Over the past weeks, I filled in my more serious reading with some mysteries and thrillers. I feel that this kind of reading gives us a sort of satisfaction because those that deserve it get what is coming to them. So I give you some mini reviews of the ones I have read.
The Fallen Angel, Daniel Silva, HarperCollins, 2012, 464 pp
I keep thinking I am going to get tired of Silva's formula. Well, not yet.
Gabriel Allen, the Israeli assassin, and his wife are living in Rome. He is getting some well deserved rest from his last mission, actually restoring a painting at the Vatican, a Caravaggio.
Of course, someone dies, a woman, in St Peter's. It looks like a possible suicide but neither Gabriel nor the Pope's private secretary think so. It is a delicate matter so Gabriel is on the job again.
Involved are Hezbolla, the Vatican Bank, and a huge act of terrorist sabotage. As always in Silva's books, the plotting is superb. Though Gabriel is in no shape to attempt death defying moves, he can run the operation. A great plot twist just when the Office (Israeli intelligence) thinks they have won ramps the plot up even further.
I was glad to be back fighting terrorism with Gabriel and his team. I have been reading this series for a while and only have eight more to go.
High Country, Nevada Barr, G P Putnam's Sons, 2004, 301 pp
Once again, a best ever in this series featuring Anna Pigeon, National Park Ranger.
Anna goes undercover as a waitress at Yosemite National Park to investigate the disappearance of four young park employees. She sets off into the snowy wilderness only to encounter life threatening events. There is always a bit of romance in Nevada Barr's mysteries. Though Anna is now engaged she finds herself attracted to a chef in the kitchen of the famous Ahwahnee Hotel.
Extreme suspense but of course she solves the case, which boils down to drug dealers. I loved being in Yosemite with her since my husband and I have driven through the park and eaten in that famous restaurant.
I read this one in two days. It is #12 in the series and I have seven more to go.
Count Zero, William Gibson, Arbor House, 1986, 246 pp
Count Zero follows Neuromancer as the second book in Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy. Sprawl is his term for a future mega-city stretching from Boston to Atlanta, connected by a cyber network populated by jackers, criminals and various semi-religious beings that include AIs.
As wild as this must have sounded in the 1980s, one gets the sense these days that such guys might actually exist in the world.
I liked this one even a bit more than Neuromancer because the main characters had more humanity to them. Like you can be a keyboard cowboy and still have a heart? Plus this time I felt more at home in Gibson's crazy world.
Count Zero is a new character, a misfit high school boy who wants to play in the cyber network and ends up helping Turner, the main character in the earlier book, out of his next hot spot.
A good technopunk adventure.
Airs Above the Ground, Mary Stewart, Fawcett Publications, 1965, 255 pp
This one came from the 1965 list of My Big Fat Reading Project. It was nominated for an Edgar Award and I have been following her novels through a couple of decades.
Vanessa March has agreed to escort her best friend's 17 year old son to Austria. Actually she herself is on a mission to track down her husband who is supposedly in Stockholm on business but is worryingly out of touch. Vanessa has just seen his picture in a newsreel story about a circus fire in Austria.
Naturally she fears the worst: that he is with another woman. She and the boy, Timothy, visit the scene of the fire at the circus and stumble into a web of stolen goods, international drug smuggling and the disappearance of a famed Lipizzaner stallion after his groom died in the fire.
In true Stewart fashion, we learn plenty about circus life, dressage and life in an Austrian village. Vanessa and Timothy, on the trail of the stallion, stay in an old castle, now a hotel. The atmosphere there is distinctly Gothic. The details of the horse with his ability to do the dressage movement called "airs above the ground" is woven into the story, which sometimes interrupts the suspense but it always gets back to the mystery soon enough.
I was captivated all the way by this page turner of a mystery.
Have you read any of these books or others by this author? What mysteries or thrillers have you enjoyed lately?