Welcome to 2018! The start of a new year is a good time to set goals for the year and to evaluate past accomplishments. My goal for this year is an obvious one – to post monthly on the Mysteristas Blog. I have commented frequently as 3 no 7, but this year I will be posting once per month. I am a reader, not a writer, so my posts will reflect that slightly different point of view. (There are 3 no 7 reasons why I post as 3 no 7 rather than as Barbara.)
Many authors encourage readers to post reviews, so that was my goal for last year. I set up my blog, “Looks at Books” with Katie and Barbara (https://3no7.wordpress.com/ ). I post there as well as with on-line book sellers. I have enjoyed my book journey. I read and reviewed my favorite authors, discovered many new authors, and selected books other than my favorite “police procedure” works. Here are some of the new and old favorite books I read in 2017.
Book by favorite author with a new character.
I have to start with Michael Connelly; his Bosch books were always my “go to” books, so I was intrigued when “The Late Show” with Renee Ballard arrived on bookshelves. I found Ballard to be every bit as formidable as Bosch and her story was every bit as compelling. Ballard gave me a different, but insightful look at Los Angeles and the LAPD. I am anxiously waiting for the next episode.
Book set outside the United States
I ventured back in time and across the pond to read Adrian McKinty’s “Police at the Station and They Don’t look Friendly.” The title alone made me want to see what Sean Duffy was up to in Ulster in 1980. I learned Duffy is not one to give up, and he quotes Martin Luther “If the Apocalypse was coming tomorrow, today I would plant a tree.” this, even as Duffy’s own world collapses.
Book Set outside the Earth
“Artemis” by Andy Weir is set in Artemis, the only city on Earth’s moon. Alas, this new civilization has an ugly side with covert smuggling, a black-market economy, industrial espionage, commercial sabotage, and corporate takeovers, but who would expect a murder on the moon? It was incredibly funny, even though any tiny misstep while living in a vacuum could result in catastrophic collapse of the entire life-support system. It gave a new meaning to the description “a compelling page-turner.”
Book that was not a mystery – or was it?
I ventured into the nasty world of politics with “Young Jane Young” by Gabrielle Zevin. It was not about the “dramatic event,” and there was a little hidden mystery, but was really about the people, all the people, who were touched by this event and how they changed and coped. Jane describes it precisely, “The past is never past. Only idiots think that.” This is especially relevant now with the “Me Too” movement.
Book by an author that everyone has read except me.
There are many in this category, but I picked Archer Mayor’s “Trace.” How could I have missed the other twenty-seven books in the Joe Gunther series? Well, somehow I did, but found it at last. Mayor superbly entwined people in and out of three separate yet interconnected criminal cases. I have never visited Vermont, yet his descriptions were so detailed that he placed me right in the scene. I opened Google Maps and found the river, the railroad tracks, the abandoned buildings, everything. I read Archer’s “Tag Man” after that, so now I only have twenty-six to go.
Book with a different ending
“Watch Me Disappear” by Janelle Brown is not about the death of wife and mother Billy Flanagan who disappeared almost one year previously while backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail in Desolation Wilderness. It is about the consequences of that event, a family in crisis. It is about her husband Jonathan and daughter Olive who are left behind, haunted by “missing and presumed dead,” a phrase with no conclusion. And yet there is a conclusion, but not one that I expected.
Books by guest authors
I cannot forget all the books I found simply because the authors visited Mysteristas. I will not list them all because there are twelve, yes twelve books that I would never have read, never would have heard of, if the authors had not visited Mysteristas and shared.
Thank you, all of you, regular contributors and guests, for helping me expand my reading list.
Now it is your turn.What one (or two) books (good or bad) did you read last year that were outside your regular reading list?