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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« McCall Smith, Alexander: Blue Shoes and Happiness | Main | Collinsworth, Eden: It Might Have Been What He Said »

Blunt, Giles: By the Time You Read This

  

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Henry Holt © 2007, 352 pages [amazon]
4.5 stars

John Cardinal and his wife Catherine live on a quiet street in Algonquin Bay, an idyllic, lakeshore community in Northern Ontario (and a stand-in for the author's real-life hometown of North Bay, Ontario). Cardinal is a detective with the Algonquin Bay police department. Catherine is a photographer and teaches at the local community college, and she is a manic depressive. The couple's happy, nearly thirty-year marriage has been punctuated by Catherine's hospitalizations for depression, but when the story starts she has been out of the hospital for a year--taking her medicine and seeing a psychiatrist regularly. Still, it hardly comes as a shock to most of Blunt's characters when Catherine turns up dead, an apparent suicide. Cardinal himself doesn't seriously question the coroner's finding on the matter until he receives an anonymous "sympathy" card gloating over her death. Other pieces of evidence--but nothing definitive--also begin to suggest that Catherine's death was not a suicide, and Cardinal, on leave from the department, investigates the matter quietly. Friends on the force assist him on the sly, though under orders not to waste police resources on a closed case. Other cases under active investigation compel more of their attention, however, and in fact wind up being connected to Catherine's death--though not in a way that readers are likely to anticipate.

[INSET TEXT: The couple's happy, nearly thirty-year marriage has been punctuated by Catherine's hospitalizations for depression, but when the story starts she has been out of the hospital for a year--taking her medicine and seeing a psychiatrist regularly.] By the Time You Read This is Giles Blunt's fourth novel featuring Detective John Cardinal, though it's the first I've read in the series. The book reads like a standalone novel, which I mean as a compliment: I never felt like I was entering Cardinal's life mid-story; there were no awkward references to past cases thrown in to connect this installment up with previous books. The mystery of Catherine's death is not easily unraveled:  the evidence Cardinal uncovers leads him to erroneous conclusions, and the reader is likely to be misled as well. Blunt's principal bad guy is an unusual character, with unusual motivations. His identity is revealed to us not quite halfway into the book, and when it comes the subtle revelation is downright chilling.

Pausing to think about Blunt's villain after my manic rush to reach the end, I'm not sure that he's a realistic character, but I was certainly able to suspend disbelief long enough to  finish the book. By the Time You Read This is a real page-turner.

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Comments

1.

I loved the previous books in the series and am looking forward to this one when it comes out in pb in the UK. Hence I have not read your review but will link to it and read it when I've read the book.

2.

But for once we're likely to agree on liking a book!

3.

Another one to add to my list. It sounds so good that I may start at the beginning of the series. Thanks for the great review.

4.

Great, booklogged! I hope you like it.

I noticed the other day that you didn't like Jasper Fforde's Humpty Dumpty book. I didn't read it. I loved his first Thursday Next novel, then couldn't stand the second one--too much cleverness by half. I'm afraid he's lost me for good.

5.

Yep, the first Jasper Fforde was enough for me, too!
Mind you, I read in the Bookseller today (though it was the office copy which I get late, so 6 April edition) that his latest, out in July in UK, is called "first among sequels" and features a serial killer bumping off series detectives (eg Miss Marple) after book one. It has the usual striking cover. The book features Tuesday Next (I always want to say Weld). I'm almost tempted, but it will probably dissolve into its own cleverness on about page 34.

6.

That's a great way of putting it, dissolving into its own cleverness. And I can understand the temptation: he has great ideas. Maybe just too many of them.

7.

I'm curious why an author of Giles Blunt's calibre felt the need to write this last book and have it published under two different titles, BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS and COME TO THE GREIFE. I would really enjoy a totally new novel perhaps one that entwines Delis and John in a romantic compromise




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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.