>> Monday, August 22, 2016
TITLE: On His Watch
AUTHOR: Katie Ruggle
After reading and loving Hold Your Breath, book 1 in Ruggle's Search and Rescue series I went looking for more books and discovered all that was out there was a free prequel novella. I really wanted a bit more time with Ruggle's voice, so I downloaded and started reading it immediately.
On His Watch happens right before Hold Your Breath. The Search and Rescue team are at a school for careers day, demonstrating what ice diving rescue entails. Derek Warner is part of that team, and he's pretty distracted by the presence of one of the teachers, Artemis 'Artie' Rey. Derek and Artie were once together, and Derek is still madly in love with her. When things go pear-shaped and two of the kids get lost, Derek and Artie pair up as part of the search team, and spending time together leads to them finally talking and sorting things out.
I'm afraid the romance here was fine, but a bit lackluster. Nothing to be offended by, but nothing to be excited about, either. The voice was the one I enjoyed so much in Hold Your Breath, though, full of gentle humour. And I loved the glimpse of Lou and Callum, the protagonists of that book. We see here how they met and how the dynamic I enjoyed so much in their own book got started, and it's hilarious.
I think if I'd started with this one I'd probably have decided to buy Hold Your Breath on the strength of the voice and the Lou and Callum scene, and in spite of the lukewarm main romance, but I can't be sure. The perils of the introductory novella when it's clearly not the author's strongest skill!
MY GRADE: A B-.
TITLE: The Tiger in the Smoke
AUTHOR: Margery Allingham
Allingham is the only one of the famous "Golden Age" mystery writers that I hadn't tried yet. I think I saw this one mentioned somewhere and thought I'd start here.
What started as a strange plot where a young woman is about to get married and starts getting letters from her supposedly-late husband quickly turns into a story of underworld characters and a dangerous killer on the loose. I liked the former, but the latter got old really quickly. The sections with the criminal gang are preposterous and horribly dated, and I honestly didn't care (or really get, to be completely honest) about any of the characters or what was going on.
I gave up at about the halfway point. Having read some reviews after, it appears that: 1) Quite a lot of the secondary characters here are recurring characters. I'd probably have got a lot more joy out of them if I'd read previous books, but I hadn't. 2) This is very different from Allingham's other books. I might have to give her another try. I might just start right at the beginning.
MY GRADE: This was a DNF.