Tag: Standalone

Agatha Christie – They Came to Baghdad | Review

Title: They Came to Baghdad

Author: Agatha Christie

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 192

Rating: 4.5/5

I liked pretty much everything about this one and so I’m super happy that I finally got to it. One of the main things that I enjoyed was actually the way that the location names captured the time it was written, including the H at the end of Basrah and the fact that London Heathrow was called Heath Row Aerodrome.

Then there’s the killer murder mystery at the heart of this, along with the kickass female lead who isn’t about to let gender norms stop her from having adventures. The result is a super fun little murder mystery with a lot going for it, and I don’t think there’d be anything wrong with it being your first Christie because it works quite nicely as a standalone.

And that’s your answer to the “would I recommend it?” question, so a little more on the why. I just think Christie’s great when she writes about other countries, which is one of the reasons why I love Death on the Nile so much.

Learn more about They Came to Baghdad.

 


Oli Jacobs – Wilthaven | Review

Title: Wilthaven

Author: Oli Jacobs

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 396

Rating: 4.25/5

I’ve read about a dozen of Jacobs’ books by this point, and all of them have been worth reading. This one is cool because you can read it as a standalone but it also still functions as part of a wider realm. It’s almost King-like in that respect, and indeed I think King would approve of it because it lives up to his saying that “there are other worlds than these”.

Wilthaven follows the BPD, the Bureau of Paranormal Detectives, and essentially documents their investigation into this strange, eldritch, Lovecraftian town called Wilthaven where nothing is quite as it seems. It’s almost reminiscent of Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae series in the way that it plays with layout, except I didn’t finish Illuminae while I tore through this one and had a blast while I was at it.

What’s quite cool here is that there’s a nice little range of genres, with a lot of Lovecraftian creepiness, some dark humour and some honest-to-goodness horror. One of my favourite bits was when a bunch of limbs just appeared out of nowhere. That was actually pretty brutal and not for the faint-hearted, but at this point I’m pretty sure there’s nothing I can read that will properly shock me. I’m immune.

There was also a pretty cool little subsection in it which was kind of a book within a book, and I think that it worked really well in context here. Because the book itself is presented as a dossier of documents, it makes sense that there’d be a book within a book. It worked better than Paul Sheldon’s book in Misery, in any case.

So would I recommend this one? Oh, absolutely, especially if you’re looking to read some more indie authors and to help to support the ecosystem. I’ve always enjoyed Oli’s stuff and this is him at his best, at least in my opinion. I’d take this over Kirk Sandblaster any day, and probably over another installment in the Filmic Cuts short stories series.

Oh, and did I mention that there’s a photo of yours truly in there? Oli was looking for volunteers to be featured in the Wilthaven files, and I of course jumped at the opportunity. Even though it’s a super old photograph. At least it’s heavily stylised though.

Learn more about Wilthaven.