Sunday 30 September 2018


A few September buys, a review copy received and a free book from a publisher courtesy of a competition win. There were more, but I'm not going to shout any louder - you never know, my wife might read this.....

N.M. Brown - Carpenter Road (2018) - a competition win

Not usually a massive fan of the serial killer type book (apart from John Sandford and maybe one of two other authors, eg Thomas Harris) but it seems well worth a punt.

When a young woman swaps coats with a prostitute then vanishes, it marks the start of a mystifying case for Leighton Jones. 

After traffic officer Leighton is called to an altercation in a used car lot he is confronted by a prostitute rambling on about a girl who stole her coat. He thinks nothing off it. That is until the body of a Jane Doe shows up, matching the prostitute’s description.  

What is the link between the fight in the car lot and the dead woman?

Leighton proceeds to gather evidence, which he attempts to pass onto the lead Homicide detective, Slater. However, Slater tells Leighton to back off, and that a suspect has been arrested. 

Fearing there is more to the case than he first thought, Leighton is driven to keep digging and soon ends up on the trail of a serial killer.

But Leighton might be out of his depth this time…

What everyone is saying about Carpenter Road:
"It has a well-executed plot with great characters to root for and sympathise with." Eva Merckx - Novel Deelights 

"The tension gradually builds as the novel progresses, and I found the ending so nail-biting, as Leighton Jones is involved in a race against time." Kate Eveleigh - Portable Magic 

Steven Savile - Parallel Lines (2017) - speculative purchase 

Interesting premise, not an author I had previously heard of, but I'll see how I go with this one before checking on his book mentioned in the blurb - Silver.

Eight people, twelve hours, one chance to cover up a murder. 

The explosive new thriller from the bestselling author of SILVER.

Adam Shaw is dying, and knows he'll leave his disabled son with nothing. His solution? Rob a bank. It's no surprise that things go wrong. What is surprising is that when another customer is accidentally shot, no one in the bank is in a hurry to hand Adam over to the police. There's the manager who's desperate to avoid an audit, the security guard with a serious grudge, and the woman who knows exactly how bad the victim really was...

Eight people, twelve hours, one chance to cover up a murder. But it's not just the police they have to fool. When many lives intersect, the results can be deadly.

Henry Chang - Lucky (2017) - purchased copy

I think I have the first few Yu books from Chang on the pile but I haven't got to his work yet.

Detective Jack Yu returns in a pulse-pounding fifth investigation in New York's Chinatown 
Chinatown gang leader “Lucky” Louie was shot outside of a Chinatown off-track betting establishment on the thirteenth of January, and lay in a coma for 88 days, waking on Easter Sunday. The number 88 is a double-helix, double-lucky Chinese number; religion and superstition all lean Lucky’s way.

But Detective Jack Yu, Lucky’s boyhood blood brother, fears his friend’s luck is about to run out. When Lucky embarks on a complex and daring series of crimes against the Chinatown criminal underground, Jack races to stop him before his enemies do so—permanently.

Mickey J. Corrigan - Project XX (2017) - purchased copy 

Difficult subject matter, I'll be interested to get the author's take on this issue.

In 2012, a deranged grad student dressed as the Joker shot and killed dozens of movie goers at a Batman film opening in Colorado. Gun violence is so out of control in America that it has become a cruel joke.

Unlike most of Mickey Corrigan’s novels, Project XX made itself known to her at that time, demanding to be written. Usually she researches, prepares, then writes. In this case, she wrote first, then did the research on gun violence, female violent crime, and school/mass shootings.

Males are almost always the perpetrators of mass shootings. But females are fully capable of shocking acts of violence and, in the US, military-style weapons are as easy to access as a new hairstyle.

Matt Phillips - Know Me From Smoke (2018) - purchased copy

Just read Bad Luck City from him a few weeks ago. A few more from Matt Phillips sit on the pile.

Stella Radney, longtime lounge singer, still has a bullet lodged in her hip from the night when a rain of gunshots killed her husband. That was twenty years ago and it’s a surprise when the unsolved murder is reopened after the district attorney discovers new evidence. 

Royal Atkins is a convicted killer who just got out of prison on a legal technicality. At first, he’s thinking he’ll play it straight. Doesn’t take long before that plan turns to smoke—was it ever really an option? 

When Stella and Royal meet one night, they’re drawn to each other. But Royal has a secret. How long before Stella discovers that the man she’s falling for isn’t who he seems? 

A noir of gripping suspense and violence, Know Me from Smoke is a journey into the shadowy terrain of murder, lost love, and the heart’s lust for vengeance.

Praise for Know Me From Smoke: 

"Two great characters here in Stella and Royal. Couple that with a psychotic villain and a grudge-bearing cop, and you're gonna be hooked til the end. Happy endings? Well, maybe..." - Paul Heatley, author of The Runner, FatBoy, and An Eye for an Eye

Charles Demers - Property Values (2018) - review copy from publisher Arsenal Pulp Press via Edeleweiss reviewing site
Sounds like my kind of book. Hats off to Dietrich Kalteis for bringing it to my attention. Another Canadian author to keep on my radar.

As a shaky truce between suburban gangsters starts to unravel, schlubby civilian Scott Clark has other things on his mind: if he can’t afford to buy out his ex father-in-law, Scott’s about to lose the only house he’s ever called home. In the red-hot urban housing market, he doesn’t have a chance -- until he and his best friends take the desperate measure of staging a fake drive-by shooting on the property to push down the asking price. But when Scott’s mobster-posturing stunt attracts the attention of the real criminals, his pretend gang soon finds itself in the middle of a deadly rivalry.

With wicked humor and a brilliant cast of desperate characters, Property Values explodes the crime novel trope while exploring the comic lengths a man will go to in order to become a home owner in today’s market.


  1. Col, "Know Me From Smoke" looks more promising of the lot, though I have never read any of these writers.

    1. I think of the six, that would be in my top three. Matt Phillips is the only one from this bunch that I have previously read.

  2. You've got some interesting reads here, Col. Parallel Lives does sound interesting. And Property Values appeals, too. Looks as though you've got some interesting reading awaiting you.

    1. Thanks Margot, there's some good times ahead I feel!

  3. Like Prashant, I think 'Know me From Smoke' sounds the most enticing - and that's a great title...

    1. I do like this author's work Moira. Hopes are high for KNOW ME FROM SMOKE!

  4. Col – I will be looking for your review of PARALLEL LINES. It sounds like a good one.

    1. Elgin, thanks - probably early next year assuming I don't forget it

  5. There were more, but I'm not going to shout any louder - you never know, my wife might read this...

    I know the feeling.

  6. Most of these are new to me, but Glen has all of the books by Henry Chang, and I have read two of them. I liked them a lot and I think you would too.

    I have the opposite problem, Glen actively encourages me to buy more books even though he knows how many I have.

    1. I'm looking forward to trying Henry Chang, Tracy. It might have been Glen who put me onto them actually.

      I've re-homed all the books now and there are 96 and a half tubs in total, plus all the books on the laptop and Kindle, plus I still have lots of PDF papers with magazines and stories and word documents. She may have a point.

    2. I am so happy to hear that someone has more boxes of books than I do. Almost every spare wall in our place is full of bookshelves or stacks of our books (mine and Glen's) but I have at least 50 boxes of books in the garage. It is very sad but it is hard to let go of any of them that I have not read yet.

    3. I know the feeling. I don't think it's sad at all. There's an attachment there. I'm hoping to log the last 10 or so tubs in the next little while. I stopped at 86 - two years ago.