activities Cynthia monitors constantly.  This is because seven years earlier, Cynthia and Grace were abducted and held captive until Terry, with the help of criminal bad boy Vince Fleming, finds and rescues them.  One night, Grace is out with her sort-of boyfriend Stuart, when they stumble upon a crime while undertaking their own petty criminal activity.  Left to her own devices, Grace calls on her father to help her out of the mess she is in and keep her from getting into further trouble with the police; little do they know that they are about to become involved in criminal activity of the most serious kind with some very dangerous people.  Terry and Cynthia must think fast and trust their instincts to keep Grace and themselves alive, while once again asking Vince for help.  By the end of the book, they discover that once you are involved in the criminal activities of some people, there are no safe houses.  Barclay is a bestselling author whose thrillers are wildly popular with readers.  I have listened to a couple of his novels and I have to say, I’m not a huge fan, although his books are real page-turners, if you like that sort of thing.  I’m hoping that once I read No Time for Goodbye and have the background story, this novel will seem less “surface” – perhaps all the character and plot development happened in the first book, so he felt he didn’t need to rehash it in the sequel.  Anyway, I would recommend that if you are planning to read No Safe House, you should probably read No Time for Goodbye first.
I also finished listening to an audiobook last week, Blowback (The Enzo Files, #5) by Peter May, narrated by Simon Vance.  I’ve never read or listened to anything by this Scottish author before, although he has written many, many mystery thrillers, most in different series but some standalones as well.  This series features Enzo Macleod, a former forensic specialist who now teaches forensics at a French university, and who has boasted that he could solve the seven cold cases outlined in a book written by a Parisian journalist.  Book 5 in the series has Macleod trying to solve the seven-year-old unsolved murder of Marc Fraysse, France’s top chef, found murdered on a volcanic plateau near his remote three-star restaurant.   As Macleod interviews Marc’s grieving widow, his spurned lover,  his estranged brother, and a cynical food critic, the complex relationships surrounding Fraysse put everyone in the frame for the murder, and make uncovering the truth even more difficult.  This audiobook was a wholly satisfying listening experience for me, mostly because of the story, but also due to the excellent narration by Vance.  I have now downloaded the first in the Enzo Files series, Dry Bones, also narrated by Vance, but will take a break and listen to something else, saving this one as a treat I know I will enjoy. 
OK, time to get outside and enjoy the day, despite the humid weather.  Happy Sunday!

Bye for now…
Julie

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