The Best of April’s Reading

ChelmortonApril is my favourite month of the year and, although spring has come late to Derbyshire, the cold weather encouraged lots of reading. I read eight books in April, and I can see from my list that only two of them were by women. I normally try for a better balance than that so I must make a concerted effort in May to read more books by women. It was good to read books in series that are fast becoming my favourites, including those by Stav Sherez, William Ryan and S J Bolton.

My book of the month, however, was the fourth in a series that has become one of my ‘must reads’. Savage Spring by Mons Kallentoft  brought together many of the strands of earlier books to produce a gripping and thought-provoking narrative.

The eight books I read for crimepieces were:

1. The Wreck of the Margherita by Bill Todd

2. Nordic Noir by Barry Forshawpick of the month 2013

3. We Are Here by Michael Marshall

4. Savage Spring by Mons Kallentoft

5. The Twelfth Department by William Ryan

6. Blessed Are Those Who Thirst by Anne Holt

7. Eleven Days by Stav Sherez

8. Like This For Ever by S J Bolton

Kerrie, at Mysteries in Paradise, is collating the pick of the month from crime fiction bloggers around the world.

The Best of February’s Reading

Cat and FiddleThe short month of February caught me by surprise hence the late timing of this post. After a panic when I realised that only one book in my January reads had been written by a woman, I redressed the balance in February. Eight out of the ten books I read were by female authors.

Like last month, I have a tie for my book of the month. In February it is between Belinda Bauer’s Rubbernecker and Liza Marklund’s Last Will. The books are poles apart – Bauer’s a standalone set in South Wales while Marklund’s is the latest in the series featuring reporter Annika Bengtzon. What unites them is excellent storytelling, which is the main reason we love crime novels isn’t it?

The nine books I read for crimepieces were:

1. Rock Creek Park by Simon Conway

2. Dead Scared by S J Bolton

3. Dead Man’s Land by Robert Ryan

4. Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

5. Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer

6. The Golden Box by Frances Crane

7. Thirteen White Tulips by Frances Crane

8. Last Will by Liza Marklundpick of the month 2013

9. The Senior Moment by Eva Hudson

I read one book for Eurocrime, Lyndsey Davis’s excellent The Ides of April, the review of which will appear nearer the April publication date.

Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise is putting together a list of reviewers’ favourite books for February.

The Best of January’s Reading

Well, January is over thank God. I can see from my stats that I have plenty of readers from the Southern Hemisphere and recent Januscomments about the Australian heatwave mean I am sending envious glances across the globe.

Perhaps I should have geared my reading to books set in sunnier climes, but my need for escapism was more than amply met by the amount of historical fiction on my list. Five out of the eight crime books I read this month were set in the past, from first century Alexandria to 1980s Northern Ireland. Compiling this post, I’m slightly ashamed to notice that only 1 and 1/2 books (Nicola Upson and Maj Sjöwall) were written by women. However, I’m pleased to say that a number of women crime writers – Lindsay Davis, Elly Griffiths and Eva Hudson are already lined up for my February books.

My book of the month is a tie between Paul Doiron’s The Poacher’s Son and Adrian McKinty’s Hear the Sirens in the Street. Doiron is a new discovery of mine and I’m looking forward to reading more of his books. McKinty is an old favourite and once more he didn’t disappoint.

The eight books I read for crimepieces were:

1. The Chessmen by Peter May

2. The Abominable Man by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

3. The Dark Winter by David Mark

4. Fear in the Sunlight by Nicola Upson

5. HHhH by Laurent Binet

6. The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron

7. Furies by D L Johnstone

8. I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty

Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise is putting together a list of reviewer’s favourite books for January.

The Best of November’s Reading

Arvon crime writers groupThis post is a little later than usual which more or less sums up my reading in November. At the beginning of the month I met some lovely fellow writers at a course organised by the Arvon Foundation. There are some interesting crime novels being written at the moment and it was fascinating to hear works in progress being read aloud.

It did mean, however, that I then spent most of the month trying to catch up with both my reading and reviewing. It took me a week to read one of the books on the list and then I read the next two novels in a single day. Does anyone else find that their reading goes in fits and starts? It wasn’t a reflection on the novels in question, just my ability to concentrate on the task in hand.

Six of the books were by new-to-me writers and one in particular, Louise Welsh, I intend to read more of in the near future. My book of the month was by another new-to-me writer: The Last Policeman by Ben H Winters. It had an interesting premise and was well written. I’m already looking forward to the next instalment.

The eight books I read for crimepieces were:

1. Babylon by Camilla Ceder

2. The Last Policeman by Ben H Winters

3. Murder at the Savoy by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

4. Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

5. Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham.

6. The Consorts of Death by Gunnar Staalesen

7. Vanished by Liza Marklund

8. The Girl on the Stairs by Louise Welsh

Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise is hosting a monthly round-up of all the recommendations by crime fiction bloggers. Do pay the site a visit and see if you agree with the books that have been chosen.

The Best of October’s Reading

It has been an excellent month for reading crime fiction with not a dud amongst my books. I always expect October to be a fruitful month as publishers usually come up with something exiting for the autumn but I was genuinely pleased by the quality of the books that I picked up.

Three of the books that I read were by new-to-me authors and all were excellent. I particularly want to give a shout-out to Tom Grieves and RN Morris, who although writing completely different types of novel, are united by the talent for drawing the reader completely into the world that they have created.

For the first time since I started summing up my monthly reading, I dithered for a long time over what book to choose as my book of the month. However, a book that will stay with me for a long time was Elizabeth Hay’s Alone in the Classroom. It’s going to be impossible for me to sum it up in one sentence so read instead my review and more importantly buy or borrow the book. I’d love to hear what you think.

The seven books that I read for crimepieces were:

1. The Fire Engine that Disappeared by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

2. Autumn Killing by Mons Kallentoft

3. 7 Days by Deon Meyer

4. Sleepwalkers by Tom Grieves

5. The Bat by Jo Nesbo

6. Alone in the Classroom by Elizabeth Hay

7. Summon up the Blood by R N Morris

Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise is hosting a monthly round-up of all the recommendations by crime fiction bloggers. Do pay the site a visit and see if you agree with the books that have been chosen.

The Best of September’s Reading

September was a busy month, with a move across Europe which left me with little time for reading. The books I did finish were mainly ones that I had been wanting to read for a while as I was looking for quality over quantity. As it turned out, it was a successful month with not a dud amongst them. As half the books were by new-to-me authors I now have the earlier novels of Deon Meyer, Max Kinnings, Nicola Upson and Christopher Brookmyre to catch-up with.

I also attended the History in the Court, an enjoyable event hosted by Goldsboro Books. As so often happens with these occasions I left with a mental list of new authors I want to try, including R N Morris and Robert Wilton.

My book of the month was in fact published last year to rave reviews and had been on my wish list for a while. Trackers by Deon Meyer is one of the best books that I’ve read this year and a thriller of the classic type. This engrossing read means that his next book Seven Days has been pushed right up my list and I’m hoping to read it in the next week or so.

The eight books that I read for crimepieces were:

1. Axe by Ed McBain

2. Trackers by Deon Meyer

3. Baptism by Max Kinnings

4. Two for Sorrow by Nicola Upson

5. Sail of Stone by Ake Edwardson

6. Falling Glass by Adrian McKinty

7. When the Devil Drives by Christopher Brookmyre

8. The Blind Goddess by Anne Holt

Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise is hosting a monthly round-up of all the recommendations by crime fiction bloggers.

The Best of August’s Reading

Using August as a catch-up period gave me the chance to tackle all those books that had been sitting on my bookshelf or kindle over the last couple of months. It was good to see that book pile go down slowly although a month without a single (new) book purchase was enough for me. September will be business as usual and I’ll buy, borrow and read what I fancy.

Of the eleven books I read for crimepieces, ten were new-to-me authors. The only exception was Peter Robinson which I slipped into my reading purely because I couldn’t resist it. My stand-out book of the month will be reviewed in September so that one will have to wait. However, Ashes, by Sergios Gakas was a wonderful slice of Greek Noir and is my nominated book of the month. It was a crime novel that was realistic and gritty but the cynicism was restrained enough for the writer to tell an excellent story.

The eleven books I read for crimepieces were:

1. Blood Tears by Michael J Malone

2. Bone and Cane by David Belbin

3. Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah

4. The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan

5. Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson

6. Out of Range by C J Box

7. Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

8. Ashes by Sergios Gakas

9. Bird of Prey by Nikitas Terzis

10. The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

11. Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson

As usual, Kerrie from  Mysteries in Paradise is collating the pick of this month’s crime reads and has an eclectic mix of recommendations which I have come to expect.