And then there are the three books I pre-ordered in December. Yeah, those don't count as this month's purchases, but they came in this month, so technically... But, I will say that I am super pleased that I treated myself since they are all UK books with no discernible US release date just as of yet.
The books in question are Claire Seeber's Bad Friends, Sarah Rayne's House of the Lost, and Mo Hayder's Gone. Rayne and Hayder's titles both hit shelves on Feb 4 and I received them last week courtesy of Cynthia at High Crimes, who will graciously take my orders even if they are three months down the line. She understands the obsessions of readers.
And I hear that Seeber has a new book hitting shelves there in April, called Never Tell. So I might just have to order that one as well. But I'll make sure I finish these others first so that I'm not adding to the current hoarding going on in this house.
But really I just couldn't resist them. I enjoyed Seeber's debut, Lullaby, so much that I figured it was worth the cost for another and I always order Rayne and Hayder as soon as they're available overseas (Rayne never has actual US releases and Hayder's are almost a year later than the UK dates).
See, I was lucky enough to snag a copy of Skin straight off the UK presses, but then it sat. Now this is because I schedule my review books according to release date so that (if I stay on track) my reviews are ready to post the week that the book is released, maximizing the potential of catching someone's eye while the book is available so that they'll run out and buy it themselves. Because I want all readers to find the books that they will fall in love with. And I fall in love so easily with a book for so many reasons. So I just have to share them.
Skin sat so long (shame on me because I always say it's worth the extra cost as long as I read it before it's available here) that it was actually due out on shelves in the US before I finally got to it. But get to it I did and it was a total one sitting read. Just amazingly tense and a wicked quick plot. And after the ending of Skin, no way was I going to wait another year to find out what was going to happen. I preordered Gone and when it arrived, I pounced. Literally. I think I did a happy dance first because it was here. It landed on my doorstep Saturday afternoon and by midafternoon V-Day, I was halfway through. And I would have finished it, too, if Bioshock 2 hadn't gotten in the way for a couple of hours.
Anyway, it was a slight delay, but only just.
Gone is the latest in the Jack Cafferey series and I know that I've been spotty about posts regarding the rest of the books. I think it will be ok to deviate and jump straight to this one and then revisit the others at a later date, though. Why? Because the books can very much be read as individual books. The series comes in with more character development and the crazy clues and hints of what's to come. But each book is a complete tale in and of itself. Until you get to the end and realize that it's going to lead directly into the next book. Gone was no different. Flea's dad appears and says that something is coming. Cryptic, much?
So you can read Gone as a new case. A car jacker takes a car from a woman, realizing later that there is a kid in the backseat. Caffery is certain that it's the car the jacker wants and the kid is an inconvenience, that she'll be dumped someplace public so that she can go home to her family safe and sound. But when Flea Marley approaches Caffery with her own theory, things start to get hairy. Flea believes that this jacker has done the deed before. And she's starting to think that there is something about the kids after all. Which turns this into a kidnapping case with a possible pedophile involved. With the latest victim still out there, Jack knows that time is running out. And then another attempt is made. Jack must figure out the connection before the guy tries again, and Jack is certain that he will try again. But this one is clever and the Walking Man warns Jack of that. It's only later that this will become undeniable clear.
I love that Hayder is always planning ahead. The reader never knows what might be important and what might not be (I secretly think that everything is important because everything has possibility in a Mo Hayder book). For example, what was a peripheral case in Skin became the main plot in Gone. Characters who seemed unimportant become major players. And who knows what will come out of Gone for use later on. All I know is that each new Hayder book is a creepy treat. An engaging and thrilling read that always keeps me guessing and rooting for Jack, and now Flea, to solve the case and come out alright in the end. And they both have so much baggage that needs to be dealt with.