This is the 16th instalment of “Recent Reads”, where I wrap up 3 books that I don’t have a lot to say about!
The Undesired, by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
The light spilling in from the corridor would have to do. Though weak, it was sufficient to show Aldís a boy sitting in the gloom at the furthest table. He had his back to her, so she couldn’t see who it was, but could tell that he was one of the youngest. A chill ran down her spine when he spoke again, without turning, as if he had eyes in the back of his head. ‘Go away. Leave me alone.’
‘Come on. You shouldn’t be here.’ Aldís spoke gently, fairly sure now that the boy must be delirious. Confused, rather than dangerous.
He turned, slowly and deliberately, and she glimpsed black eyes in a pale face. ‘I wasn’t talking to you.’
Aldis is working in a juvenile detention centre in rural Iceland. She witnesses something deeply disturbing in the middle of the night; soon afterwards, two of the boys at the centre are dead.
Decades later, single father Odinn is looking into alleged abuse at the centre following the unexplained death of the colleague who was previously running the investigation. The more he finds out, though, the more it seems the odd events of the 1970s are linked to the accident that killed his ex-wife. Was her death something more sinister?
Oh dear. I did not enjoy this at all. It was long and nothing much happened – with the exception of a few spooky moments. I also didn’t feel that the ending was particularly well wrapped up. I gave it 1*. This was borrowed from my in-laws.
A Pair of Sharp Eyes, by Kat Armstrong
Coronation hears of the murders before she even reaches the slave port of Bristol – six boys found with their throats slit. Horrified, she questions the locals’ readiness to blame the killings on Red John, a travelling man few have actually seen. Coronation yearns to know more about the mystery. But first she has to outsmart the bawds, thieves and rakes who prey on young girls like her: fresh from the countryside and desperate for work.
When the murderer strikes shockingly close to Coronation, she schemes, eavesdrops and spies on all around her until the shameful truth is out.
This was far more a historical novel than a crime, and I was left disappointed by that. Whilst there is mention in passing of previous murders, the main investigation doesn’t start til about the halfway point. I also struggled with the first person narrative. Overall I gave it 2*. *with thanks to the publishers for the advanced copy*
Do No Harm, by Henry Marsh
With compassion and candour, leading neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reveals the fierce joy of operating, the profoundly moving triumphs, the harrowing disasters, the haunting regrets, and the moments of black humour that characterise a brain surgeon’s life. If you believe that brain surgery is a precise and exquisite craft, practiced by calm and detached surgeons, this gripping, brutally honest account will make you think again.
I really enjoyed this moving account of a neurosurgeon’s career. It was fascinating and gripping. I gave it 4*. This was borrowed from the library.