Crombie, Deborah. No Mark Upon Her.

NY: Bantam, 2012.

Like most authors of popular mystery series, Crombie has been getting out a new book every year for some time now. This time fans of the detecting adventures of Superintendent Kincaid and DI Gemma James had to wait three years — but it was worth it. (And time doesn’t move at the same rate as in the outside world, however, or Kincaid’s son, Kit, would be at university by now.)

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Published in: on 31 March 2013 at 6:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Abercrombie, Joe. Red Country.

NY: Orbit, 2012.

It’s kind of hard to believe that The Blade Itself, Abercrombie’s first work of robust, “real world” fantasy, appeared less than six years ago. Now, with the sixth volume set in his uncomfortable, hardscrabble, magic-fueled but vey human world, he has become a highly-regarded fixture in the field with glowing reviews even from professional readers who don’t ordinarily venture into this kind of thing.

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Crombie, Deborah. Necessary as Blood.

NY: Bantam, 2009.

This is the 13th novel in the mystery series starring Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard and his (once professional and now domestic) partner, Inspector Gemma James, and I think it’s one of the best. This is largely, I think, because there’s rather less digression about purely family matters

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Published in: on 27 March 2013 at 1:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Murakami, Haruki. After Dark.

NY: Knopf, 2007.

The city is unnamed but let’s call it Tokyo. It’s a couple minutes to midnight in an entertainment district. Mari Asai sits in a crowded second-floor Denny’s restaurant, reading a thick book with great intensity and sipping a single cup of coffee.

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Published in: on 25 March 2013 at 11:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Crombie, Deborah. Where Memories Lie.

NY: Bantam, 2008.

The entry before this one I thought was rather weak and overwritten, but the author has bounced right back in what I think is one of the best in the series about Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, two London homicide cops who work very well together professionally but who also have a so-far-successful blended family together.

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Bujold, Lois McMaster. Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance.

NY: Baen, 2012.

As the many fans of the adventures of Miles Vorkosigan know, Miles has reached the age of forty (in Cryoburn) and is about to enter upon a new and very different phase of his life. (No spoiler details for new readers, sorry.) His days as the Little Admiral are far behind him and probably even his work as Imperial Auditor is going to be affected. But, of course, Miles isn’t the only inhabitant of the dozen or more novels about him.

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Crombie, Deborah. Water Like a Stone.

NY: Bantam, 2007.

Maybe it’s because Crombie isn’t a Brit herself, but she seems determined in this admittedly enjoyable mystery series to hunt up a new background theme and location for each book and to expound on it remorselessly. And it does get a little old.

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Adkins, Leslie. Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome.

NY: Facts on File, 1994.

Reference librarians are very familiar with this publisher, which has put out a long, long string of useful ready-reference volumes on an impressive array of topics. Because of my long-term interest in classical history, this one has a prominent spot on my own shelf, and it’s been heavily thumbed over the past fifteen years.

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Pratchett, Terry. Dodger.

NY: Harper, 2012.

A new book from Sir Terry is always a cause for celebration, and this one is no exception. It’s also somewhat unlike any he’s done before, being in the way of an “historical fantasy,” as he himself describes it.

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Bujold, Lois McMaster. Paladin of Souls.

NY: HarperCollins, 2003.

When last we saw the Dowager Royina Ista of Chalion (who’s actually only about forty), she had regained her sanity, the curse over the royal family (and thus over the country) having been removed by Castillar de Cazaril, who has now become Chancellor to Ista’s daughter, the young Royina Iselle and her husband, Royse Bergon of the kingdom next door.

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