In 2020 I made a decision to reduce my to-be-read pile of physical books by theming each month and reading paper books from the pile relating to that theme. I thought that it was a good idea to aim for 12 books to be read each month in this way. I have most of my themes sorted out now and quite a few books allocated to each (although frighteningly I still have a large number remaining !). You can read about this and my other aims for the year here.
January, as month one, I have allocated to crime novels and I aim to read 12 physical crime novels during the month. Crime is a genre I read plenty of and I have a large number of books which fit this description waiting to be read. For the purposes of this blog, crime includes suspense and thrillers both contemporary and historical.
My first book completed in the challenge was Holiday in Death by JR Robb.
This book is one of a very long series written by this author which I first found in my local library and have collected ever since. They are set in a futuristic New York and feature Eve Dallas who is a police officer operating in the city. Eve is in love with, and by this book has married, a rich and powerful Irish businessman known only as Roarke.
This book is set at Christmas and features a serial killer who gains access to his victims by dressing up as Santa. The police have to find out who he is and stop him before there is widespread panic. The trail takes them to a dating agency whose clients seem to be the targets. At the same time Eve is wrestling with the challenges of her first Christmas with Roarke. Neither of them have had a conventional or nurturing upbringing and find the challenges of the season slightly disturbing.
The “In Death” books are at the lighter end of crime fiction. The futuristic settling allows the author to invent new ways to overcome plot issues and speed things up. The books are character driven and it is worth starting with the first in the series Naked in Death to watch how the author develops characters, deals with their past issues and introduces new characters. I have read all the books in the past and am working my way through them again.
These books are very popular and they are deftly written. You do get the feeling, after a while, that the plots are very similarly structured but there is usually a bit of banter or character interplay to make it different. There are over 40 books now and I think the newer ones are just as fresh (although there is some speculation on the Internet that the author is using a ghost writer now).
A perfectly pleasant, albeit unchallenging, book to start. A series for those of you who like a bit of lighter crime. I enjoyed it.