I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search For the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. I borrowed this from Martha, and wasn’t sure I was going to be able to read it in full, as I might have found it too frightening. However, after I was a few chapters in, they arrested the man who they think is the killer, so my fear dissipated somewhat. The book was half-written by McNamara when she died, and then was pieced together by a fellow true crime writer, and a detective. McNamara’s writing is excellent, so the first half of the book – the parts she wrote – really pull you in. The second half of the book is more scattered, and the part that I found frustrating is that she never had a chance to outline her suspects. As it turned out, the man they arrested wasn’t on anyone’s list of possibilities, but McNamara had predicted that he might be found out by genealogy tests, which indeed he was. It’s suspenseful and frightening; the man is a monster and he completely terrorized a whole region. I’m glad he is (likely) behind bars.
Tangerine By Christine Mangan. This was a good book, although definitely one of those reads that I’m rather glad when it is over. You can see which way it is headed (although it certainly has a lot of surprises), and can do nothing to help. It takes place in Tangier in the 1950’s. Alice has gotten married to an Englishman who is in love with Tangier, but she is depressed and is having trouble leaving their apartment daily. Lucy, Alice’s former roommate at Bennington College, shows up one day and moves in. The chapters switch from Alice’s point of view to Lucy’s, as well as from current events back to events that happened at Bennington. It soon becomes clear that Lucy is obsessed with Alice and has her own agenda. Poor Alice does not stand a chance. It’s very atmospheric and well done, but as I said above, I was glad when it was over, because it was a tense read.
A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess. This was a fun read – it’s like a Bridget Jones novel but with more detail. It would be a good movie, and since I know Burgess writes screenplays, I imagine it is on its way to being one. Abigail is a 27 year old living and working in London. She’s recently broken up with a very long-term boyfriend and is single for the first time in her adult life. The book is basically a story of her dating travails, complete with friend sidekicks, and handsome platonic roommate. It is witty – Burgess is a really funny writer – and a fun, light read. It made me want to partake in the constant cocktail drinking Abigail and her friends did daily.
Back To Blood by Tom Wolfe. I have never read any books by Tom Wolfe (just the Look Homeward, Angel Thomas Wolfe), and a colleague recommended that I try Back To Blood. I am surprised at how much I enjoyed reading it – I would have guessed his style wasn’t something I’d enjoy, but I guessed wrong. This book is about a Cuban-American cop in Miami, Nestor Camacho, who at the beginning of the book rescues a refugee off a ship’s mask, thus dooming the guy to be sent back to Cuba and angering his community. This sets off a series of events that has Nestor always in the middle of a newsworthy crime solving, in very entertaining and detailed ways. What I like best about the book and Wolfe’s writing is the saturation of details; he obviously has good powers of observation, but he must also have done prodigious research. I also really liked how Wolfe had several different characters that he’d spend time on, and one could sense the stories of the characters would all fit together before being able to figure out how. My criticism is that except – perhaps – for Nestor, I felt like Wolfe was making fun of all the other characters, which is fine, but if everyone is laughable it becomes less funny. I also was often bothered by Wolfe's often overt misogyny, sigh, especially with regards to the character Magdalena. On the whole though, a surprisingly (to me) enjoyable and clever book.