Peter Turnbull, IMPROVING THE SILENCE. This is a pretty good novel with a better than average climactic scene. A police procedural, it deals with "bent coppers." One could wish the copy editor had caught a few things, though.
Charles Todd, WINGS OF FIRE. Police procedural set in Post-WWI Britain. I have a vague memory that this series is written by a mother-son team of Americans.
First off: I didn't finish it, but perhaps not for the obvious reasons. This book is well-written, the language smooth and literate. I have two quibbles: 1. I'm tired of country house murders with suspect family members gathered about.
2. The protagonist is a strong character who suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome, more specifically guilt over having ordered one of his men shot for cowardice. So far, excellent. But the man who was shot, Hamish, is a constant companion in Inspector Rutledge's consciousness, commenting on everything from the landscape to a case. This has been going on for the whole series so far and is not believable, even if originally it might have lent an interesting quirk to the novels. Hamish has become a major irritant for me because I cannot see him either as a guilt complex (at this rate, Rutledge would be certifiably mad) or as a ghost. He has an undefined character, being sometimes comical, and at others quixotic, menacing or vengeful. Frequently he just seems to be there as a country boy for local color.
I too was irritated with this companion at first, IJ, but after awhile I got used to him and enjoyed his many intrusions and warnings. And of course he is a delusion from Rutledge's mind. I don't know if that makes Rutledge certifiable or not but he sure is not normal. I heartily recommend the writer and the novel.
Jason Goodwin, THE BELLINI CARD. I believe that is number three after the Edgar winner THE JANISSARY TREE. The series is set in mid-nineteenth century Istanbul and features the eunuch/investigator Yashim. I had some reservations about JANISSARY TREE, mainly plot-related. The historical detail was excellent. This current book is mostly set in Venice, the history is not as convincing, and the plot is incredibly convoluted and murky.
Just finished Laura Lippman's "Life Sentences." It kept me reading, but was not quite up to the level of suspense she is capable of. "What the Dead Know" was gripping; "Life Sentences" is slow by comparison. Well-written, though. And Lippman knows her city---Baltimore---and its people, both black and white, very well. Even if it's not quite a "heart-pounding" thriller, "Life Sentences" is definitely worth reading for other reasons---as a study of a writer's obsession and weaknesses, for one thing.
Also just started Michael Koryta "So Cold the River," after my curiosity was piqued by a post here on CrimeSpace.
I'm not a big fan of Stephen King---prefer detective stories to stories about the supernatural, but I thought I'd see what all the fuss is about. So far, I'm not that impressed with the writing. It's not bad---but it's not dazzling. At the same time I started Jane Langton's "The Dante Game," and her writing IS dazzling, even if this is what you might call a "caper." (Langton is actually sort of unclassifiable, and I love her books).
I am not at all sure that "So Cold the River" is going to be anything other than a predictable tale of an historical evil unleashed in an idyllic place....or another haunted hotel story (Koryta does make a reference to Stephen King's Overlook Hotel in "The Shining.") But I'll persevere long enough to see where he's going with this mysterious bottle of water....Didn't we always know not to trust the stuff? :)