June 2019 Books

All That’s Dead (Logan McRae #12)All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another excellent Logan McRae book, in this one Logan has just returned from the sick and is back at Professional Standards. He’s asked to keep an eye on DI King, who is about to be outed by the press for being an Alt-Nat, just as he’s investigating the disappearance of an Alt-Unionist. It’s what you would expect from a McBride book, there’s some laughs, it’s a bit gruesome and everything goes horribly with almost clockwork regularity.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversStiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read quite a lot of body related non fiction but this book, on occasion, made me squeamish. A look at the uses of bodies after death, it opens with a scene of severed heads in disposable tin trays, the sort you cook chicken in, and I put the audiobook down and didn’t listen to it again for months. But I’m glad I picked it up again, it’s rather interesting, there are more squeamish bits (particularly the body farm) but it’s full of unusual facts, like the theories around why do (some) people collapse instantly when shot, when it takes 10 to 15 seconds to loose consciousness from blood loss (there are conflicting theories but a popular theory seems to be that it’s purely psychological), what happens when someone gets their head cut off with a guillotine (it sounds horrendous and possibly not the ‘humane’ death guillotines were originally sold as to be) and a look into human composting. There’s also some descriptions of some really horrific sounding animal experiments that really seemed to show no proper purpose, they definitely made the various things done to human bodies that have been donated to science, sound far more humane.

The October Man (Rivers of London, #7.5)The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The October Man is a departure from the UK, in the Rivers of London world and instead a hop over to Germany. Germany has its own magic police and the Peter Grant equivalent, Tobias Winter, has been sent to investigate an infraction, a man found dead in a vineyard covered in mould. It was interesting seeing how another country does its magic police and the little bits about how it views Peter and The Folly.

A Rare Book of Cunning Device (Peter Grant, #6.5)A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading The October Man, I needed another dose of Peter Grant, so I downloaded the audio only short story, A Rare Book of Cunning Device. Set in the British Library, it has Peter’s withering architectural put downs, librarian banter and funnily enough, a book of cunning device.

The Man with the Poison Gun: A Cold War Story The Man with the Poison Gun: A Cold War Story by Serhii Plokhy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up The Man With The Poison Gun by Serhii Plokhy, as I had read his Chernobyl book and really ‘enjoyed’ (enjoyed seems the wrong word for a book about Chernobyl), so I thought that I’d check out some more of his stuff. The Man With The Poison Gun is a look at the case of Bogdan Stashinsky, a possibly reluctant KGB assassin who killed two members of the Ukrainian independence movement and then defected. There is a lot of background, just as there was in the Chernobyl book but this time I found the background hard to get through, although the bits more directly about Stashinsky were quite interesting. The final chapters and epilogue, about the different ways Stashinsky’s story has been represented by various parties and how both the Russians and the West have gone back to their assassinating ways, were particularly interesting.

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