Once again it's time for Mailbox Monday, my favorite meme in which I always find books to add to my wish list. This meme is hosted by Marcia on her blog, The Printed Page-- thank you, Marcia!
If you'd like to see the books that others received in their mailboxes, or if you'd like to join in with us, just click on that redhead over to the left. She'll take you right to the heart of the action!
Last week I tried to recuperate from my binge at the Poisoned Pen. Two books arrived in my mailbox, but I sent a total of six to new Paperback Swap (PBS) foster homes.
Here are the two I found in my mailbox:
- Blacklands by Belinda Bauer (PBS). "Bauer, whose intent was to write a 'small story about a boy and his grandmother,' didn’t quite succeed. Yes, there’s a grandmother and her 12-year-old grandson, but Bauer’s debut is hardly a 'small' (read simple and uncomplicated) story. It’s an unsettling novel, with the sort of devastating emotional content that makes it both difficult to read and difficult to forget. Steven Lamb wants nothing more than to find the body of his uncle, taken as young boy (and presumably murdered) by pedophile Arnold Avery, who is now in prison. It’s Steven’s desperate wish that by finding the body, he’ll heal his dysfunctional family and repair his grandmother’s broken heart. Digging holes in the nearby moor (the blacklands), where many of Avery’s victims were found, has revealed nothing, leaving the pedophile himself as Steven’s only hope for ending his family’s pain. Thus begins a carefully orchestrated mail correspondence—just a few words here and there—passed between the two in letters that the recipients must puzzle out. Unfortunately for Steven, Avery quickly gains control of the conversation, which allows him to live in glorious memory of his killings. If the turn of events isn’t totally unexpected, it’s a riveting journey nonetheless, with Bauer remaining fully invested in her troubled characters: one a clever, vicious manipulator; the other an unappreciated, bullied 12-year-old, desperate for love."
- The Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori by Robert Barnard (PBS). "With the character of Declan O'Hearn, the amazingly prolific Robert Barnard pulls off the hat trick that every novelist attempts but only a fortunate few actually achieve: he creates a person we quickly come to care for, someone so unique and recognizable that we would know him if he walked into the room. Declan, an Irishman in his 20s, is a wandering minstrel, trying to see a bit of the world before he settles into whatever fate has in store for him. He is intelligent, eager to please, but lacks maturity. The plot revolves around the murder of a young man whose body is found dumped in an old car outside an Indian restaurant in the town of Haworth in Northern England. This is Brontë country, where throngs of tourists pay homage to the writing family. Sent from Leeds to investigate are detective constable Charlie Peace and his boss, detective superintendent Mike Oddie. Charlie's black skin marks him as an oddity in the small villages, but it also helps him dig up the kind of details which other cops might not be offered by the locals. Declan falls under an umbrella of suspicion, due in part to his relationship with his eccentric employer and the strange circle of acolytes who surround him. Peace and Oddie put together the pieces with skill. But this one isn't really a whodunit: you can probably figure that out in 50 pages. It's the motive and the circumstances of the crime that make the book a gem."