A double helping of Maigret

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. One of the great things about Georges Simenon’s Maigret novels is that they’re short. Each features a story told in full, but achieved within 160 pages or so – in this he resembles Muriel Spark. No words are wasted and there is no flowery Read More

Small town secrets and lies…

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. Orient by Christopher Bollen This is a thriller about small town America writ large – and chunky, weighing in at 609 pages. However, it was totally gripping right from the start as each page peels away all the secrets and lies that foster Read More

Keywords: Thriller, Vatican, Relics!

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell No! This isn’t a lost thriller by Dan Brown! Far from it (although at times I wish it had had a bit of Brown’s rip-roaring pace). The Fifth Gospel comes from the co-author of a best-selling religious thriller of ten years ago – The Rule of Four, and has Read More

The first in a long line of crime novels

Naked in Death by J.D.Robb Last week, Victoria over at Tales from the Reading Room wrote a post about Obsession in Death, the latest in J.D.Robb’s long-running crime series featuring detective Eve Dallas. In fact, it turns out that Obsession in Death is the fiftieth in the series! I knew that I had the first novel in the Read More

The Intruders were in my TBR!…

The Intruders by Michael Marshall British author Marshall began writing stylish SF novels as Michael Marshall Smith – winning the Philip K Dick Award for his debut Only Forward, which I’ve been meaning to re-read for years! After a few more, he dropped the ‘Smith’ and moved into the world of creepy thrillers winning plaudits Read More

What is an accident anyway?

Accidents Happen by Louise Millar I used to work for one of the world’s major chemical companies whose mantra was that there is no such thing as an accident. After too many ‘accidents’ making explosives in the 1800s, the company became intensely safety focused, and remains so today. They believe, and naturally it rubbed off Read More

Taking the plunge into the waters of popular thriller-dom…

The Nemesis Program by Scott Mariani Occasionally I read a mindless thriller, something a bit Dan Brown, just to remind myself that I’m not really the target audience for such stuff, although secretly I do enjoy them – a little!  My teenage reading diet was absolutely full of thrillers – Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley, Hammond Read More

No frog in my throat, 'min P'tit'

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue I haven’t read Donoghue’s famous, or even infamous novel Room. I own a copy, but its dark subject matter requires a certain frame of mind to read and we haven’t coincided yet. I was very keen to read her latest novel Frog Music though, as it’s set in San Francisco Read More

A novel of ‘The Troubles’

Harry’s Game by Gerald Seymour I was amazed to find that this thriller from 1975 was Gerald Seymour’s début novel. Because of its setting, it is the kind of book that my late mother would never have read, and we read a lot of thrillers betweeen us in our household back then. She was born and Read More

Be of good cheer! (No, not that type of cheer)…

Dare Me by Megan Abbott An image of pony-tailed cheerleaders is arguably the ultimate cliché when we think of the most popular girls at High School in the USA.  Most teen films portray them as bitchy, and not big on brains. They are there to look like clean-living girls next door, to strike poses, but Read More

The game’s afoot once again…

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz The vogue for new writers keeping others’ literary characters alive has never been stronger. I would wager that no one character has continued to be written more about than Sherlock Holmes, although James Bond must be getting close. Most of the non-Fleming Bond novels are, however, officially commissioned Read More

50th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK

The Assassination of JFK: Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo I was just three and a half when JFK was assassinated, so I remained blissfully unaware of the tragedy that had happened on 22nd November 1963.  They say it’s one of those events that everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. I’ve Read More

From drifter to hitman …

King of the Ants by Charlie Higson Comedian and author Charlie Higson has lately been very successful in scaring the pants off older children with his rather wonderful zombie novels, and giving a sense of thrilling adventure in his Young Bond series. You may not be aware that before all that, he wrote four gritty adult Read More

“Echoed voices in the night she’s a restless spirit on an endless flight”

Babayagaby Toby Barlow Toby Barlow’s debut, Sharp Teeth, which I capsule-reviewed back in the early days of this blog should have really appeared in my Top novels I’ve read by men post from a couple of days ago. His Sopranos-style story of gang warfare amongst the werewolves in LA, written in the form of a prose Read More

Crimes & Casinos, Miami & Puerto Rico – R.I.P. Elmore Leonard

I was sad to hear of the death of Elmore Leonard a week and a half ago. He was 87, and had suffered a stroke earlier in the month. He was one of my favourite crime writers. I liked him particularly for his ability to make me laugh and of course for his distinct style Read More

Book Group Report – a German classic novella…

The Jew’s Beechby Annette Von Droste-Hülshoff Being a German novella from 1842, this book was an unusual choice for our Book Group. It came about in conversation because one of our group’s sons was studying it at uni, and another who teaches German, owned a copy in German which she’d never read. Luckily, translations are Read More

Still shocking after all these years …

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks Distractions! I had hoped to read or re-read more Banks books by now. But better late than never, I have returned to the beginning and re-read The Wasp Factory again, and updated my BanksRead page. Published in 1984, I read it for the first time in 1985 when the paperback Read More

Not a psychodrama, more of a moral discussion…

Professor Andersen’s Night by Dag Solstad, translated by Agnes Scott Langeland I read this book on Christmas Eve for reasons which will soon become clear. Norwegian author Dag Solstad’s third work to be translated into English is a short novel that can be read in a single sitting. From the blurb on the back cover, you Read More

Getting to grips with the phenomenon that is Lee Child

Killing Floor: (Jack Reacher 1) by Lee Child Lee Child is a phenomenon. Made redundant by Granada TV at the age of forty, the Sheffield man who had initially studied law turned to writing and created the series of thrillers featuring Jack Reacher – there are now seventeen of them. Child is a worldwide bestselling Read More

The Glass Books Trilogy – an awfully fun adventure!

The Glass Books Trilogy by G W Dahlquist Bantam in the USA, reputedly paid début novelist Dahlquist an advance of $2,000,000 for the first two installments in this series. Although the first was well received, apparently they lost shedloads of money on the deal. Penguin, the books’ publisher in the UK, also published the first volume with a Read More

Murder – the lawyer’s tale

The Child Who by Simon Lelic After writing a spec fiction thriller for his second novel The Facility, review here, Lelic returns to give us a different take on familiary territory for his third. His stunning debut Rupture, review here, was a Whydunnit which explored how a teacher came to murder his pupils. The Child Who takes its inspiration Read More

3 shorter reviews – Nesbo – Sabato – Teller

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive.   The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden, foreword by Colm Tóibín Ernesto Sabato died recently, just two months short of his one hundredth birthday.  He was regarded as one of the greats of Argentinian literature,  having Read More

Sookie Stackhouse #2

Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris Living Dead in Dallas is the second in the hugely successful Sookie Stackhouse series of vampire novels by Charlaine Harris. If by any chance you’ve not encountered them before, either as books or in their TV incarnation True Blood, I suggest you start here with the first. In this second novel, Sookie is Read More

Rebus #2

Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin Ian Rankin’s second Rebus novel is not quite as good as the first, but is still very enjoyable. Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, this time the doughty inspector investigates the death of a junkie with possible satanic overtones, while his super involves him in Read More