re:View – The 2017 Bookshelf: February / March

Two books in two months – that’s a new low. In my defence I will say neither has been particularly good, to the point where they actually put me off reading, and I just need to stop being so bloody stubborn and accept that sometimes you have to give up on a series.

So, consider Laurie R. King’s Mary Russel & Sherlock Holmes stories abandoned. It’s a shame because I really enjoyed the earlier books, but King kind of lost her momentum after three volumes.


The Moor by Laurie R. King
In what is basically a re-telling of The Hound of the Baskervilles minus any of the thrills offered by the original, we spend some 300 pages following Mary Russell traipsing around Dartmoor in the rain. She gets wet, she gets muddy, she gets annoyed, and repeat. Instead of a hound there’s a phantom carriage (potentially accompanied by a phantom hound); some people that nobody cares about get killed; the case is about as flimsy as it can be; Sherlock Holmes shines mainly through his absence from all of this. The author doesn’t even bother with building a mystery anymore and if you’re hoping for a big, exciting showdown at the end, you may as well not even start the book. There’s a great little chapter about a witch and her pet hedgehog, but that’s the best thing I can say about this book.
Pens: 1 out of 5

O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King
Poor Mary Russell. After spending weeks dragging herself around the rainy, foggy, cold moor in the previous volume, she gets dumped in Israel this time and promptly spends weeks dragging herself around the dusty, hot desert and eventually through the streets of Jerusalem trying to uncover another half-arsed mystery involving a bunch of early-day terrorists. If you make it through the first 200 pages of constant whingeing about sore feet, bad food and the general misery of traipsing around the desert you are rewarded by an almost exciting showdown on the roofs and in the underground aqueducts of the holy city, which may or may not end up with everything being blown to bits. I actually enjoyed this book towards the end, but it wasn’t quite enough of a reward for the drudgery of getting through the first two thirds.
Pens: 2 out of 5

And with this I’m closing the book on Mary Russell – in fact I’ve donated the lot to the charity shop in the hope they will find a new reader who can love the a little bit more.

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