Books To End February and Begin March

Quintet by Douglas Arthur Brown. I can't remember where I found out about this book - probably from the Globe and Mail's now-diminished book section. I don't always like the novels they like, but I did really enjoy this one.

The book is about three men, triplets, who lost their parents in a freak accident. After the accident the brothers decide to reconnect with each other by taking turns writing to each other in a journal. As the book progresses each brother's voice becomes clearer and various mysteries are presented and resolved, as one would expect. (I'm tired, man.) It was a good story, once you got past the extreme unlikeliness of three brothers all happening to be such good writers, and managing to find the time to write longhand when half the time we don't even have time to email each other. Nice characterization and development, a bit of a mystery, interesting secondary characters. (I should do this when I'm not so tired.) So this was a good book and if you like character-driven novels you should read it.

Burning Down The House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself by Russell Wangersky is a memoir of the author's time as a volunteer firefighter. These days being a firefighter is as much being the first responder to car crashes as it is fighting fires, and was largely that aspect at the job which really worked at Wangersky's head and messed up his life. Not talking to anyone was part of the problem, as you might imagine. This is the story of Wangersky's experiences as a firefighter, his descent into darkness and recovery. It was a good book, if you're into descents into darkness and back.

The Chameleon's Shadow by Minette Walters is about a English soldier who returns from Iraq after being injured by an IED which killed two of his men. He has trouble remembering what happened at first, and as the novel progresses he gets his memory back and tries to put his life back together. Meanwhile a series of grisly murders seem to be connected to him, and he has to try and clear his name with the help of a motley band of psychiatrists, doctors, drunks and street kids. I enjoyed this book; it wasn't as cynical as Walters' usual stuff, and the mystery was well-played-out.


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