Literary Genre Fiction – let’s discuss

Earlier this week, Rebecca took part in a tag on the subject of literary fiction (see here), and after defining what literary fiction is for you and picking some examples, the tag asks, “Name a brilliant literary-hybrid genre novel.” Rebecca chose The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell – which I read many years ago, and Read More

3 shorter reviews – Bissell, Hunter, Ross

Barnhill by Norman Bissell After the end of WWII, George Orwell left London to live in a remote farmhouse on Jura in the Hebrides. It was there at ‘Barnhill’ that he brought together all the ideas that had been fermenting in his brain into the book that became 1984. Bissell’s novel tells the story of Read More

20 Books of Summer: #7 & #8 – a Barnes duo

When I picked my 20 books, I managed to include two by Julian Barnes, for I forgot that Julian Barnes wrote a series of crime novels in the 1980s under a pseudonym – Dan Kavanagh, (Kavanagh being the maiden name of his wife). So I read the two back to back – which worked very Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Wild card for the hols

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews where they exist. This month – the starting book is a wild card – the book you ended your last chain with, which for me was: Sharp Read More

Crime Panel Event Night at Mostly Books

Last night was a very special event at Mostly Books – the first time I can remember that four wonderful authors crammed into this small shop with as large an audience as could be fitted in! They were: William Shaw – author of the excellent Alexandra Cupidi series of Kentish crime novels (and the Breen Read More

Review catch-up

On Presence: Essays | Drawings by Peter Reason and Sarah Gillespie Recruiting Peter to the team of Shiny New Books reviewers was a bit of a coup – in fact he approached us. A retired professor, he has a deep interest in the natural world and humanity’s place in the ecology of the planet. His Read More

Blogtour – Deadland by William Shaw

I’m delighted to be one of the stops today for the Blogtour celebrating the publication of Deadland, the second Alexandra Cupidi crime novel from William Shaw. I read the first novel, Salt Lane reviewed here, in this series last summer. Set mainly in the Kent marshes near Dungeness, not only did Salt Lane fully introduce the Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them…

I’ve kept a master spreadsheet of what I’ve read every year since 2006, two years before I started blogging. There are entries on it from 2004 too, but not a full reading record. While I’ve only kept good stats since around 2010, I did used to write capsule reviews of those pre-blog reads on the Read More

Shiny Linkiness

Just popping in quickly to highlight my latest review at Shiny New Books. Slow Motion Ghosts by Jeff Noon Sometimes a novel just grabs you and won’t let go – Slow Motion Ghosts was one of those books! Jeff Noon is more famed for his alternative Manchester, weird slightly SF novels, but now he has Read More

Two new crime thrillers – Harper and Spain

Today I have a review and a Shiny link for you – both thrillers published today. The Lost Man by Jane Harper Let me get the Shiny link out of the way first. The Lost Man is Harper’s third crime thriller, set in the Australian outback. Whereas her first two featured Aaron Falk, a cop Read More

Review Catch-up #4 from 2018

This really is the last pair of books I read in the tail end of 2018 – from here-on in it’ll be 2019 reading all the way! But first two book group choices: Firstly the book we read over Christmas and discussed last week, and then February’s book – I’m writing about it now so Read More

Name of the Rose Readalong

Last November I told you of my plans to re-read The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, and some of you said you might join in… Well I’m ready! I shall be reading my Folio Society edition, which is the original translation by William Weaver, but with some glorious extra artwork by Neil Packer Read More

Novellas in November – Part 2

Running Wild by J.G. Ballard This beautifully crafted novella published in 1988 concerns one of Ballard’s favourite themes – life in a community that walls itself away from the rest of the world. It is set in an exclusive housing estate of just ten houses, each on a large plot. The estate is gated, has Read More

Paris in July 2018 take two: Simenon & Laurain

Two short reviews for my second contribution to Paris in July – an annual tag hosted by Thyme for Tea which I love doing each year. A Man’s Head by Georges Simenon Translated by David Coward A Man’s Head was the ninth Maigret novel, originally published in 1931, I read David Coward’s 2014 translation in the new Penguin Read More

Darkness at Dungeness…

Salt Lane by William Shaw This is the first book by William Shaw that I’ve read – he is the author of three crime novels set in the 1960s known as the ‘Breen & Tozer’ trilogy (watch out though – they have different titles in the US and UK, and there are now four in Read More

Two novels with a French connection – Chevalier & Magnan

The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier This was our Book Group’s choice for this month – ‘Blue’ being the key word we’d picked it by.  This was Chevalier’s first novel, published in 1997, and it is different to all of her others by having a dual timeline, following the stories of two women, centuries apart. Read More

Review Catch-Up – McBain, Berthon, Ishiguro

Driving Lessons by Ed McBain McBain is most famous for his many 57th Precinct novels, but he has written many other books too. This slim book from 1999 was part of a series of novellas from Orion called Criminal Records. Some were published separately, the others anthologised in one volume edited by Otto Penzler. A Read More

What ‘Elle Thinks’ is Right … Tana French is Fab!

In the Woods by Tana French Every time Eleanor of Elle Thinks mentions Tana French (the latest being here), I say ‘I must read one of her books’. Tana French is one of Eleanor’s go-to comfort reads, and she is always recommending her.  Well, now I have read French’s first novel, and I can see Read More

A return to Joe Thomas’s Sao Paulo

Gringa by Joe Thomas At around this time last year, I read the first in a new crime series set in Sao Paulo (reviewed here for Shiny).  Joe Thomas lived and taught in São Paulo, the most populous city in the Americas and Southern Hemisphere, for ten years. His observations and experience of living in this Read More

The Second Outing for the Anti-Miss Marple in Sicily…

  Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord by Mario Giordano Translated from the German by John Brownjohn I was delighted to encounter the first Auntie Poldi book last year. The adventures of an irrepressible sixty-year-old German lady who retires to her late ex-husband’s ancestral home in Sicily, hoping to “fulfil one of her dearest Read More

A rather different kind of barrister…

Summary Justice by John Fairfax John Fairfax is a pen name for William Brodrick, who wrote the well-regarded Father Anselm mysteries. Brodrick was a practising barrister before giving up the law for becoming a writer, so I immediately had high hope for this new series of legal thrillers with a most fascinating pair of protagonists. Read More

Two excellent thrillers – Moskva and The Ice

Moskva by Jack Grimwood You may know Grimwood through his literary novel The Last Banquet written as John Grimwood, or his fantasy/crime novels written as Jon Courtenay Grimwood. I’ve not read any of them, although I do own The Last Banquet, which I remember was very well received. It’s certainly going up my pile, having Read More

Book Group Report: “Windows”

The High Window by Raymond Chandler Our key-word for this month’s book choice was ‘Window(s)’.  The other choices pitched into the hat were:  High Windows by Philip Larkin, House without windows by Nadia Hashimi and Microserfs by Douglas Coupland, but Raymond Chandler won out – a great choice for a busy period of the year. The Read More

Some recent reads in short…

It’s catch-up time again… Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre  While I loved Lemaitre’s Verhoeven trilogy and last year’s superbly creepy Blood Wedding, Three Days and a Life was a slight disappointment. It’s still an excellent suspense novel, but lacks the elements of surprise and immediacy that his others have shown.  It has Read More

Two shorter reviews – McInerny and Viskic

The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerny I read and reviewed McInerny’s debut, The Glorious Heresies back in January, and although she paints a bleak picture of life for the dispossesed in Cork, the novel fizzed with sweary, gritty humour. I enjoyed it a lot, and was looking forward to The Blood Miracles. One of the Read More

Three Short Novels – Simenon – Fitzgerald – Johnston

Georges Simenon – The Grand Banks Café Translated by David Coward Maigret and Mrs Maigret are about to go on holiday. Mrs Maigret is packing as Maigret reads a letter that’s arrived from an old friend. “…Listen, are you still set on passing our week’s holiday in Alsace?” She stared at him, not understanding. The Read More

Golden Age crime inspired by Austen…

Darkness at Pemberley by T. H. White On July 18th, it’s the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. At Shiny New Books, we’re planning posts for every day that week. I’m far from being an Austen scholar, but I do seem to have read my fair share of prequels, sequels and other novels Read More

Short Takes from Brexitland to High School…

As so often happens these days, I’m very behind with my reviewing – so given that I aim to write something about every book I read, here are some short takes on recent reads. Alice in Brexitland by Leavis Carroll This had me in giggles intermittently, and recognising the cleverness in other parts at preserving Read More

Busy, busy, busy… and meanwhile at Shiny…

My poor blog – I’ve been neglecting it of late, life’s been so busy!  The next couple of weeks should be easier, although my priority will be supporting my daughter in her GCSE revision. Still, we did manage to get to IKEA earlier this week, and I now have a rather lovely new armchair/rug/coffee table Read More