Trevanian (1979)

4/5. Finished Saturday 10 November, 2012.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)

Excession (Culture, #5)

Iain M. Banks (1996)

Without a doubt my favourite book (so far) in the Culture series, a book I can read again and again. The premise that one can rationalise oneself into evil acts is only made stronger by having it apply to Minds as well as people!

As usual Iain Banks manages to full all the characters, places and species in this book with convincing detail and lovingly-crafted back-stories. He also manages his trick of providing paragraphs-long digressions that add immensely to the texture of the writing without getting in the way of the plot.

5/5. Finished Saturday 10 November, 2012.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)

Red Plenty: Inside the Fifties’ Soviet Dream

Francis Spufford (2010)

2/5. Finished Saturday 10 November, 2012.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)

Deception: Spies, Lies and How Russia Dupes the West

Edward Lucas (2012)

3/5. Finished Saturday 10 November, 2012.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)

Broken Harbour (Dublin Murder Squad, #4)

Tana French (2012)

This is perhaps the first real piece of post Celtic Tiger fiction, and is certainly a strong start. The descriptive text is absolutely lovely, and brings out a world familiar to anyone who’s visited a town in rural Ireland since the crash.

The plot is well-paced and twisted, and the characters are all sympathetic and beautifully observed. But the landscape is a major character, especially the ghost estate of Brianstown but also the small apartments and suburban houses of the other characters. It’s a novel that really feels Irish in terms of place as well as people. The use of the internet feels real too, unlike so many books that try (and fail) to be both socially and technically correct about computers and crime.

My only real criticism is that some poor copy-editing let through some jarring non-Irish expressions that should really have been caught: “muffler” instead of silencer, “airplane” instead of plane, for example. These jump out precisely because the text is so flowing and crisp.

5/5. Finished Wednesday 31 October, 2012.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)