I’ve been reading faster than I can post lately, so here are some quick thoughts about some books I read.
Stacey D’Erasmo captures the adrenaline rush of performing on stage in Wonderland, her newest novel. It follows Anna Brundage, a tall, sexy dynamo, who once made a record that turned her into a legend. Though she’s still considered a legend, hasn’t produced a record in seven years. Now she’s back on tour in Europe with new material and must navigate the changing music world. As she reflects on her unusual upbringing as the daughter of an experimental artist, mistakes she made in her past, and her future, Anna tries to forge a new path. D’Erasmo is most successful when she’s describing the performances, managing to capture the electricity of a great show.
Even though I read it out of order, I still quite enjoyed Oliver Potsch’s second book in the Hangman’s Daughter series, The Dark Monk, which follows the hangman Jackob Kuisl and his daughter Magdalena in 17th century Bavaria. While I’ve read many historical mysteries that feature awkwardly anachronistic characters, Potsch’s creations have a ring of truth to them. Though the plots often delve into the Indiana Jones territory, they’re fun and inventive, and are often based on historical details—this one focuses on the Templars and a supposed treasure. A bit dark and full of twists and turns, they’re absorbing reads.
I was excited to read Elizabeth Elo’s debut literary thriller North of Boston, which as the title suggests, is set here in Boston. Too often books set here involve either gangsters from Southie or Boston Brahmins, possibly historical. Elo’s book follows Kirio Kasparov, who has improbably survived 4 hours in the frigid sea when the lobster boat she is on is rammed by a freighter. The captain of the boat, Ned, who also happens to be the husband of her best friend, perishes in the accident and Pirio is forced to watch over the widow Thomasina and son Noah. Everything is not what it seems, and danger appears as she begins investigating this supposed accident.