Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Saturday books part 1

There wasn't much that interested me in last Saturday's (18 March 06) Times Books supplement. I did note a new thriller, "The chemistry of death" by Simon Beckett. Apparently there is blurb praise from Mo Hayder, which is a good sign. On the other hand, it is clearly a very gruesome book --- "repulsive" the Times reviewer (Peter Millar) calls the content. The main character is a forensic archaelologist (yawn); the author's angle is to have him living in the Norfolk Broads as a result of a tragic personal event (yawn). Cue serial killer in village, ritual murders, "doomed inevitability" of a romance. Sounds pretty routine, although Millar does say that it is a "classy debut from a welcome new British voice" so might be worth a look when it is in paperback (skipping the gory bits). Having looked at the book on Amazon, the hardback is priced at 5.99 pounds, which is the price (or less than the price) of a paperback in the UK. The Times is quoting 10 pounds in its review (or 9 pounds if you buy the book from them). Pricing apart, Amazon pair the book with Robert Crais's latest, a standalone called "The two minute rule" (recommended by a colleague who has just finished it). As I've been following Val Landi, I know now that this means the publisher has paid for a pairing with another book at a certain selling level, but was not able to choose which book. Robert Crais was a good result for Beckett, in terms of market exposure. There is one customer review on Amazon so far (as well as the Hayder endorsement and one from Tess Gerritson, which is a very good sign); someone from Surrey in the UK (not me!) likes it a lot. Maybe I will buy the hardback at the Amazon price, then. Incidentally, in searching for the Times link to the Beckett review, I found an archive of selected crime-fiction reviews on the Times site. I imagine most of these are by now behind the subscription wall along with the Beckett review, but here's the link. It is a useful list of recently published books to put on your reading list, if you like crime fiction.