Monday, 2 June 2014

A Book Lover's May - with Black, Cross, Robertson, Carey, Sinclair and Thomas

YAY - who loves books!!!

Here's what I read in May ...

Tony Black – Artefacts of the Dead (out in July '14)

Jeez, how busy is this guy? He's not only prolific, he's bloody good. (Makes me sick.) In this book, Tony is back on the crime beat.

DI Bob Valentine is back at work after a near fatal stabbing. The corpse of a banker is found impaled on a stake, in the town dump. (Playing to the gallery there, Tony, eh?) Somebody is making a statement and it's up to Valentine to find out who.

As usual, Black's writing is on the button – great characterisation, strong set plays and a pin-sharp commentary on the current lack in society. If you like a puzzle and a writer with intellect, TB is your man.

Mason Cross – The Killing Season

Mason is a new boy on the scene – and boy does he come roaring out of the blocks with a doozy of a thriller. There's enough excitement here for even the most jaded of adrenaline junkies.

Carter Blake is a fascinating dude and someone you will enjoy spending time with. Just let everyone know you are busy – close the laptop lid, switch off your phone, turn off the telly and settle in for an exciting ride.

For fans of Lee Child and Matt Hilton – yes, its that good. Can't wait to see what he does next.

The Girl With All the Gifts – M R Carey

If you fancy a slice of different – give this book a read. The blurb says it's like a cross between The Walking Dead and Kazuo Ishiguro – and that quite neatly sums it up.

A fungus has infected mankind turning most of them into zombie-like creatures, called Hungries – yet some of the children infected manage to retain their humanity – alongside their hunger for human flesh.

The girl of the title is one of the infected children – who has the hunger, and a near genius IQ. She's part of a government run installation, designed to research for a cure. Until a group of human survivers wreck the place and … you'll need to get the book to read what happens next.

If you switched off at the word “zombie” - don't worry, this is safely the most original slant on that sub-genre I've come across. It's fast paced, thrilling read – part chase/ thriller/ horror/ SF – ach, don't worry about the label. I loved it.

(nope, it's Craig)

The Last Refuge – Craig Robertson

Robertson cleverly combines Tartan and Scandi noir in what could possibly be his best book yet. I thoroughly enjoyed this, which is just as well as I'm going to be interviewing the man himself at a couple of events.

The writing is descriptive when it needs to be and succinct when that it required. Strong characterisation and strong set-pieces tied in with a nice line in humour.

I'm wondering if Craig is being paid anything by the Faroes tourist board – I certainly wanted to visit after I read this. Indeed, if any aspiring writers out there are struggling with the concept of “sense of place”, then you should get yourself a copy of this book, like, now. Quality work from start to finish.

Blood Whispers by John Gordon Sinclair

I might have been seen rolling my eyes when I first heard that yet another celeb was writing a novel and I read JGS' first novel Seventy Times Seven with a sceptical eye. He very quickly won me over and I realised that I was reading the real thing from the first paragraph.

This, his second novel is even better. Fair to say, I raced through it and bloody loved it.

We have a gutsy, sharp as a tack heroine, Glasgow gangsters, CIA dirty tricks and an Eastern European drug lord. His heroine, Keira Lynch is one of my favourite new fictional characters – with one of the most unusual back-stories you will come across in the genre.

Right, Gordy, get cracking. When can we see your next book?

David Thomas – Ostland

Wow. Just wow. I'm in awe of writers who use research for a novel in such a way. You know while reading it that the research has taken the form of an iceberg. We see enough to convince, while realising that the author knew so much more about his subject.

Also, this is a book that has the holocaust as its theme and if you are going to tackle that particular subject you really should have something different to say and Thomas certainly has.

Our character is seen first as you young man in the 1930's Germany working as a police detective chasing a serial killer. Then we see him as a war criminal in the 60's being investigated for war crimes. A ploy that toys with your feelings. When you first see the man, you like him, you're drawn to his work ethic and intelligence and then ... Very clever and hugely effective.

This is a stunning book. Painful to read, but important. As the man says … lest we forget.