Book Review: Murder Below Montparnasse

My latest read, well at least the latest one that isn't for my book club or a kids book, is Murder Below Montparnasse by Cara Black. Aimée Leduc is recruited by an old Russian to recover a stolen painting, but his absolute refusal to provide her with any concrete details does not start her off with the best advantage. Set in Paris in 1999 this story delves into the Serbian underground and the art world's black market. I nice dose of Leninist history works to round out the plot.

This is actually the 13th in the Aimée’s Leduc Investigations series; a fact I was not aware of when I picked it off our preview shelf at work. I will say that it stood alone very well as far as the actual plot is concerned. It was a nicely paced thriller with a real feel for Paris. What I think I missed out on by missing out on the first twelve books is a real appreciation for the characters.

There are a ton of characters that are all very unique and some are only native to this particular volume, a lot are clearly introduced and developed in previous entries to the Leduc canon and I felt robbed only getting a taste of them. There is also an interesting but mostly irrelevant side plot that I would have been much more invested in if I was more familiar with the characters involved.

Despite being a bit of a francophile with a decent background in the French language, I did find the author's habit of making Aimée so stereotypically French was painful for me at points. The references to Chanel, Lolita Lempicka, agnès b., and Hermès did seem a bit forced and and very non-essential. Just my silly complaint. Probably.

Long story short, if you like mysteries and thrillers and you've been looking for a decent female lead, this is a great choice for you. And if you like to travel via your books, this easy read will definitely transport you to Paris. Enjoy.


Link Love: 02.07.13

Image via tesori belle


Book Review: Jam

So if any of you follow me on Goodreads you may know that I've set a book-a-week goal for 2013 (that means 52 books this year for anyone who's as slow at math as I am!). I figure between school, work, blogging and life this is a reasonable goal for me this year, even if it does seem a bit sub par for my normal reading numbers. Anywho, I just finished my second book (I'm a bit behind, leave me alone) and I've made the decision that you will all now be subjected to a book review every time I cross another tome off my list, so without further ado...

Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw

So I'm not sure if it was the title or the author's name that first drew me towards this book on the shelf, but it turned out to be a very great and reliably quirky find. This book takes place in modern day Brisbane. The plot centers around an apocalypse by jam or "jampocalypse" as the characters begin to refer to it as. Cut of from the outside world, a group of unlikely survivors must find out how much of civilization is still left. You have a character who has plans for reforming society, a character who is seizing the opportunity to record every single event for posterity, a character who is convinced that help is on the way, and a character who is just trying not to get eaten by the jam. Add in one Goliath birdeater, some great satire on youth and corporate politics and one lovable soldier who reminded me so much of Kronk and you have an easy, entertaining read that made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. My only wish is that the main character could have been a bit less whiny and that the ending had been flushed out a bit more. But maybe what felt rushed and incomplete to me is just leaving the door open for a sequel. I would definitely read a sequel.