I began reading Ruth Rendell's novels when I became a huge fan of Minette Walters and her writing was compared to that of Rendell.
The first couple of books I read of hers were okay - just not as good, in my opinion, as Walters. But I read a couple more and then a couple more after that until I decided I do like Rendell almost as much as Walters. (It is going to be interesting to see if my opinion of Walters has changed any when I go back to read the last two unread books I have of hers.)
In the meantime, I decided to try a couple of Rendell's books written as Barbara Vine. Somewhere I read that Rendell began writing as Vine in order to "take a more human, personal viewpoint". I also read one review which says No Night Is Too Long is Rendell/Vine's only true love story.
This book is a bit slow getting into and if you are the least bit homophobic, and began reading the book unknowingly, you will most likely stop reading around page 37. I am always in awe of male authors who can write convincingly of female emotions and vice-versa. I found myself wondering how a straight, female author could write such an erotic, emotionally charged scene between two males.
Way back in my early "I want to be a writer" days, I learned that you have to grab your reader on the first page; write something so attention getting that the reader can't put your book down.
Vine doesn't do that. She makes you read awhile before you realize she has sinuously pulled you into a plot with enough twists and turns to keep you reading and surprised.
I once had an in-law who was rather disdainful of some of the authors I liked because their books were "telescoping" - meaning you knew what the ending was going to be long before you got there. I suppose one of the reasons I like mysteries so much is because I do enjoy trying to figure them out before the ending. No Night Is Too Long contains several surprises - one of which had me gasping - "I didn't see that one coming!"
I read two Vine novels this month. The first was Grasshopper, which was very good; very entertaining and well written. But if you only have time to read one of these two, I recommend the former. Our library has four more Vine novels which I will definitely be checking out.
Another Agatha Raisin Mystery, The Vicious Vet, by M.C. Beaton and an Aurora Teagarden Mystery, Last Scene Alive, by Charlaine Harris were my two "read at the Y while on the stationary bike" books this month. I love both these women characters as well as the authors who created them. I believe it is my daughter who refers to these little treats as "popcorn books" because they are entertaining little reads you can enjoy just like a bag of popcorn.
Lastly, another one of those books I chose for its cover: The Unplowed Sky by Jeanne Williams. (The cover depicts a tractor moving through a wheat field with a farmstead and large silo on the horizon.) The cover made me pick up the book, yet another Kansas setting and a storyline of a threshing crew in the 1920's, made me check the book out. Williams is a Golden Spur and Levi Strauss award winning author. I would probably read more of her books. They would be calming between two Rendell/Vine books.