What I’ve been reading this month – October 2019

The InstituteThe Institute by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a large chunk of the book, The Institute is very much a split personality book. It starts with Tim, a disgraced ex-cop who decides to hitchhike up through the United States, to New York but gets stuck in a small southern town with the job of night knocker. I loved this part of the book, as I love stuff set in slow Southern towns, where everyone is so laid back they’re almost asleep but there’s mayhem lurking just under the surface. And then the book switches to a boy in Minneapolis, and it’s all amount whether he can go to university (he’s 12 but very bright), and his habit of psychically knocking off empty pizza pans, and I’m all like “I want my disgraced Southern ex-cop!”. The boy gets kidnapped and wakes up in a mysterious institute, where he discovers that a secretive organisation is doing something very nasty to children with psychic powers. This goes on for a long time, me still missing my Southern ex-cop, but that part of the story did start to grow on me. Eventually, genius psychic boy and Southern ex-cop meet up, and well stuff happens.

I really liked how Stephen King handles the bad guys in this one, they are a little stereotyped but they’re amusingly a little incompetent and I liked how King went into why they were letting things slip. I also really liked all the characters in the small Southern town, particularly how they all reacted to a certain key scene (trying not to give spoilers).

Nothing to Hide (DC Constance Fairchild, #2)Nothing to Hide by James Oswald

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am a massive fan of the Inspector McLean books, so it’s always good to see more work by James Oswald but because I’m such a massive fan of the McLean books, anything that’s not McLean is not quite the same. This series has DC Con Fairchild, aka ‘posh cop’ according to the tabloids that are hounding her. Still on suspension after the events in the last book, Con has to come back to London to testify in the upcoming trial. Once there she gets mixed up in a case of bodies with bits ritually removed. As with the McLean books, Con Fairchild comes up against cases that might or might not have a touch of magic about them, which I love. Fairchild does meet some McLean characters, although not the man himself, I look forward to hopefully some more crossovers.

In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and RealityIn Search of Schrödinger’s Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality by John Gribbin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really interesting look at the history and development of quantum physics, which was, most of the time (to this non-physicist) pretty understandable.

Mistress of the Art of Death (Mistress of the Art of Death, #1)Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an accidental re-read, I must have read it close to when it first came out, pre having a Goodreads account days. So when I picked it up I thought I hadn’t read it at all, but then a few scenes at the beginning seemed familiar, there’s a very distinctive scene with a reed, but I still wasn’t sure, I’ve read quite a few books with plucky ancient medics in the Fens or similar regions. I still wasn’t sure if I had read it before for most of the book but then towards the end, there was a scene where one character gave another a seemingly innocuous piece of information and I remembered instantly ‘who did it’, and that yes I had read the book. Still, it’s not a bad book to re-read, it features a band of travellers from Sicily, asked by their King to go to England to investigate a child’s murder that had resulted in the Cambridge Jews fleeing to the castle in fear for their lives. I don’t *think* I’ve read the others in the series, and I am curious about what happens next, plus I’m having a bit of a Henry II fan girl moment.

Arrowood (Arrowood, #1)Arrowood by Mick Finlay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Arrowood is a detective in Sherlock Holmesian London, but unlike Holmes, he’s down on his luck. He and his sidekick Barnett get asked by a French girl to find her missing brother, this leads Arrowood and Barnett back into the path of the sinister Cream, owner of a bar and restaurant, who’d they’d had a run-in before. There are lots of toffs, the back streets of London, chases and fights, an entertaining read.

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