What we’re reading: Hing Wen, Leonnig & Rucker
Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films we’re watching, the television shows we’re hooked on or the music we’re loving.
Leanne Hall is reading Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
The first thing you must know is that there are no actual boats in Loveboat, Taipei. ‘Loveboat’ (nicknamed after the TV show that we’d all rather forget … if we weren’t secretly watching clips of it on YouTube…) is a summer study abroad program in Taiwan that has been attended by thousands of Asian-American teens since the 1960s. Officially the program has an educational and cultural focus, but in reality it’s also a massive opportunity to hookup, party and maybe meet a parentally-acceptable partner. In the fictional Loveboat, Taipei, sheltered high school graduate Ever Wong has just received an offer for dance school that she’s too scared to tell her parents about and decides to cut loose overseas. There’s a love triangle! Sneaking out to nightclubs! Regrettable drunken spews! Steamy acts in steamy places! But there’s also a lot to say about cultural differences, identity struggles, parental expectations, immigrant sacrifice and gender politics, so if you like romances with substance then you should give this YA debut a go.
Mark Rubbo is reading A Very Stable Genius by Carol Leonnig & Philip Rucker
I’m reading A Very Stable Genius by Washington Post journalists Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. This thoroughly researched book is a frightening insight into the way the Trump White House works. Leonnig and Rucker were able to gain access to a lot of people who haven’t spoken to media before, and this book is well worth reading. As former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson (who was fired by tweet) recently said: “Trump is a "f**cking moron.”
Lian Hingee is reading The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan (available March)
My first day back from maternity leave I was beyond excited to discover my wonderful colleagues had left an advance copy of Dervla McTiernan’s upcoming novel The Good Turn waiting for me on my desk. McTiernan is three books into what I’m hoping will be a very, very long career because her books have been consistently excellent examples of the best that crime fiction can offer: multi-dimensional characters with rich inner lives, gorgeously rendered surroundings that transport the reader straight into the heart of the action, and baffling cases that unravel slowly with just enough clues that the climax never feels like it’s being plucked out of thin air.
In The Good Turn, McTiernan’s regular protagonist Detective Cormac Reilly takes a back seat after a disastrous kidnapping case results in his suspension. Instead readers follow Reilly’s young protégée, Peter Fisher, who has been banished to the small beachside town of Roundstone where the brutal murder of an old farmer and his son has surprisingly failed to raise eyebrows with the local Garda – Fisher’s estranged father.
Police corruption, small town politics, turf wars between competing drug cartels; The Good Turn has a bit of everything, but McTiernan is a deft writer who keeps the plates spinning, and as the book progresses the many disparate threads start to come together to reveal a tapestry of money, lies, and power that has been at the heart of the entire Cormac Reilly series. The conclusion, when it comes, it so satisfying that I couldn’t resist doing a little fist punch. Highly recommended.