Jan says READ THIS!

The new Karen Campbell!

I just finished the fourth novel from Glaswegian writer Karen Campbell. In my book she's one of the very best writers of police novels in the UK over the last twenty years. This fourth book about Anna Cameron is quite possibly my favourite; the writing is exquisite; the characterizations genuine and the inclusion of scots vernacular somehow this time reminded me of Deon Meyer and the use of afrikaan terms in the English versions of his novels. Also in a similar way Campbell explores and explains the societal nerve of modern Scottish life and it is completely intriguing.

By Nightfall

This is the story of Peter Harris, a 44 year old gallery owner in New York and what happens to him over a period of a few days. This is a wonderful novel, a contemplation on encroaching middle age, on values, marriage, parenthood, art and ideals. The writing is exquisite, the language occasionally stunning. It surprised me, and I like being surprised.

Black & White

This is a terrific novel about american race relations in the 60s and the fallout in one man's life. Michael Cooper comes back to his city of birth Durham, NC, when his father who is dying from lung cancer decides he wants to die there. The returns triggers events and secrets start to unfold. Beautifully written with strong characters this book poses interesting questions on identity and morals. This is the man we all should be reading instead of Messrs Foer and Eggers.


Five Days Apart

Am I the only one who likes Chris Binchy? I've read all four of his novels, and they are terrific novels about the male psyche. This one concerns a love triangle where the protagonists socially stronger best friend edges him out of the love of his life. A direct enough love story that kept me reading relentlessly. Spread the word.

The Incredible Double

Brief beautiful counter-culture noir featuring poet/book scout/PI Clay Blackburn and set mostly in Berkeley. Who can resist a character who when checking out someone's bookshelves reflects: "I scanned the two small bookshelves. Jackie Susann and some movie bios. But also Terry Southern, Gore Vidal, Susan Sontag. No McSweeney's or Paul Auster. I felt relieved. The only poetry was by Bertolt Brecht. Not bad."

The Devil

The seventh book about the mostly unfortunate adventures of moral champion Jack Taylor sees him go face to face with perhaps his mightiest adversary so far... Ken Bruen is a marvel. Noone writes like him, and it may be an acquired taste, but oh it's worth it! Start with The Guards and then you'll be hooked. A great extra with Ken Bruen's books are all the terrific literary tips he gives; Jack Taylor is forever reading good books, books you want to find out more about. Do not tarry!

This Wicked World

Excellent, well written, SoCal noir. Jimmy Boone tries very hard to do right, but his sense of justice brings him into situations he probably shouldn't be in. This is a great story of a broken hero battling to right wrongs. Very well written with nods to people like Beckett. Engaging

Neil Cross – Captured


I just finished reading Neil Cross' newest book Captured. It was a riveting, incisive read. I don't quite know how to best describe Mr Cross' work. On the one hand he could be said to be a British Harlan Coben in that he is great at making his characters feel real; normal people who are suddenly exposed to some measure of darkness. He writes equally well, pacy, with great flow. Very accessible prose and stories that grab hold.

Do They Know I'm Running?

Great political thriller about US / Central American relations. This book is a deeply felt reckoning with how we are affected by our own underlying prejudices, as well as being a very pacy exciting read about engaging people struggling for, well, normalcy. Complex and intriguing. Read.

All the Colours of The Town

Very well written and interesting dark novel about the sectarianism of Western Scotland and how it is connected to the situation in Ulster. I learned quite a few things in this exciting read. Favourite scene: where the protagonist is in the wrong pub at the wrong time and suddenly everyone knows who he is and everything goes quiet, until the bartender places a hand on his shoulder and quietly says 'It's time you werenae here, son'... Great stuff!!

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