Joan Wallis Martin: Dancing With The Uninvited Guest
I don't think I've read any of Martin's books before. This was a bit of a fumble in the dark, but hey, it was book-swapping day and all books were free and came with no strings attached. So why not try it.
The book centres around the disappearance of a young girl and the lord of an ancient and spine-chilling crumbling manor. Everybody assumes that they've run off together, at first. When evidence suggests otherwise and the police start investigating, they discover that the son of the manor exhibits strange and violent behaviour. Is he mad, or is he possessed? And has he killed the girl? Also, a famous psychic turns up to offer the police his help, and the lady of the manor calls in a paranormal psychologist.
Then there are a few subplots.
Anyway, to sum up. This is not a bad novel really. First, it quite skilfully walks that line between ghost story and detective story, leaving us wondering whether the demonic possession theory is true for example. At the end however, there is a rational explanation for everything, and sadly this becomes something of an anti-climax, as we become too invested in the demonic possession to have it debunked in less than a paragraph - with the possessed not even in the room. So it peters out. But it's a good enough travel read.
John Grisham: The Broker
Again: it was free, people. I'm not a huge Grisham fan, his characters are always a bit flat, and he's quite rubbish at portraying women. This one's not too bad though, if you don't want your brain to work too hard.
The Broker is Joel Backman, a lawyer/power broker/lobbyist who was sent to federal jail for um, lots of stuff, but keeping the big secret close to his chest. Anyway, so the current president is spending his last few hours in power pardoning prisoners, and the CIA convinces him to free Backman. They hope they will find out what he knows by taking note of which foreign government agency that manages to get him killed. They ship him off to Italy, and tell him to learn Italian because this is where he'll be hiding out from now on. And then the book is about Backman trying to break free from the CIA's clutches and reveal his secrets without getting killed.
Basically, this book is about learning Italian, how great Italian food is and how stylish Italian people are. It's Grisham's version of a travel book, I suppose. You can tell how proud he is of his Italian prowess. Aw.
Next entry will be about books my lovely friend E gave me. Stay tuned.