The Colour of Blood by Brian Moore
Five words from the blurb: conflict, Church, state, political, suspense
Brian Moore was shortlisted for the Booker three times (in 1976, 1987 and 1990) and so I was keen to try his work. The Colour of Blood is a political thriller involving Catholic activists, an unnamed Eastern block country, and the Security Services. Unfortunately it hasn’t aged well. It might make an interesting read if you are studying the Cold War, but the writing and the attitudes of the characters felt dated. At less than 200 pages it was a quick read, but I felt I’d wasted those few hours of my life. Very disappointing.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Five words from the blurb: New Zealand, goldfield, men, crime, mystery
The Luminaries is fantastic book and it deserves to win this year’s Booker Prize. It is beautifully written, perfectly captures New Zealand’s 19th century gold rush, and has a whole host of literary merits; but unfortunately it wasn’t for me.
I invested a significant amount of time reading the first 250 pages of this book. I initially loved the atmosphere and historic detail, but after a while I became frustrated by the incredibly slow plot. If I am to invest days/weeks reading a massive 800+ page chunkster like this I really need to care about the characters and have a desire to find out what happens next. Unfortunately the characters were a bit distant and I began to dread having to continue with this book. I didn’t care who’d murdered who and became irritated by the meandering plot. Sadly I abandoned it, but I know many people will think it is the best book of 2013. It probably is.
Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason
Five words from the blurb: Reykjavik, Detective, haunt, genetic, secrets
Jar City isn’t my normal choice of reading material. It is a fast paced, dialogue lead piece of crime fiction. I read it as part of my Icelandic fiction binge and found it an enjoyable distraction, but instantly forgettable. Three weeks on I can remember next to nothing about what happened. It is a typical light mystery in which the murder is solved via a series of fairly unrealistic discoveries. If you’re after an entertaining read that doesn’t stretch the brain cells then there’s nothing wrong with this one.