book log: 56) Chaz Brenchley — Light Errant

Re-read of the sequel to the stunning dark urban fantasy Dead of Light. Ben Macallan fled abroad at the end of the first book, away from his gangster family and away from any temptation to use his supernatural abilities. But even so he finds himself in a situation where he has to intervene or watch a friend suffer. His promise to himself broken, he gets on his motorbike and heads for home.

But home isn’t what it was. The city has finally found a way to defy the Macallans and their uncanny powers of life and death. Only the Macallan men have power, and their women are now hostages. Ben is sick of death and destruction, but a rescue, never mind a peace deal, may be beyond even his extraordinary talent.

It can be read as a standalone if need be, but I think is much better read in sequence with Dead of Light. That way you get a full appreciation of the growth in Ben, as he not only learns to deal with his own newly discovered talent, but convinces key members of his generation of the family to find another way to use theirs. It doesn’t have quite the same impact as the first novel, because you don’t have the suspense of wondering just how the Macallan clan control the city, but it’s still an intense ride with a book that’s well out of the usual run of urban fantasy.

Light Errant is out of print in its original paper editions from NEL, but has been re-released in ebook format by Book View Cafe, along with Dead of Light. You can find samples of both books at the BVC website. And maybe if enough of us buy them, Chaz will write a third…

book log May 2012

47) Agatha Christie — The Mysterious Affair at Styles [audiobook]

Abridged on three CDs and narrated by Hugh Fraser.

I actually listened to this earlier in the year, and seem to have left it out of the booklog, probably because it was when I had very bad RSI. I had some trouble following the plot in places, but I think this is largely down to the abridgement necessary to get it on three CDs. Hugh Fraser does a good job of reading it.

48) Agatha Christie — Murder on the Orient Express [audiobook]

Abridged on three CDs, and narrated by Andrew Sachs. I haven’t read the original book, but found this abridgement enjoyable and easy to follow.

49) Andre Norton — Star Guard

I downloaded this as a double with Star Rangers under the title Star Soldiers from the Baen Free Library. Enjoyable YA from Norton, with humanity having relatively recently moved into interstellar space, only to find that they are late comers, and have been classified as primitives only fit for mercenary work. Young recruit Kana Karr goes on his first assignment out of training, and finds more than he bargained for.

50) Agatha Christie — Lord Edgware Dies http://book

Abridged on three CDs, and narrated by Michael Cochrane.

The print novel was previously reviewed here; this is a good abridged audiobook version.

51) Ngaio Marsh — Artists in Crime [audiobook]

Abridged on three CDs, and narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. Sixth in the inspector Alleyn series, and the one which he meets his future wife Agatha Troy. The first meeting is on board a cruise ship, and does not go entirely well. Which makes life all the more difficult for Alleyn on a second meeting, when he is called to a murder investigation at an artists’ summer school run by Troy. The method of the murder is signalled to the reader well in advance, which only makes it all the more flinch inducing when it finally occurs. But while the method is clear, there is an abundance of motives. Alleyn has to carry out the usual invasion of people’s privacy while dealing with is growing feelings for Troy.

It’s an enjoyable period police procedural which has been competently abridged for audio. Of course, the real attraction for many listeners nowadays will be the narration by Benedict Cumberbatch, who does an excellent job.

52) Ngaio Marsh — Swing, Brother, Swing [audiobook]

Abridged on three CDs, and narrated by Anton Lesser. 15th of the inspector Alleyn mystery series.

53) Alan Hunter — Gently Where the Roads Go

10th in the Inspector George Gently series. A Polish haulage contractor is found dead by machine gun. The gun is an obvious link to a nearby RAF base, but who killed the dead man and why? An enjoyable entry in this series.

54) Alan Hunter — Gently Sahib

The 12th Inspector George Gently book. A year ago a tiger got loose from a nearby wild animal collection, but was shot dead by the police before it could do anything worse than create panic. At least, that’s what everybody thought until a corpse turned up, having been mauled by the tiger but buried by human hands…

55) Dorothy L Sayers — Whose Body? [Audiobook]

BBC Radio 4 full cast dramatisation, on two CDs, with Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey.

The first Lord Peter Wimsey book, dramatised for radio in 1973 in five half hour episodes. It’s a superb dramatisation, with a wonderful cast, and while it does of necessity leave out some of the book, it captures the story and the characterisation very well. I think you would enjoy this even if you haven’t read the book, but if you like the books, this is a wonderful adaptation. Very much recommended if you’re a Sayers fan, particularly if you’re a fan of Ian Carmichael as Wimsey.

The cast also includes a fair bit of interest for fans of 1970s and 1980s cult TV. Amongst others, there’s Peter Jones, Gabriel Woolf, and Peter Tuddenham.