Book log: Reginald Hill — Blood Sympathy

Book log, rather than book review, because I can’t get a handle on this one. It’s the first book in Reginald Hill’s Joe Sixsmith series, I’ve been reading the book on and off for nearly a month, and I was just not getting into it most of the way through. But I think it’s me, rather than the book, because I love Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe books, and I enjoyed a later book in the Joe Sixsmith series when I read it a year or two back. I’ll leave it and re-read it in a few months, and see if I do better with it then.

LibraryThing entry.

Tuesday Thingers

Missed last week’s because day job was hectic and I was too wiped out to even read blogs, let alone compose a post. This week’s prompt is:

Today’s topic: Book-swapping. Do you do it? What site(s) do you use? How did you find out about them? What do you think of them? Do you use LT’s book-swapping column feature for information on what to swap? Do you participate in any of the LT communities that discuss bookswapping, like the Bookmooch group for example?

I don’t use the book-swapping sites, for two simple reasons. One is that “swapping” implies that books will leave my possession. This is against the natural order of things, and not to be countenanced. The other is that until recently I lived a very short walk from a large used bookshop specialising in non-fiction and genre fiction, and I could buy books in there for less than the cost of postage on the book-swapping sites.

As a direct consequence of the second reason, I’m having to budge very slightly on the first. The To Be Read pile has grown to the size of a small mountain range, and I have been told by Other Half that I am not to buy any more bookcases, and that I am not to leave the books in piles on the floor, either. Thus, I must discipline myself and make some feeble gestures in the direction of a new book into the house means an old book leaving.

Which still leaves me with no good reason to join a book-swapping site, because the only reason I’m going to be getting rid of a book is that I’ve just had a shopping accident and need more space on the shelf. Swapping books will not reduce the actual book population as required…

Tuesday Thingers

And today’s Tuesday Thingers prompt is that ever-popular meme, which books have you read from a list. :-) This version is:

Here is the Top 100 Most Popular Books on LibraryThing. Bold what you own, italicize what you’ve read. Star what you liked. Star multiple times what you loved!

I’m going to skip the starring, because it’s late here and I’m tired….

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Book review: Trevor Baxendale — Something in the water (Torchwood)

First in the trio of books released for the start of the second tv series. There are a couple of internal references to tell you that it’s set between “To the last man” and “Meat”, but there’s nothing that requires specific knowledge of the show other than the basics of who Torchwood are and what they do.

Baxendale takes an old British legend and puts a Torchwood spin on it, as a water hag causes havoc around Cardiff. The book starts with several different strands which have no connection other than stagnant water, and for good measure tosses in a flu epidemic that isn’t. It takes the Torchwood team some time to connect all the clues, by which time they’re infected as well. Much running around chasing or being chased by bad guys ensues, making for a plot that offers both thoughtful research by the team and physical mayhem before they manage to close down a major threat.

Excellent characterisation, and I could hear the voices while reading much of the dialogue, as Baxendale catches the distinctive speech patterns well. There’s a decent spread of word count across the characters, and good ensemble play between various combinations rather than focusing on only one or two (though don’t go looking for any overt reference to the relationship between Jack and Ianto, because it isn’t there). Owen gets a fair bit of attention, as this is partly a medical mystery and his expertise is directly relevant to one strand of the story. Owen’s very likeable in doctor mode, without entirely losing his nasty edge with his teammates, which is the way I like him.

There’s a lot of good banter, and some nice one-liners, not just for the main characters but for the one-offs created for this story.

It’s a solid story that makes good use of both the inspiring myth and various quirks of the Torchwood universe. This isn’t just a generic science fantasy with the right names pasted in, but something that’s very clearly Torchwood. There are some minor disappointments (in particular, I felt the ending was rather abrupt), but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I can see why people with different tastes might have found it a bit flat, but it happens to hit my buttons rather well.

ISBN-13: 978-1846074370