Sunday, 28 February 2021

My Year in Books 2021: February

Gosh... February went by quickly, didn't it? And I hardly read anything. So I'm afraid this is a pretty short post this month, as there's only two books on my February list. I finished off my 'comfort reading' of Peter May's Enzo Macleod series, ahead of the launch of his new book in March. Sadly, there's nothing else to report on this month, but I'm hoping I'll have more to add in March!

In case you're interested, here are my reviews of the books I read in January. And here are the two books I read in February:

Blowback by Peter May (2011)

I continued my rereading of Peter May’s Enzo Macleod series this month (or, at least, the series so far, as there’s another book coming out in March). As I said in last month’s post, this is my ‘comfort reading’ series, and so I have written about all six of the books before in these monthly posts. Blowback sees Enzo entering the world of haut cuisine (giving May an opportunity to luxuriate in quite a few descriptions of food, just as he did with wine in The Critic). The cold case in question here is the death of a 3-star Michelin chef, whose body was found in a remote bothy (or buron to give the French term that’s used in the book). As with the other books in the series, there’s a really great sense of place in Blowback. May’s decision to set the story at the end of the restaurant’s season, just as it’s about to close down for the winter, really adds atmosphere (there’s something ominous about a restaurant/hotel locking down for the winter… or is that just me?). There’s not as much of ‘the gang’ in this one, but Enzo’s love life gets a bit more complicated when he meets a good-looking young gendarme – and it was pretty complicated to begin with. I think I like this one mostly for the descriptions of setting, though there’s a good little mystery at the heart. And unlike the previous two, there’s nothing here that the reader knows before the detective.

Cast Iron by Peter May (2017)

And so to the sixth and (until this year) final story in the Enzo Macleod series. It came as a bit of a surprise to readers that Cast Iron would be the last in the series, as Enzo was supposed to be investigating the seven notorious cases in Raffin’s book – and yet it appeared the series would end with just six. However, Cast Iron is a fitting end to the series, as it draws together all the loose threads that were left hanging in the other books and brings the entire narrative arc to a close (with a few explosive reveals, it has to be said). On top of this, there are quite a few developments in Enzo’s personal life, and a number of the loose threads relate more to this than to his investigations (or is there a connection…?). Last time I read Cast Iron, I think I said it felt like an appropriate end to the series, and that it brought things to a satisfactory conclusion. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in The Night Gate (at the time of writing this, I haven’t read the new book in the series), and to see what it’s like revisiting Enzo and the gang several years after the end of Cast Iron. I think it’s safe to say that the Enzo books will continue to be my ‘comfort reading’ series for a while… I just don’t know yet whether I’ll be including The Night Gate on the reading list!

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