139. Medina Hill by Trilby Kent
Publication: Tundra Books (October 13, 2009), Hardcover, 176pp / ISBN 0887768881
Genre: MG Fiction
Read: June 27-28, 2010
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It reminded me a bit of the books I used to read as a kid, the ones that tried to take big problems (social, familial, whatever) and break them up into small enough chunks so kids could digest them easier. I like that ambition in a book, and Medina Hill tries to tackle some very big issues like prejudice, illness, and personal courage. However…it just wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped it’d be. It was actually kind of boring.
The writing was good! I just wished Ms Kent had gone further with the plotline. Not to preach or shove anything down the reader’s throat, just to ramp up the tension and excitement, make it less of a sleepy book and more like a Jacqueline Woodson novel, I guess. (Not that I think anybody else could be J.W. except J.W. I just wanted Medina Hill to be more powerful overall.)
140. Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years, edited by Michael Kurland
Publication: Minotaur Books (November 4, 2004), Hardback, 400pp / ISBN 0312315139
Genre: Mystery, Crime
Read: June 20-30, 2010
I love the idea behind this book: “what did Sherlock Holmes do in the intervening years between his supposed death and his resurrection?” And the stories in the collection have some very interesting ideas, some of which was when Holmes went to America and bothered the detectives on that side of the pond. However, the crappy ones were very crappy, and it’s lucky I’ve forgotten about them now because otherwise I think I would have rated The Hidden Years even lower. Overall, it’s a mediocre collection, because the crap stories drag the whole thing down and not even the good stories entirely bring it back up again. Maybe get it from your library instead of buying it.
Stories I particularly liked: Carolyn Wheat’s “Water From the Moon,” which had a very interesting secondary police chief character that wasn’t bumbling and was, furthermore, Indian; Bill Pronzini’s “The Bughouse Caper,” which is a crossover with his Quincannon character and has some very funny scenes on how he thinks of Holmes (hint: not kindly); Caroline Bugge’s “The Strange Case of the Voodoo Priestess,” which is set in New Orleans and has a real feel for the area/time period.
141. The Veiled Detective by David Stuart Davies
Publication: Titan Books (November 17, 2009), Paperback, 256pp / ISBN 1848564902
Genre: Mystery, Crime
Read: July 1-2, 2010
No lie: I hated this book. I like the idea of turning everything on its head and assuming that Moriarty was controlling Holmes’ life from the very beginning, but the execution was weak and I hated the writing. Furthermore, it was boring. If I was re-rating this I’d seriously consider giving it only one bird instead of two, but I did like the way Holmes was presented in it and so I’m keeping it at two. But seriously. Did not like.
(Love that cover, though.)