When you have a favourite author who is very prolific, at some point there surely is going to be a book which does not appeal to you or does not engage or doesn’t seem quite as good as others.
One of my favourite writers (and I must go back and reread him) is Reginald Hill who wrote many novels bu my favourite were the Pascoe and Dalziel series. He wrote some stonkingly good books, real classics, but there were some which I just didn’t like – and what’s more thought weren’t quite as good as the others.
Graham Hurley is an amazing writer, and I loved all his Joe Faraday novels until certain events in the stories shocked me and upset me to the point that not only did I not want to read any again, but I gave away all the books I had written by him.
Another favourite and amazing author is C.J. Sansom; his Shardlake series is an absolute tour de force! They feature on my best ever list and I thought after the recent novel, Lamentation, he would maybe call it a day and that would be the end of the series. I am so thrilled and delighted that another novel is due in the autumn, Tombland… ordered and i can’t wait to get it and read it!!
Recently I have been reading another Anna Pigeon novel by Nevada Barr. She is a tremendous writer and her character Anna is a ranger and law enforcement officer in the USA’s amazing national parks. I am now on number 11, having read them one after the other – it’s a bit of an addiction! Number 11 is ‘Flashback’ set in the Dry Tortugas National Park.
The narrative is split in two; one follows Anna as she goes about her business investigating the explosion on board a cruiser, a missing woman and possible smugglers, while also reading a whole series of letters from a distant aunt to another aunt about Samuel Mudd who was associated with the assassination of President Lincoln.
It sounds a great idea, the two stories in the same setting but a century and a half apart running in parallel. However it wasn’t a successful idea for me. Maybe I wasn’t familiar enough with the Lincoln Mudd story, maybe I couldn’t quite grasp the geography of Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas where the action takes place… or maybe I began to feel that the main character Ann was becoming unbelievable.
Over the last ten books she has consistently put herself in danger by going it alone… and up to now I could believe that she might. do that; the situations were such that she as a character in a novel might do go it . This time, when time after time she went out in a boat and dived on a wreck alone, I just couldn’t credit it.
There were aspects of the story which were repeats from other novels and as such I began to wonder why such a down to earth though floored character would do what she was doing. The point of the character is that she is small and slight in build. In every story she suffers dreadfully in a physical as well as mental sense – could any one person take so much? It began to fray at the edges of what was possible.
I’ll definitely go on reading the Nevada Barr series… but this one was a miss for me!
Don’t be discouraged from reading Nevada Barr by my review of this one book! Here’s a link to her page: