The Best of June’s Reading

A 032late post to round up my reading in June. The month started with the excellent Crimefest and I came away with lots of new authors that I want to read and not enough time to try them. A new teaching job is taking up a lot of precious reading time but at least a decentish train journey is helping me keep on top  of things. I read one book for the Petrona Awards, a slightly disappointing The Devil’s Sanctuary by Marie Hermanson.  There were some nice new discoveries though, and worth a mention is Gordon Ferris’s series set in post-war Glasgow which I will certainly be reading more of.

My book of the month, though, was the outstanding I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. I really do hope this book gets the attention it deserves. Anyone who loves a good spy story will love this one.

The seven books that I read for crimepieces were:

1. Pilgrim Soul by Gordon Ferris

2. The Good Suicides by Antonio Hill

3. The Devil’s Sanctuary by Marie Hermanson

4.  Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand

5. World Noir: A Tribute to International Crime Fiction

6.  A Taste for Malice by Michael J Malone

7.  I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Review: Terry Hayes – I Am Pilgrim

I am pilgrimOh dear, I’m going to struggle to write an objective review about this book because…….I absolutely loved it. It’s got to be a contender for my book of the year. One of the most exciting things about I Am Pilgrim was the fact that my review copy came without a blurb. This meant that I had absolutely no idea what it was about. I’d picked up some ‘chat’ on twitter that it was a spy novel, and this whetted my appetite, but other than that I had no idea what to expect. But what a treat was in store for me.

The question is, how much do I reveal in my review? I’ve decided to break my blogging habit and tell you nothing about the content. Why? Well first of all, I’d love you to read the book, as I read it, without any preconceptions of what the novel is about. The book has a strong opening so I’m pretty sure that you’ll be hooked from the first page. Secondly, the plot is fairly complex and to summarise it would run the risk of spoiling the action as it unfolds. Part of the enjoyment for me were the twists and turns as the plot got going. There is a reasonably discreet summary on the Amazon website if you’re desperate for some more information.

Of course, I run a risk with this approach. First of all, I may be hyping a book that won’t be to everyone’s taste. However, if I say that the quotes at the front of the book are from Le Carré and Chandler, it will give you a flavour of the type of reader it will appeal to. The other problem with my approach is that it leaves me with precious little to write in a review. Without seeming too much of a tease, the central character is both intriguing and evokes empathy in the reader. There’s no romance in the book and yet much of the story is about family and love and conflict. And the plot is intricate, carefully drawn out and, towards the end, completely compelling.

At 700 pages long, I didn’t want the story to finish and I’d love to read more from this writer.

Thanks to Transworld for the copy of my book which is published on the 18th of this month.