Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I just finished Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin.

Knots and Crosses is set in Edinburgh, like the 44 Scotland Street series I like so much but provides a very contrasting view of the city.  It is a mystery, of the serial killer/police procedural variety, starring the very depressed and disturbed Inspector Rebus.  Rebus is an SAS veteran who left it under mysterious circumstances and forced his way onto the police force.  He gets more closely involved in a serial killer investigation that ends up being tied to his personal life.

In general, it provides a much seedier view of Edinburgh, focusing on the poor, the perverted and the drug addled.

I expected more from this book, given that it spawned one of the most successful series of mysteries in the UK.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Yesterday I finished Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Helperin.

Game Change aims to be the definitive narrative of the 2008 US presidential election, cover the Democrat and Republican primaries and the general election, but in reality it is mainly focused on the Obama/Clinton race to be the Democrat nominee.  That contest takes up close to 10x amount of the book as the Republican side of the primaries, and around 5x the amount of the book dedicated to the McCain/Obama contest for the general election.

It's also clear that the losing sides had a lot more disgruntled sources that were willing to dish up dirt on their respective campaigns.  On the other hand, the Obama camp moved from running a disciplined campaign to running a disciplined administration, giving them much more of an opportunity and better leverage to keep people from sharing too much.

The result is that the Clinton and McCain camps are portrayed warts and all while the Obama campaign is still "on message" - there is more detail than was available at the time, but none of it contradicts the standard Obama image.

It's still an interesting book for anyone who followed the 2008 presidential race, but the one sided nature undermines it thoroughly.