About the Whodunit Book Club
Whodunit Book Club has met in its present location for almost seventeen years! If you would like to join us, our meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month (except December).
We meet at the Chapters Store located at 41 MicMac Blvd., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Phone (902) 466-1640
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Twenty die-hard Whodunit members braved the January cold to attend tonight's meeting. The book discussed this month was "Skin and bones" by Tom Bale.
Pam asked the group two 'magical' questions: a) Do you think that this book was as good as a Linwood Barclay book? and, b) Does a book have to 'grab' you from the beginning? Also, as is our usual custom we rate the title from 1-10.
Taking into account the 20 members in attendance (one of whom abstained because they didn't read the book) and the one who voted in absentia the average rating was 7.9 which pretty much lets you know that it was a Whodunit favourite.
Eleven members said they enjoyed the book more than Linwood Barclay. Most agreed that it is nice when a book grabs you from the beginning, but that it doesn't have to in order for them to enjoy it as it may have other redeeming qualities. One member used the analogy that reading a book is like a relationship. It is nice to be 'grabbed' sometimes but you wouldn't want a steady diet of it. Like a marriage of many years, it is sometimes nice to have the 'grabbing' after a gradual build up.
Some wait 3 chapters, some 5 chapters, some just have to finish a book once they've begun with the view that it must get better... Some open the potential book at a certain page and judge that way. I have recently read a blog that was called "The page 69 test" where the reader opens the book to page 69 and reads. If that page passes muster, then the book will be deemed worthy of reading in its entirety.
Although there was much lively discussion about "Skin and bones" there were some negative comments. The most prevalent of these was that it was implausible that the character of Julia could have endured what she did and was so physically active given her internal injuries. Also the portrayal of Vanessa who was dying of cancer, but still had the strength to come down stairs and try to attack someone was more than a little unrealistic. A few thought the book could have been a little shorter with better editing.
It was noted that of all the books covered in Whodunit, "Skin and bones" probably had the highest body count.
The device of using the draft function of e-mail to remain untraceable was fascinating. Tom Bale writes with an almost cinematic storytelling style. The descriptions were well written and stayed with the reader long after the final page. In particular the feeling of stillness and absence of life in the idyllic rural Sussex village. The scene where the killer's mother's garden and kitchen were described. The gory scene where the Toby cut off a man's hands...
We learned a little about the author, Tom Bale. "Skin and bones" was his second novel following "Sins of the father" which he wrote under his real name David Harrison. He has written since he was a child and had many, many rejections when starting out. He actually dreamed the whole opening sequence for "Skin and bones". Upon hearing this some members agreed that the novel had an almost surreal feeling to it.
The free book winners this month were:
Betty, Heather, Caroly and Tracy.
It was requested that we should read a true crime book at some future time.
Also, it was announced that Whodunit members get 10% off their bookclub books in future.
Next month's selection is "13th hour" by Richard Doetsch.