Books in 2011

This is one of a series of posts I’m making to wrap up books I read after I started keeping track of when I read them and how I’d rate them, but before I started writing full reviews for them. This post covers the books I read in 2011, a year I didn’t get around to reading that much. I’m also sneaking The Doomsday Club into this post, which I read in 2012, as it was the last book I read before I started to write “proper” reviews at the time I finished.

The Murder of Roger AckroydThe Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Series: Hercule Poirot #4
Publisher: William Collins & Sons
Released: June 1, 1926
Pages: 288
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In the village of King's Abbot, a widow's sudden suicide sparks rumors that she murdered her first husband, was being blackmailed, and was carrying on a secret affair with the wealthy Roger Ackroyd. The following evening, Ackroyd is murdered in his locked study--but not before receiving a letter identifying the widow's blackmailer. King's Abbot is crawling with suspects, including a nervous butler, Ackroyd's wayward stepson, and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Cecil Ackroyd, who has taken up residence in the victim's home. It's now up to the famous detective Hercule Poirot, who has retired to King's Abbot to garden, to solve the case of who killed Roger Ackroyd--a task in which he is aided by the village doctor and narrator, James Sheppard, and by Sheppard's ingenious sister, Caroline.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the book that made Agatha Christie a household name and launched her career as a perennial bestseller. Originally published in 1926, it is a landmark in the mystery genre. It was in the vanguard of a new class of popular detective fiction that ushered in the modern era of mystery novels.

Aside from the notoriety inherent in being a Christie-book, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd came to my attention by being on the 1001 books to read before you die list. Apparently it’s made especially notable by having a twist-ending. Seeing as it’s been 8 years since I read the book, and the fact that Christie-books get muddled up in my mind, I’d be lying if I said that I remember the twist. But, as far as Christie-books go, I do remember this being a solid one.

The Secret AdversaryThe Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
Series: Tommy & Tuppence #1
Publisher: The Bodley Head
Released: January 1, 1922
Pages: 268
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Tommy and Tuppence are young, in love… and flat broke. Restless for excitement, they decide to embark on a daring business scheme: Young Adventurers Ltd.—"willing to do anything, go anywhere." But they get more than they bargained for when their first assignment for the sinister Mr. Whittington draws them into a diabolical conspiracy.

It isn’t long before they find themselves plunged into more danger than they ever could have imagined—a danger that could put an abrupt end to their business…and their lives.

The Man in the Brown SuitThe Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
Series: Colonel Race #1
Publisher: The Bodley Head
Released: August 22, 1924
Pages: 381
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Newly-orphaned Anne Beddingfield came to London expecting excitement. She didn't expect to find it on the platform of Hyde Park Corner tube station. When a fellow passenger pitches onto the rails and is electrocuted, the 'doctor' on the scene seems intent on searching the victim rather than examining him . . .

Armed with a single clue, Anne finds herself struggling to unmask a faceless killer known only as 'The Colonel' - while 'The Colonel' struggles to eliminate her . . .

The Secret of ChimneysThe Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie
Series: Superintendent Battle #1
Publisher: The Bodley Head
Released: June 1, 1925
Pages: 400
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A young drifter finds more than he bargained for when he agrees to deliver a parcel to an English country house…

Little did Anthony Cade suspect that a simple errand on behalf of a friend would make him the centrepiece of a murderous international conspiracy. Someone would stop at nothing to prevent the monarchy being restored in faraway Herzoslovakia.
A young drifter finds more than he bargained for when he agrees to deliver a parcel to an English country house…

Little did Anthony Cade suspect that a simple errand on behalf of a friend would make him the centrepiece of a murderous international conspiracy. Someone would stop at nothing to prevent the monarchy being restored in faraway Herzoslovakia.

The combined forces of Scotland Yard and the French Surete can do no better than go in circles – until the final murder at Chimneys, the great country estate that yields up an amazing secret…

Grouping my reviews of The Secret Adversary, The Man in the Brown Suit, and The Secret of Chimneys, this was back when I started to want to take a chunk out of the Christie-books. There’s probably a reason that the books that had come to my attention sooner had actually come to my attention, as I found Brown Suit/Secret of Chimneys to leave me a bit wanting. They aren’t bad, but not among the best Christie.

Menn som hater kvinnerMenn som hater kvinner by Stieg Larsson
Series: Millennium #1
Publisher: Norstedts förlag
Released: August 1, 2005
Pages: 553
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Stieg Larssons første kriminalroman hylles av en enstemmig svensk presse.
Økonomijournalisten Mikael Blomkvist trenger et avbrekk. Han er nettopp dømt til tre måneders fengsel for å ha ærekrenket finansmannen Hans-Erik Wennerström. Han bestemmer seg for å ta en pause fra jobben som redaktør i tidsskriftet Millennium. Omtrent samtidig får han et uvanlig oppdrag: Henrik Vanger, tidligere en av Sveriges fremste industriledere, vil at Blomkvist skal skrive Vanger-slektens historie. Men det viser seg snart at familiekrøniken bare er et dekke for Blomkvists virkelige oppdrag: å finne ut hva som hendte med Henrik Vangers unge slektning Harriet, som har vært sporløst forsvunnet i snart førti år, noe Henrik Vanger aldri har kunnet slutte å gruble over. Blomkvist påtar seg motvillig oppdraget og får hjelp av Lisbeth Salander, en mutt, tatovert kvinne på 24, med piercing og et stort talent for å irritere medarbeidere. Men Salander er også en fremragende researcher og en av landets fremste hackere. Sammen graver Blomkvist og Salander stadig dypere i familien Vangers fortid og finner en historie som er både mørkere og blodigere enn noen av dem kunne ane.

Jenta Som Lekte med IldenJenta Som Lekte med Ilden by Stieg Larsson
Series: Millennium #2
Publisher: Norstedts förlag
Released: May 9, 2006
Pages: 623
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Kritikerroste Stieg Larssons andre kriminalroman om Lisbeth Salander og Mikael Blomkvist Lisbeth Salander vender tilbake til Sverige etter et lengre opphold i utlandet. Hun har skaffet seg en stor sum penger og er for første gang i sitt liv økonomisk uavhengig. Samtidig har Mikael Blomkvist i tidsskriftet Millennium fått tilgang på brennhett nyhetsstoff: Journalisten Dag Svensson og hans samboer Mia Bergman har kommet over avslørende opplysninger om en omfattende sex-handel mellom Øst-Europa og Sverige. Mange av dem som er innblandet i saken, har fremtredende posisjoner i samfunnet. Dystre hendelser i Salanders fortid begynner også å gjøre seg gjeldende. Da Dag og Mia blir brutalt myrdet, rettes mistanken mot Salander, og en storstilt politijakt settes i gang. Salander bestemmer seg for å gjøre opp med fortiden en gang for alle og sørge for at de som fortjener det, får sin straff. Blomkvists og Salanders veier krysses nok en gang.Jenta som lekte med ilden er den andre i en serie på tre kriminalromaner om Mikael Blomkvist og Lisbeth Salander. Den første, Menn som hater kvinner, ble hyllet av en enstemmig norsk presse da den utkom våren 2006.

Luftslottet som SprengtesLuftslottet som Sprengtes by Stieg Larsson
Series: Millennium #3
Publisher: Norstedts förlag
Released: May 1, 2007
Pages: 709
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To alvorlig skadede personer tas inn for øyeblikkelig hjelp på Sahlgrenska sjukhuset i Göteborg. Den ene er Lisbeth Salander, som er etterlyst mistenkt for dobbeltdrap. Hun har en livstruende skuddskade i hodet og må opereres snarest. Den andre heter Aleksandr Zalatsjenko, som Salander har gått løs på med øks.

Den tredje og siste boken i Millennium-serien starter der «Jenta som lekte med ilden» slutter. Lisbeth Salander har overlevd å bli levende begravd, men problemene hennes er langt fra over. Zalatsjenko har tidligere vært yrkesmorder i den sovjetiske etterretningstjenesten. Han er dessuten Salanders far og har prøvd å ta livet av henne. Sterke krefter vil nå uskadeliggjøre henne en gang for alle.

Samtidig graver Michael Blomkvist i tidsskriftet Millenium i Salanders skjulte fortid. Han skriver på en avslørende reportasje som skal renvaske henne og ryste regjeringen, Säpo og hele landet i sine grunnvoller. Endelig vil Lisbeth Salander få en sjanse til å gjøre opp med fortiden.

Also grouping my reviews for the Millennium-trilogy. This is a great trilogy of Scandinavian crime. It’s exciting in a seemingly effortless way, and one of those books where the characters truly seem to be living the story. And the story is excellent.

Even tough the (somewhat controversial) continuation of the trilogy is apparently quite good, I still haven’t read them. I probably will at some point, but I think I an additional distance to the originals might make me appreciate the non-Larsson books more than I otherwise would have.

SpinSpin by Robert Charles Wilson
Series: Spin Saga #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Released: April 1, 2005
Pages: 464
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One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives.

Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.

Spin was a very pleasant surprise, and one of those books that left me thinking about it for a long time after having read it. It’s a heavy book, and requires some patience to read, but it’s worth it.

The Doomsday ClubThe Doomsday Club by Alex Damien, Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff
Publisher: Glenneyre Press
Released: June 1, 2005
Pages: 196
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Scott Lorlon is in a wicked funk. He can't eat, can't sleep, won't go to his classes and has made the awful mistake of cutting his own hair. His fall through the fragile floor of despair comes after his longtime girlfriend has kicked him to the curb without so much as a warning. This darkly comic thriller takes root as Scott's roommate, Hale, and two other buddies try to cheer him up. But for them, it's a loaded bong where all their real trouble begins. Busted by a vicious resident assistant, heated words get exchanged and when the R.A. attacks them, Scott unintentionally kills him. The boys panic and hatch a crazy scheme to get rid of the body-a plan ending with a deadly fireball that only succeeds in getting them deeper over their heads in crisis.

The Doomsday Club is a book I first heard as a podcast, and then wanted to read once I realised it had been published in book-form. It’s a really interesting, exciting, fast-paced story. For a bit of light-thriller reading, it’s very enjoyable.

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