TBR Thursday 201…

Episode 201

Oh, dear! After all those weeks of it going down, the TBR has suddenly soared again! Up another 2 to 224…

Here are a few more that will reach the summit soon…

Classic Crime

One from my Classics Club list and also one of my 20 Books of Summer. I’ve never read this but have watched the film several times and loved it, so this is one where the book will have to try hard to compete with the movie…

The Blurb says: ‘They call me Mr Tibbs!’

A small southern town in the 1960s. A musician found dead on the highway. It’s no surprise when white detectives arrest a black man for the murder. What is a surprise is that the black man – Virgil Tibbs – is himself a skilled homicide detective from California, whom inexperienced Chief Gillespie reluctantly recruits to help with the case. Faced with mounting local hostility and a police force that seems determined to see him fail, it isn’t long before Tibbs – trained in karate and aikido – will have to fight not just for justice, but also for his own safety.

The inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film starring Sidney Poitier, this iconic crime novel is a psychologically astute examination of racial prejudice, an atmospheric depiction of the American South in the sixties, and a brilliant, suspense-filled read set in the sultry heat of the night.

* * * * *

Fiction on Audio

One for my Five times Five challenge, this is the second book in Roth’s American Trilogy, narrated by Ron Silver. The first, American Pastoral, achieved The Great American Novel status in my occasional GAN Quest challenge. I’ve read this one before many years ago, and from memory I thought it was great but not quite as great as American Pastoral. However, I feel I know more about the subject matter now than I did back then, so it will be interesting to see if my opinion changes…

The Blurb says: Iron Rinn, born Ira Ringold, is a Newark roughneck, a radio actor, an idealistic Communist, and an educated ditchdigger turned popular performer. A six-foot, six-inch Abe Lincoln lookalike, he emerges from serving in World War II passionately committed to making the world a better place and instead winds up blacklisted, unemployable, and ruined by a brutal personal secret from which he is perpetually in flight. His life is in ruins.

On his way to political catastrophe, he marries the nation’s reigning radio actress and beloved silent film star, Eve Frame (born Chava Fromkin). Their marriage evolves from glamorous, romantic idyll to a disparaging soap opera of tears and treachery when Eve’s dramatic revelation to gossip columnist Bryden Grant of her husband’s life of espionage with the Soviet Union soon twists the couple’s private drama into a national scandal.

I Married a Communist is an American tragedy as only Philip Roth can conceive…fierce and comical, eloquently rendered, and definitely accurate.

* * * * *

Crime

Courtesy of Harvill Secker via NetGalley. Another of my 20 Books of Summer, and I have high hopes for it after loving Mina’s last book, The Long Drop

The Blurb says: It’s just a normal morning for Anna McDonald. Gym kits, packed lunches, getting everyone up and ready. Until she opens the front door to her best friend, Estelle. Anna turns to see her own husband at the top of the stairs, suitcase in hand. They’re leaving together and they’re taking Anna’s two daughters with them.

Left alone in the big, dark house, Anna can’t think, she can’t take it in. With her safe, predictable world shattered, she distracts herself with a story: a true-crime podcast. There’s a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean, multiple murders and a hint of power and corruption. Then Anna realises she knew one of the victims in another life. She is convinced she knows what happened. Her past, so carefully hidden until now, will no longer stay silent.

This is a murder she can’t ignore, and she throws herself into investigating the case. But little does she know, her past and present lives are about to collide, sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall.

* * * * *

Vintage Science Fiction

Courtesy of the British Library. As an addict of the BL’s Crime Classics, I’m thrilled that they’re now expanding their range into vintage sci-fi and horror. This collection of stories is billed as sci-fi, but I suspect that stories about machines will have more than an edge of horror to at least some of them…

The Blurb says: ‘“It’s a hazardous experiment,” they all said, “putting in new and untried machinery.”’

Caution – beware the menace of the machine: a man is murdered by an automaton built for playing chess; a computer system designed to arbitrate justice develops a taste for iron-fisted, fatal rulings; an AI wreaks havoc on society after removing all censorship from an early form of the internet.

Assembled with pieces by SF giants such as Murray Leinster and Brian W Aldiss as well as the less familiar but no less influential input of earlier science fiction pioneers, this new collection of classic tales contains telling lessons for humankind’s gradual march towards life alongside the thinking machine.

* * * * *

NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads.

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?

46 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 201…

  1. Ooh, I’d never heard of The Heat of the Night but it sounds great. The synopsis reminds me a little bit of The Expendable Man by Dorothy B Hughes, which I really loved.

    • I love the film of In the Heat of the Night – it was a huge success back in the day. It was only recently that I became aware that it had been based on a book, so I had to read it! I’ve never read any Dorothy B Hughes, but any time I hear about her she sounds like my kind of writer – I shall look out for The Expendable Man!

    • 250???? *faints*

      Yes! 😂 Actually I’ve only read one of her books myself – The Long Drop about a famous Glasgow serial killer, which I thought was great.

  2. Oh, I hope you’ll enjoy In the Heat of the Night, FictionFan. Among other things, it’s an interesting look at a particular place and time. And Denise Mina is so talented; I’m really hopeful you’ll enjoy that one as well. Now, as for that TBR, have you checked for feline paw prints on your bank card? I have my suspicions… 😉

    • If it’s as good as the movie, I should love it – fingers crossed! The Denise Mina sounds like fun, and a bit different from her usual kind of thing – based on blurbs at least. I’ve only read one of her earlier books so far. Hahaha! The cats seem to be looking permanently guilty these days… 😉

  3. I found Conviction a quick and fun read (not perhaps Denise Mina’s best, but then I have very high expectations of her, and this is more a bit of fun than serious).

  4. Your TBR has gone up? Oh dear. Have a soothing piece of chocolate. Chocolate makes guilt go far away. . . .
    I saw the movie adaptation of In the Heat of the Night many years ago. It was quite good.
    The classic sci-fi collection is tempting.

    • This much guilt will require buckets of chocolate! 😀 I loved In the Heat of the Night, but then I’ve always been a Poitier fan. I’m hoping the BL’s classic sci-fi and horror turn out to be as good as their classic crime!

  5. The Denise Mina book sounds good to me. That’s a bit of a change-up for her, isn’t it? Don’t think I’ve actually read any of her books, but I’ve certainly known of them. Enjoy!

    • It does sound different from her usual style – I’m intrigued! I’ve only read one other, The Long Drop, about one of Glasgow’s most notorious killers and it was great but much darker than this one sounds…

  6. All of these sound pretty good — no wonder your TBR keeps climbing! Hang in there, FF (but if I were you, I’d probably refuse to answer the doorbell, at least until I managed to see a substantial decrease in books left to read!)

    • Hahaha – I try to avoid the postman, but he just shoves things through the letterbox anyway! 😀 It’s hopeless – still, I suppose too many books isn’t the worst problem to have… 😉

  7. I have The Long Drop and will get around to it one day! I love ‘In the Heat of the Night’ – film – so perhaps I’ll get that one sometime! Sidney Poitier was in so many terrific films.

    • I’ve only read one of her books before, The Long Drop, which I thought was great. This one sounds very different though – not quite as dark. Fingers crossed!

  8. Of those four, In the Heat of the Night sounds the most appealing to me. I haven’t seen the film so would have nothing to compare it with. I hope you enjoy it!

  9. Hooray! Onwards and upwards with that TBR, I say 😀

    I’ve never read In the Heat of the Night but like you I love the film, so I’ll be really interested to hear how you find the book.

    • Nooooo!!! What goes up must come down!!

      I only found out it was based on a book a couple of years ago, so I’m intrigued – this is one battle the film could easily win…

  10. That Denise Mina book has one hell of a hook! Best friend running away with the husband and taking the kids? Please tell me that doesn’t have an unreliable narrator! LOL

    • It’d be worse if the husband ran away and left the kids behind! 😉 It doesn’t sound nearly as grim as most of her stuff – I’m intrigued. Should get to it soon…

  11. I do like Denise Mina’s writing (and she was an interesting speaker at a literary event here last year) so Conviction is a definite read for me. I’ll be interested in your review of the Roth; I read American Pastoral earlier this year which I enjoyed but would need encouragement to pick up his next book.

    • I’m glad Mina seems to have moved a little away from the “gritty gangsters of Glasgow” style of book, with which I’m thoroughly tired. I loved her book about Peter Manuel (yeah, OK, that was kinda gritty Glasgow but I don’t mind when it’s historical… 😉 ) so am looking forward to this one. I loved American Pastoral with every fibre of my being, and seem to remember enjoying the other two in his American Trilogy, but not to quite the same degree. As often happens, I’m struggling to get into it on audio – might have to switch to paper…

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