What I Read in February 2013

Yeah, I missed getting this up in March. So February’s is happening now, and March’s will happen in a day or two. I thought about doing them both at once, since I had about as much time to read in March as I did to write blog posts, but doing so would mess up my monthly format even more.

Dodger

Terry Pratchett

Pratchett is an author that has long been on my to read list, since his stuff sounds like just my thing. However, I have never really managed to do it. When I saw Dodger on sale on Amazon, I figured it would be the best chance I would get to read some Pratchett on the cheap. I’m not sure this was the best place to start with Pratchett, though.

Dodger is the story of a London orphan who helps out a distressed young woman. Early parts read like a love letter to Charles Dickens, with Dodger being obviously inspired by the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist, and he has a Jewish mentor who is actually totally unlike Fagin. Then Dickens himself shows up, proving that it is just such a love letter. Not just ot Dickens, though, but to Victorian London in general. It doesn’t whitewash the bad parts, the main character is an orphan who makes his living digging things out of the sewer, but the novel is largely upbeat and humorous.

Unfortunately, by about the halfway point the supposed cleverness of the Victorian references and Dodger’s combination of street smarts and ignorance starts to wear thin. Instead of continuing the plot, too much time is spent with Dodger rubbing shoulders with famous people. In the end, it goes from amusing to somewhat tedious.

The Mapping of Love and Death

Jacqueline Winspear

Another Maisie Dobbs book. This one is about the death of an American Cartographer (hence the mapping in the title) in WWI under suspicious circumstances. His family hires Maisie to find out what happened once and for all. Perhaps more importantly, it is also about the deteriorating health of Maisie’s mentor Maurice.

Honestly, I ran out of things to say about this series several books ago. I find Maisie and Co a compelling enough group to read about even if the mysteries don’t blow me away. I do think this is one of the better entries in the series.

The Black Echo

Michael Connelly

I’m not really sure where I stand on this book. It’s not really my sort of thing; I received it as a Christmas gift. I didn’t not like it, but I’m not rushing out to get the next Harry Bosch novel. I simply have trouble taking this noirish sort of detective novel seriously. Especially when you get characters like partners Lewis and Clarke. That stupid sort of name knocked me right out of the story.

I don’t mean to say that The Black Echo is bad; I found it entertaining enough. Det. Harry Bosch gets a case that has ties to his days as a soldier in Vietnam and eventually pits him against the FBI. There are some good twists, some bad twists and an overall good story. It is just not the sort of detective or mystery story I like.

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