September Slipped Away

September was a cool month. On the 10th I ran a half marathon (2:10:16), was able to get to Monhegan (and introduce the island to some new people), and get to a lot of reading:

  1. Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill
  2. Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng
  3. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
  4. Consul’s Wife by W.T. Tyler
  5. Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry (AB)
  6. Life and Death of Edwin Mullhouse by Steven Millhauser
  7. Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright
  8. Best Game Ever by Mark Bowden
  9. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  10. Which Side Are You On? by Elaine Harger (ER)
  11. Which Side Are You On? by George Ella Lyon (for fun)

AB = Audio book
ER = Early review

Tear of Autumn

McCarry, Charles. The Tears of Autumn. Read by Stefan Rudnicki. Oregon: Blackstone Audio, 2005.

Reason read: Cold War ended in September.

Paul Christopher is back; Christopher, the the cool-as-a-cucumber, jet-setting, incorruptible CIA secret agent. This time he is trying to convince his superiors he knows who killed John F. Kennedy and why. But, is this a story of revenge or not? When Vietnam’s president, Ngo Dinh Diem, is assassinated Christopher can’t help but think there is a connection when JFK is murdered just three weeks later in Texas. Was Oswald just a switch someone far-reaching flicked on? Christopher seeks the truth and along the way puts the people he cares about in danger (especially a love interest, of course). While the plot is predictable and the characters, typecast, I enjoyed Christopher’s next adventure.

Author fact: McCarry also wrote The Last Supper and Shelley’s Heart both of which are on my list.

Book trivia: this is part of a seven-book series but I don’t think you would be missing anything if you didn’t read them one right after the other or out of order.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Cold War Spy Fiction” (p 61).

Last Supper

McCarry, Charles. The Last Supper. Read by Stefan Rudnicki. Blackstone Audio, 2006.

Paul Christopher is a CIA man who was raised around dark secrets. His parents smuggled Jews out of Germany via boat to Denmark during World War II when he was just a child. As a teenager he remembers he and his American father being removed from Germany while his German mother was held behind. This separation and the need to find her prompted Paul’s father to join the CIA. Following in his father’s footsteps after his murder, Paul also joins the “The Outfit.” The Last Supper spans all of the major conflicts between World War I and the Vietnam War. Stay on your toes because this is fast paced and involves many different characters who may or may not be spies.

Can I just say I love Stefan Rudnicki’s reading voice? He and his accents are great!

Edited to add: I didn’t get the opportunity to quote anything from The Last Supper because I experienced it in audio form. But, there was a few lines about running that I wanted to remember so I borrowed the book specifically so I could find the passage and quote it properly. So, here it is: “Only a bourgeois fool doesn’t know instinctively the deep spiritual meaning of running…It’s tremendously ritualistic. You put om a sweat suit and tennis shoes with funny soles that cost a hundred dollars and are all wound around with dingy adhesive tape, and you run through the public streets, dripping with sweat. It gives you shin splints and snapped Achilles tendons and wobbly knees but in compensation you build up your state of grace and these marvelous muscles” (p 288).

Reason read: the Cold War ended in September.

Author fact: According to the back of The Last Supper McCarry was an intelligence officer working deep undercover during the Cold War.

Book trivia: While McCarry wrote Paul Christopher as a series character the chronology is not based on publication. I read The Last Supper (published in 1983) before Tears of the Giraffe (published in 1974), but I don’t think it matters.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Cold War Spy Fiction” (p 61).