Saturday 30 July 2016

I Let You Go & Friends in High Places

    Here are a couple more book reviews I did for the McBride Library Book Club.

"I Let You Go" by Clare Mackintosh 
      This novel is new to the library and I chose it because it was said to be similar to "Gone Girl", a book I really enjoyed reading.   Like Gone Girl, it did have some real unexpected twists in the plot and those are always fun.   The jaw dropping surprise in I Let You Go really caught me napping, and like Gone Girl, it makes it a difficult book to review, because although I would like to discuss the book more fully, I don't want to spoil the surprises for others who might want to read it. 
      The storyline begins with a jolt, as the touching scene of a single mom walking her young son home from school on a dark rainy afternoon, turns into a nightmare when the boy runs to cross over to their home on the quiet neighborhood street, and is killed by a car which comes screaming around the corner, then continues speeding away from the accident. 
     It is this hit and run that drives the plot, which includes the police, the mother, and the driver.  The book kept me curious, as the truth of what happened slowly unwinds. 

"Friends in High Places" by Donna Leon
      Joan really likes to read mysteries and the novels of Donna Leon are among her favorites. Since I have never read one, I thought this would be a good time to do it. Leon's novels take place in the corrupt and bureaucratic world of modern day Venice. Her main character is a high ranking police detective named Brunetti.  I read this novel as an ebook on my iPad after checking it out from the library's Overdrive site. 
     The plot begins as Brunetti is stretched out on the couch on a Saturday afternoon reading and he is disturbed by someone at the door. It is a nondescript young bureaucrat from the city who informs Brunetti that the top floor apartment he owns has no documentation and may have been illegally built. 
      After this encounter Brunetti hears no more about it and time passes until he receives a phone call at work  by that same young bureaucrat, calling to saay he has discovered something untoward going on in his office that urgently needs to be reported to the authorities.  When  Brunetti finds out that he is being called on a mobile phone, he tells the young bureaucrat that cell phones are not secure and that he should call back using a pay phone. The call is never returned. 
      The next day Brunetti reads in the paper that the young bureaucrat is in the hospital after a bad fall from scaffolding.  Brunetti goes to see him, but discovers he has died and the hospital staff begin giving him the run-around.  Brunetti soon realizes the young man's death was not an accident and starts to dig into the dark seamy culture of Venice to determine who was responsible for the death.     
     This murder, and other incidents he has to deal with in his job, give the reader a taste of the corrupt underbelly of the magnificent city of Venice.  The novel is easy  going, straight forward, and quite accessible.  I enjoyed reading it and felt like I learned a lot about life in Venice, beyond what is seen by tourists. 

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