Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Monthly Reading List: November

Heat Wave (Nikki Heat #1) Richard Castle

An adequate rendering of the first season of Castle.
Finally! Having read nearly the entire series by now, I at last got my hands on this first book of the Nikki Heat series. It was really interesting to read it, already knowing the characters, and seeing "Castle's" perspective on how they all met. It wasn't as stellar as the other books, but then again, this is supposed to be the "first" book he wrote after an extensive writer's block, right?
The case concerns the murder of a rich real estate tycoon, but the investigation is positively littered with references to the various cases Castle "experienced" during the writing of this novel. If you love the show, you will really enjoy these books!

Water Song (Once Upon A Time Tales) Suzanne Weyn

A rather unexpected but clever rendition of a "modern-day" fairy tale. Most retelling a have been in such idyllic settings as small French villages or kingdoms—but the setting for this tale was more akin to the Disney movie, as it dealt with a lackadaisical American soldier (in the British Army) and a Belgian heiress captured by Germans during World War 1. Emma is desperate to escape, while Jack seems to want her attention more than he cares about the German soldiers who just might kill them. Will they be able to work together to get away?
The story was a bit cobbled and rather loose, but as with the other tales in this series, the references to the original fairy tale--The Princess and the Frog, if you haven't guessed--are lovely to behold. Not the best quality—the character "transformation" was so vague and confusing that I am still not sure if it actually happened, or if we just have to take the author's say-so—but I liked it well enough.

Whose Body? (Lord Peter #1) Dorothy Sayers

I am loving Lord Peter already.
Once again, I have previously read other books from later in the series, so going back and reading this first one was like flipping back in time and seeing the case that spawned a whole lot of wonderful novels and short stories. Lord Peter is as rambunctious as ever, with his odd questions prompted by keen insight taking the miscreants off-guard, his rather casual banter with the Duke of Denver (his brother) and the way he collects facts from many different sides and puts them together to find the culprit is still most fascinating, even to this day.
The mystery was a good one: a body wearing nothing but a pince-nez that did not belong to him shows up in somebody's bath--and it's up to Lord Peter to do what Scotland Yard could not: identify the body, exonerate the "most likely" suspect who is already in police custody, and find the real killer. Sayers presents us with a most whimsical character in Lord Peter (aptly named) Wimsey, and I really enjoyed the belated introduction!