The Game’s Afoot Wishes You All A Happy And Healthy New Year

I have left out many things throughout 2013. If I have counted correctly, I read 67 books, although I have still to finish today A Man Without Breath by Philip Kerr. My reviews of Then We Take Berlin by John Lawton and Plata quemada by Ricardo Piglia (English title: Money to Burn) will also have to wait until the next year. And two books that I really want to read have not found their place in this year that is coming to its end. The City of Shadows by Michael Russell and Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. I’ve just put them both on top of my TBR list.

For whatever reasons, which I don’t need to comment here, I’ll have to reduce the number of crime fiction books that I will be able to read during 2014. However, my goal is still read 4 books a month, at least. But I’ll have to be even more selective with my readings, if possible. As I did mentioned, I’m waiting to read soon the following books Breaking Point by C.J. Box, Quien mate al dragón de Leif GW Persson (English title: He Who Kills The Dragon), Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer, Summertime All The Cats Are Bored by Philippe Georget, and Pale Horses by Nate Southard. And I also bought recently Brother Kemal by Jakob Arjouni and Consorts of Death by Gunnar Staalesen.

Looking at my wish list I can find The City of Strangers by Michael Russell, Dead Water by Ann Cleeves, Blackwattle Creek by Geoffrey McGeachin, Bad Blood by Arne Dahl, Graveland by Alan Glynn, How a Gunman Says Goodbye by Malcolm Mackay, Closed for Winter by Jorn Lier Horst, The Second Deadly Sin by  Åsa Larsson, The Treasure Hunt by Andrea Camilleri, Ostland by David Thomas, The Red Road by Denise Mina, I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, El detective moribundo de Leif GW Persson, Entry Island by Peter May, The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly, Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin, A Delicate Truth by John Le Carré, The Stranglers Honeymoon by Hakan Nesser, and Dead Lions by Mick Herron.

I look forward to continue with my long term challenge with no finishing date, and read several series in chronological order, Montalbano, Harry Bosch, John Rebus, Adamsberg, Mario Conde, Jack Irish, Van Veeteren, Bernie Gunther, to which I have recently added, Dalziel and Pascoe.

Three books that will be published soon have called especially my attention, Scarred by Thomas Enger, Irène by Pierre Lemaitre and Cobra by Deon Meyer.

I’m afraid that it will become an impossible task if I still want to leave some room to read some other crime fiction books in its original Spanish. However, as in life, what counts is not to reach our goal but the path covered to achieve it.  

I do hope my journey through some of these books will be of your interest.

The Game’s Afoot Wishes You All A Happy And Healthy New Year

Review: Police, by Jo Nesbø

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Harvill Secker, 2013. Hardback. Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett. First published with the title Politi in 2013. ISBN: 978-1-846-55596-1. 522 pages.

The action, in Police, unfolds immediately after the events narrated in Phantom, the previous instalment (you can see my review HERE). As a matter of fact, in an interview at Crime Fiction Lover, Jo Nesbø himself tells us: ‘Actually, I wrote Phantom and Police more or less as one book, in one long stretch, so I had already planned Police before I’d finished Phantom’. It goes without saying that, any potential reader, should start reading first Phantom if she/he has not already done so.

Anyway Police’s plot is difficult to summarize without giving away too much. Suffice is to say that when a former police agent is murdered at the crime scene of an old case in whose investigation he was involved, it can hardly be a coincidence. But when two other agents are also killed under similar circumstances, there is already a clear pattern. Regarding the original crimes, it’s assumed they were sexually motivated, but neither one has been solved yet. With respect to the policemen’s murders there are no clues, no suspects, and no motives. ‘The best that could be said about this case was that it had brought the two big murder investigation units in Norway –Crime Squad and Krypos- closer together’.

To make matters worse the police can’t count with their best investigator. Meanwhile, a severely wounded man is in coma at a hospital in Oslo. His identity is kept secret and the door to his room is being guarded by the police. Within the police force itself there are different opinions on how to address the case. Gunnar Hagen, head of Crime Squad, suggests dividing the investigation unit into several smaller ones, while Mikael Bellman, the new Chief of Police, believes one big and well-coordinated group is always best. Without Bellman’s knowledge, Hagen sets up a small unit, with Katrine Bratt, Beate Lønn, Bjorn and Stale Aune. But, where is Harry Hole?

Police has several plot lines that become intertwined with each other. Even if each story has many and very varied characters, the main plot is easy to follow. Each scene usually ends at a crucial moment and, thus, it is difficult to put it down. This is just a technique, but extremely well done and helps to increase the tension. The reader’s attention is also kept with some unexpected twists and turns. And, finally, some loose ends and its open ending anticipate that we can expect it will continue. I can only finish quoting Karen at Euro Crime when she writes: ‘After the grimness of Phantom and the extreme violence of The Leopard, Police is more akin to the earlier novels in the series, emotionally similar to The Redbreast, and as always, I can’t wait for the next one.’ In a nutshell, a wonderful thriller. Simply superb.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book).

Police has been reviewed at Crime Scraps Review (Norman), Crimepieces (Sarah), Euro Crime (Karen), Seeing the world through books (Mary Whipple), Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog (Keishon), Crime Fiction Lover, Mysteries in Paradise (Kerrie), Reviewingtheevidence (Barbara),

Harvill & Secker

Knopf Doubleday

The Random House Group

Salomonsson Agency

Jo Nesbo Official Website US

Jo Nesbo Official UK Site 

Police, de Jo Nesbø

La acción en Police se desarrolla inmediatamente después de los acontecimientos narrados en Phantom, la entrega anterior (mi reseña está disponible AQUÍ). De hecho, en una entrevista en Crime Fiction Lover, el propio Jo Nesbø nos dice: “En realidad, escribí Phantom y Police, más o menos como un solo libro, en un largo período, por lo que ya habia planificado Police antes de haber acabado de escribir Phantom”. No es necesario decir que, cualquier lector potencial, debería comenzar leyendo primero Phantom si no lo ha hecho ya.

De todos modos la trama de Police es difícil de resumir sin desvelar demasiado. Baste decir que cuando un ex agente de policía es asesinado en la escena del crimen de un antiguo caso en cuya investigación se vio involucrado, difícilmente puede ser una coincidencia. Pero cuando otros dos agentes también son asesinados en circunstancias similares, ya existe un patrón claro. En cuanto a los crímenes iniciales, se supone que fueron por motivos sexuales, pero ninguno ha sido resuelto todavía. Con respecto a los asesinatos de los policías no hay pistas, no hay sospechosos, y no existen motivos. “Lo mejor que se podría decir de este caso es que había conseguido aunar los esfuerzos de las dos principales unidades noruegas dedicadas a la investigación criminal, Crime Squad y Krypos”.

Por si fuera poco la policía no puede contar con su mejor investigador. Mientras tanto, un hombre gravemente herido se encuentra en estado de coma en un hospital de Oslo. Su identidad se mantiene en secreto y la puerta de su habitación está siendo custodiada por la policía. Dentro de la propia fuerza policíal existen diferentes opiniones sobre cómo abordar el caso. Gunnar Hagen, el director de la Brigada Criminal, sugiere dividir la unidad de investigación en varias más pequeñas, mientras que Mikael Bellman, el nuevo Jefe Superior de la Policía, cree que un grupo grande y bien coordinado es siempre mejor. Sin el conocimiento de Bellman, Hagen forma una unidad pequeña, con Katrine Bratt, Beate Lønn, Bjorn y Stale Aune. Pero ¿dónde se encuentra Harry Hole?

Police tiene varias líneas argumentales que se entrelazan entre sí. Incluso si cada historia tiene muchos y muy variados personajes, la trama principal es fácil de seguir. Cada escena por lo general termina en un momento crucial y, por tanto, es difícil dejarlo. Se trata sólo de una técnica, pero está muy bien ejecutada y ayuda a aumentar la tensión. La atención del lector se mantiene también gracias a algunos giros inesperados. Por último, algunos cabos sueltos y su final abierto anticipan que podemos esperar que continuará. Sólo puedo terminar citando a Karen en Euro Crime cuando escribe: “Después del extremadamente lúgubre Phantom y la extrema violencia de The Leopard, Police recuerda más a las novelas anteriores de la serie, similar emocionalmente a Petirrojo, y como siempre, no puedo esperar a la próxima entrega.” En pocas palabras, un magnífico thriller. Sencillamente soberbio.  

Mi valoración: A+ (No se lo piense más y consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

Bruno and le Père Noël: A Christmas Short Story, by Martin Walker

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo.

Quercus, 2012. Kindle edition. 1528 KB. ASIN: B009S8HMKQ. Ebook ISBN: 978-1-84866-241-4.

Bruno and Le PèRe Noel

The story begins on the last market day before Christmas in the small French town of St Denis (a fictional town in Dordogne Perigord). The town policeman, Bruno Courrèges, is feeling slightly embarrassed, dressed as Father Christmas, when his phone vibrates. An incoming message from the Préfecture de Police in Paris asks him to confirm receipt of a fax. Once in his office, the fax informs Bruno that a prisoner on parole named Jean-Pierre Bonneval, has run away. Bruno should report immediately if Bonneval shows up in that area. It happens that his former wife, Miriam, has moved recently to live in St Denis together with their son Richard.

Looking for something light and short to read these days I came across this Christmas story that can be downloaded legally and free in e-format. Without thinking twice, I read it in one sitting. I must admit I found it quite enjoyable. I certainly have a soft spot for this series since I read Bruno, Chief of Police (my review is available here). The story, told in a simple and clear style, is particularly suited for those who want to improve their English and it comes with an extra bonus, the author’s own guide to ‘A Perfect Week in Perigord’. A region I’m really looking forward to visiting one day. 

My rating: B (I really liked it)

Quercus

Bruno, Chief of Police website

Amazon.es

Bruno y Papá Noel: Un cuento de Navidad, por Martin Walker

La historia comienza el último día de mercado antes de Navidad en la pequeña localidad francesa de St Denis (una localidad ficticia en la Dordoña Perigord). El policía de la ciudad, Bruno Courrèges, se siente un poco cohibido, vestido de Papá Noel, cuando su teléfono vibra. Un mensaje entrante de la Prefectura de Policía de París le pide que confirme la recepción de un fax. Una vez en su oficina, el fax le informa que un preso en libertad condicional llamado Jean-Pierre Bonneval, se ha escapado. Bruno debe informar inmediatamente si Bonneval aparece por la zona. Se da la circunstancia de que su ex esposa, Miriam, se ha trasladado recientemente a vivir en St Denis, junto con el hijo de ambos, Richard.

Buscando algo ligero y corto para leer en estos días me encontré con este cuento de Navidad que se puede descargar en formato electrónico de forma gratuita y legal. Sin pensarmelo dos veces, lo leí de una sentada. Debo admitir que me pareció bastante agradable. Ciertamente tengo una debilidad por esta serie desde que leí Bruno, jefe de policía (mi reseña está disponible aquí). La historia, contada en un estilo sencillo y claro, es especialmente adecuada para aquellos que quieran mejorar su inglés y viene con una ventaja adicicional, la propia guía del autor para pasar ‘Una semana perfecta en el Périgord’. Una región que tengo muchas ganas de visitar un día.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó mucho)

Quercus

Bruno, Chief of Police website

Amazon.es

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions, ….

I already know what I’m about to read before the end of this year, but which one will be next?

Some choices:

Ya sé lo que voy a leer antes de que finalice este año, pero ¿cuál será el próximo?

Algunas opciones:

Breaking Point, by C.J. Box

Quien mate al dragón, de Leif GW Persson (English title: He Who Kills The Dragon)

Rubbernecker, by Belinda Bauer

Summertime All The Cats Are Bored, by Philippe Georget

Pale Horses, by Nate Southard

Season’s Greetings

File:GRECO Natividad.jpg

El Greco [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Most of us will be busy with some kind of celebration in the coming days. For this reason I would not want to miss this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a great 2014.

La mayoria de nosotros vamos a estar ocupados con algun tipo de celebración durante los próximos dias.  Por este motivo no me gustaría dejar pasar esta oportunidad sin desearos a todos unas muy Felices Navidades y un buen año 2014.

2014 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco, in Toledo (Spain). More information at El Greco 2014

En el 2014 se cumple el 400 aniversario de la muerte de El Greco en Toledo (España). Más información en El Greco 2014