book log 7) Torchwood: Asylum

First of the trilogy of BBC Radio 4 plays released in 2009 as a bridge between Series 2 and Children of Earth. I missed this on initial broadcast, and didn’t get around to listening to it until my recent purchase of the CD set. This is pure quill Torchwood — something (or as in this case someone) falls through the rift, and Torchwood has to deal with it. There’s a detailed plot summary on Wikipedia. Good story with some interesting exploration of the Torchwood universe, and mostly well-acted. PC Andy gets a good role.

book log 6) Reginald Hill — An Advancement of Learning [audiobook]

Audiobook of the second Dalziel and Pascoe, abridged on 3 CDs and read by Warren Clarke, who played Dalziel in the late 90s tv adaptation. I’ve previously reviewed the novel itself here. This is a good abridgement, and Clarke is an excellent reader, but of necessity it does leave out some of the character development. An enjoyable version but probably better for those already familiar with the book.

book log 5) Jennifer Ashley — The Many Sins of Lord Cameron

Third of the Highland Pleasures quartet of romances about four brothers who are Scottish lords in Victorian Britain. This one looks at Cameron, a man who has sworn off marriage after his appalling first marriage, but who has not sworn off women. He’s a popular man with the ladies, being a generous lover both in the financial sense and in wanting it to be a mutually satisfying experience. Ainsley Douglas, a young widow of noble blood but impoverished circumstances, has crossed paths with him once before. But then she was married to a man she would not betray. Now she’s alone, and willing to consider letting Cam seduce her at least a little — and not just because that way she might be able to avoid explaining exactly whose letter she was looking for in Cam’s bedroom, where it had been hidden by his latest mistress. The slow seduction turns to friends-with-benefits and then romance. But even when it turns to marriage, Cam still has demons from the past to face down.

Another strong entry in this excellent romance series. As with the first two books, this has strong characterisation and a solid plot, with the sex scenes being an important part of showing the growth and changes in the relationship between the lead characters. One of the things I like about this series is that it has strong heroines who have their own lives to lead, and a good measure of control over those lives. And of course, women who enjoy sex and have had a sexual past. Two widows out of three heroines so far, but absolutely no virgin widows here. It’s also notable for showing a male victim of domestic violence.

I think the book is richer for having read the series in order, but would be enjoyable read as a standalone.

January book log partial – books 2-4

2) Ruth Rendell — Some Lie and Some Die
Eighth Inspector Wexford novel. Another competent entry in the police procedural series with a psychological twist.

3) Justin Richards – Doctor Who: The Resurrection Casket
Ninth of the new series Doctor Who novels. Ten and Rose get stuck in a dead spot of space, a place where high tech (including the Tardis) doesn’t work because of the high concentration of plot-devicium. Cue steampunk robots and space pirates, as sundry interested parties go hunting for the titular MacGuffin in an utterly shameless Treasure Island/Doctor Who crossover. Silly but fun.

4) Dick Francis – Bonecrack
Neil Griffon is abducted and threatened late one night. But what is demanded of him is highly unusual — that he make a particular young man a jockey at his father’s training stable. Not for the obvious reasons — no fixed races, no attempt to corrupt the betting process. Just a gift from a father to his son, who wants more than anything else in the world to ride a winning race on a particular horse.

Griffon has no choice, not when the horses are under threat. But there are more subtle ways to deal with a blackmailer than direct confrontation…

An excellent thriller, and a fascinating study of father-son relationships. There’s some lovely characterisation in this book, and Francis builds on that to show how the two main characters change with the experiences they’re put through.