Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Great Reads: Meet Detective Ian Rutledge

Friends of mine know I've always got my nose in a book--I know, there's a joke there so feel free.  Occasionally, when I read something really enjoyable, I'll even review a book that I haven't written!  I know--it's shocking!

I have a dozen or so favorite authors I rotate through--I even mark my calendar when my favorite authors have a new book scheduled to come out.  But even with a dozen or so favorite authors, I'm always on the hunt for another author to add to my favorites list because I seem to read faster than even twelve authors can write--it's a common complaint amongst avid readers.  I recently added an author to my reading list--Charles Todd.  And here's the interesting thing-- Charles Todd is actually a mother and son writing team.

1st in the series (pub. 1996)
I read the first novel A Test of Wills over a weekend, and it kept me up late at night reading.  The books take place in England, just after World War I, and feature Scotland Yard Detective Ian Rutledge, a war veteran who is battling his own inner demons as he struggles to recover from the war.  I just finished the third in the series, and all three have been difficult to put down.  And if you enjoy these novels as much as I have, there's fifteen of them thus far--that ought to keep you busy for awhile. 

Here's what the publisher had to say about A Test of Wills:

In 1914, Ian Rutledge left a brilliant career at Scotland Yard to fight in the Great War. Now, in 1919, he is back, burdened with a heavy secret: he is still suffering from shell shock. With him almost constantly is the cynical, taunting voice of the young Scots soldier he was forced to have executed on the battlefield for refusing to fight.

2nd in the series (pub. 1998)
In a desperate gamble to salvage his sanity, Rutledge takes up his duties at Scotland Yard. But a colleague, jealous of Rutledge’s pre-war successes, has learned his secret and maneuvers to have him assigned to a case that promises to spell disaster no matter what the outcome. In a Warwickshire village, a popular retired military officer has been murdered, and the chief suspect is, unhappily for the Inspector, a much-decorated war hero and a friend of the Prince of Wales.

Rutledge, fighting his malady and the tormentor in his head (who is the personification of his own doubts and guilt), doggedly goes about his investigation. He digs into the lives of the villagers: the victim’s ward, a young woman now engaged to the chief suspect; a local artist shunned because of her love for a German prisoner; the reclusive cousins whose cottage adjoins the dead man’s estate.

But the witness who might be able to tell him the most is a war-ravaged ex-soldier who chills Rutledge with the realization that if he loses control of himself, he could become this man.
A TEST OF WILLS is an extraordinary first novel in a series that combines a unique kind of psychological suspense with vivid atmosphere and a tantalizing mystery.

And here's the whole list of Ian Rutledge novels in order:

A Test of Wills (1996) 
Wings of Fire (1998) 
Search the Dark(1999) 
Legacy of the Dead (2000) 
Watchers of Time (2001) 
A Fearsome Doubt (2002) 
A Cold Treachery (2005) 
A Long Shadow (2006) 
A False Mirror (2007) 
A Pale Horse (2008) 
A Matter of Justice (2009) 
The Red Door (2010) 
A Lonely Death (2011) 
The Confession (2012) 
Proof of Guilt (2013)



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