15 September 2012

Reading while ill

Somehow I had this notion that if I were ill enough to limit my physical activity but not my mental acuity, I'd probably read a lot.

Well, not this time.

For a couple weeks now I've been physically limited. I don't think I recognized how much the stress and anxiety was limiting me in other ways until yesterday. Now, I'm trying to relax until the doc "does a procedure" next week that promises to make things a lot better. We'll see.

I did struggle through two books, but it shouldn't have taken 3+ weeks to get through them.  

Fred Vargas
Fred Vargas' name got on my to-read list somehow -- probably because of a New York Times review.

When I saw her name on a book at the library, I pulled it off the shelf. When I got the book home, I wondered about it. Although it was labeled a "Chief Inspector Adamsberg" novel, the title was Seeking Whom He May Devour. And the cover art included two wolves.

I was worried I might have latched on to a werewolf novel. Not quite.  

Seeking Whom He May Devour is set in the eastern French mountains. It's a confusing story of shepherds, their composer friend, a Canadian bear researcher, and (in the second half of the book) Inspector Adamsberg. Did I mention that the advertised main character didn't show up until I was half done with the book. And then, he went off to read police reports for a lot of the rest of the book.

It's not about werewolves, but the shepherds are convinced that the bad guy they're chasing is one. It is a chase story as well as a mystery with lots of "off-screen" death (mostly sheep) and unexplained actions. It's confusing. If it wasn't for the cell phones that some of the characters pull out once in awhile, it seemed as if it was set in the 1930s.

I never got terribly interested in or attached to any of the characters. I never got involved in the story. There's lots of description, but most of it seemed unnecessary. The ending was more bait and switch than being distracted by red herrings. (Of course, my distraction might have been caused by my not feeling well.)

Then I discovered that Fred Vargas is actually Frederique Audoin-Fouzeau, a French archaeologist. (Following the footsteps of Kathy Reichs of Bones fame?) Her novels have won awards from the Crime Writers Association.

I don't think I'll pick up another Vargas novel if I come across one unless someone convinces me that Seeking Whom He May Devour is atypical of her work.

Have you read Seeking Whom He May Devour or another of Vargas' novels? What did you think of it? Write and tell this little bit of the world what you think.

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