Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The excitement of opening a book you've really been looking forward to...

Who are your favourite authors? You know, the ones you can't wait to get around to reading, whether their latest book, or an older one you hadn't yet read? How exciting is it to have a book from one of those authors in your hands? And what about those authors or books you've heard great things about, but haven't yet experienced? How cool is it to 'discover', for yourself, a new-to-you author that you really, really enjoy?

Reading is a wonderful thing, but some books and some authors can create a level of anticipation more than others - based on our own preferences and reading experiences/history etc. I love reading crime fiction, but will admit that although the act of starting every new-to-me crime novel I open is cool, there are always some books that excite more than others, even before you've turned to the opening page. Books that beckon you from your TBR pile, promising much, and whetting your appetite well ahead of time. Of course some of these books deliver on their promise and anticipation, and some don't.

Today I finally started a book that I've been meaning to get to for a fair while; RED WOLF by Liza Marklund. Only a few chapters in, I'm already enjoying it greatly - and looking forward to seeing how it evolves over the next 400 plus pages. Here's a backcover-style blurb:

AN ACCIDENTAL DEATH? Reporter Annika Bengtzon is working on the story of a devastating crime when she hears that a journalist investigating the same incident has been killed. It appears to be a hit-and-run accident.

A SERIES OF MURDERS. Several brutal killings follow - all linked by handwritten letters sent to the victims' relatives. When Annika unravels a connection with the story she's writing, she is thrown on to the trail of a deadly psychopath.

THE HUNT IS ON. Caught in a frenzied spiral of secrets and violence, Annika finds herself and her marriage at breaking point. Will her refusal to stop pursuing the truth eventually destroy her?

Marklund is one of the biggest names in Scandinavian crime writing, and one of the biggest sellers across Europe, particularly in the non-English language regions. She is becoming much more well-known in English-speaking countries now, thanks to recent translations. I have read one of 'her' books previously, kind of; POSTCARD KILLERS, which she 'co-wrote' with publishing behemoth James Patterson. Although I didn't think very much of that book (see my review here), I remained keen to try one of her own, solo-author efforts. So today is a good reading day, the day I started RED WOLF.

You can read prolific Eurocrime reviewer Maxine Clarke's review of RED WOLF here. I will share my own thought in due course. I hope I like the book as much as Maxine did.

Have you read RED WOLF, or any of Marklund's other tales (in English or other languages)? If not, will you give them a go, or are you a little 'over' the Scandinavian crime wave and it's relentless publicity?


  1. I read Red Wolf, somewhat based on Eurocrime's review by Maxine Clarke. I liked it a lot, not so much for the plot, but because of the character study, the thinking, the issues befalling the protagonist at work and home, and with herself.

    I am over the Nordic noir craze per se, but I am still reading books from the region, and finding new authors on blogs all of the time, whose works I must read -- along with those from other areas of the world. Have gotten into reading Nesbo's books, though in a measured way, Thompson, and am eager to try Jungstedt, Adler-Olsen, Dahl.

    I am still drawn by Sjowall and Wahloo. Those are timeless, I believe.

  2. I did like Red Wolf a lot, but it is the fifth in a series. The earlier titles are now hard to get hold of in translation, but are being republished (in new translations) in the UK, starting this year with Exposed, the first novel (previous titles were Studio 69 in the UK and, in a fit of mis-translation, Studio Sex in the US). I think one would not enjoy Red Wolf so much without knowing Annika (and Anne's) emotionally complicated back-story and the back-story of the newspaper office politics, which feature heavily in the earlier books. Even so, it's a good read and Lisa M remains one of my very favourite authors.

    There are too many authors I like to mention here, but I recently discovered a new to me author I think I am going to like- Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugrak series. The elements I like are: independent protagonist, strong sense of place, solid mystery, good characterisation....all seem to be there in book 1, though time will tell.

  3. This is another book added to my TBR many books, so little time...