Thursday 8 November 2018


October was a top banana reading month with 17 books enjoyed, even if there was no 5 STAR read in the bunch.

7 of the 17 read came close at 4.5 stars, on the rather random arbitrary score chart, but nothing totally blew my socks off.

Book of the month is Tony Spinosa (aka Reed Farrell Coleman) with Hose Monkey, on the basis that after reading it I felt immediately compelled to buy the next one in the series - The Fourth Victim.

The other close run things at 4.5 STARS were Deon Meyer and Cobra, Nick Kolakowski with Boise Longpig Hunting Club, Paul Heatley and An Eye For An Eye, James Schaffer's Back to the World, Wallace Stroby's Some Die Nameless and Sara Gran's The Infinite Blacktop

8 out of 17 were 4 STAR reads - Owen Mullen - In Harm's Way, Robert B. Parker - Sudden Mischief, Jeffrey A. Cooper - Burn One Down, Susan Koefod - Broken Down, Joel Dicker and the snappily titled The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, Eryk Pruitt's shorty - Further South, Simon Maltman's The Sidewinder and Christa Faust with Choke Hold

1 x 3.5 STAR read - When You Can't Stop by James W. Hall - suffered a bit by not having read the first in the series

1 x 3 STAR read - Harlan Coben's Home - enjoyable but with an irritating character

I spent time in the company of …….

a bounty hunter and his family caught up in some sick, rich man’s sadistic fun and games;
a couple of herberts looking for some missing boys;
a widow who has lost nearly everything on a revenge mission and crosses paths with a psychopathic former Olympian;
an alcoholic police detective trying to stop a hit squad of assassins and resolve a kidnapping;
a fractured Scottish family dealing with a difficult spouse and sibling;
an ex-cop and the IA detective who cost him his job teaming up to solve a murder and thwart some Russian mobsters;
a Vietnam Veteran on the run with his gamble-aholic pa;
a PI trying to keep his difficult girlfriend sweet by helping out her ex;
the best detective in the world flip-flopping and time-hopping through three cases including the important one of who is currently trying to kill her;
a tale of revenge in Geordieland;
an unusual Californian heist which goes pear-shaped;
a small town murder investigation involving some big time corruption;
an ex-mercenary and a journalist fighting for their lives when an ambitious politician embarks on some clean-up;
a famous author, his protégée and a 30 year old missing person case which turns to murder and a book about a book (or two);
some revenge sex turning sour when the boyfriend’s drug-stash gets pinched;
some Belfast musicians having a falling out
and an ex-porn star in witness protection fighting for her life.

Settings – Boise in Idaho; London and New Jersey; Spain, Italy and Florida; Cape Town - South Africa; Glasgow and beyond; Long Island – NY; Texas; Boston – MA; New York, Las Vegas and more; North East England – Newcastle and beyond; California; Somerset Hills – Minnesota; Florida and the Caribbean; New Hampshire and New York again, Nacogdoches in Texas heading to Louisiana; Belfast, Antrim and in between and Vegas, the Arizona desert and some Mexican border towns ….. lots of travelling without ever straying further than 15 miles from my door!

The full list of 17 with links below.....

Nick Kolakowski - Boise Longpig Hunting Club (2018) (4.5)

Harlan Coben - Home (2016) (3)

James W. Hall - When You Can't Stop (2018) (3.5)

Deon Meyer - Cobra (2012) (4.5)

Owen Mullen  - In Harm's Way (2018) (4)

Tony Spinosa - Hose Monkey (2006) (4.5)

James Shaffer - Back to the World (2016) (4.5)

Robert B. Parker - Sudden Mischief (1998) (4)

Sara Gran - The Infinite Blacktop (2018) (4.5)

Paul Heatley - An Eye For An Eye (2016) (4.5)

Jeffrey A. Cooper - Burn One Down (2018) (4)

Susan Koefod - Broken Down (2012) (4)

Joel Dicker - The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (2014) (4)

Wallace Stroby - Some Die Nameless (2018) (4.5)

Eryk Pruitt - Further South (2014) (4)

Simon Maltman - The Sidewinder (2018) (4)

Christa Faust - Choke Hold (2011) (4)

Anal analysis for my own amusement - read on if you're an insomniac ......

New to me authors in the month - Owen Mullen, Sara Gran, Christa Faust, Joel Dicker, Wallace Stroby, Jeffrey A. Cooper and James Schaffer.

I have more on the pile to read from all of them except James Schaffer - probably because Back to the World is his only offering to date.

Enjoyed before - Susan Koefod, Paul Heatley, Harlan Coben, Robert B. Parker, Simon Maltman, Tony Spinosa/Reed Farrel Coleman, Deon Meyer, James W. Hall, Nick Kolakowski and Eryk Pruitt

More on the TBR pile from Heatley, Coben, Parker, Maltman, Spinosa/Coleman, Meyer, Hall and Pruitt. 

Odd men out  - Susan Koefod - her third Arvo Thorson book is hard to find and expensive and I'm up to to speed on Nick Kolakowski's work with the exception of a collection of short stories.

17 reads from 17 different authors,

9 were series books with a couple of offerings that weren't but could be in the future depending what the author does

Gender analysis - 14 male authors, 3 female – progress on the gender bias in my reading. November is an intended all female authors reading month. Long overdue.

Of the 17 authors read, I think 12 hail from the US, 1 from Scotland, 1 from England, 1 from Switzerland, 1 from South Africa and 1 from Scotland

All 17 reads were fiction - 2 novellas, 14 novels and one familiar 30-odd page long short story from Eryk Pruitt which subsequently formed the opening part of his novel Hashtag. That one was read and enjoyed a year or two back.

15 books were from this decade, 7 from 2018, 3 from 2016, 2 from 2014, 2 from 2012 and 1 from 2011.

1 read was from the noughties, 2006 - Hose Monkey

Only 1 was last century – a Robert B. Parker Spencer book from 1998

5 books were read from the man-cave blue tub stash in my garage.

Publishers - 2 from Close to the Bone (formerly Near to the Knuckle), 1 from each of the following - Arrow, Down and Out Books, Thomas and Mercer, Hodder and Stoughton, Bloodhound Books, Bleak House, No Exit Press, Atria Books, North Star Press, Mulholland, Maclehose Quercus, Severest Inks, Solstice Publishing, Hard Case Crime and 1 self published.

10 of the 17 reads were pre-owned, though 1 had originally been sourced via Net Galley in 2014 and was never read. It’s a 600+ page monster and I struggle with long books on the Kindle, let alone uber-long. If it hadn’t also been airing as a 10-part TV adaptation I would probably still have it in the stash. (Joel Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair)

5 other books were obtained via Net Galley, an additional copy of one was provided by the author because my copy had expired, 1 came from the publisher Bloodhound Books for participation in Owen Mullen’s In Harm’s Way Blog Tour. One came from the author – cheers Simon Maltman!

Favourite cover? Sara Gran’s The Infinite Blacktop – amazeballs!

Second favourite cover – Joel Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. 

Apparently my paperback edition is based on an Edward Hopper painting Portrait of Orleans though in truth it’s somewhat diminished by the rather long book title splashed all over the front

My reads were this long 155 – 416 – 333 – 344 – 210 – 308 – 113 – 304 – 220 – 129 – 276 – 226 – 295 – 640 – 33 – 221 - 260

Total page count = 4481 (1890 in September) ....... an increase of 2591 pages

4 were Kindle reads, 1 was a 12 hour plus Audio Book (still something quite new to me) and 4 were paperbacks, 2 were hardbacks, 2 were PDF kill some tree printouts, 4 were ePub files read on my laptop 

1 < 50,
0 between 51 < 100,
3 between 101 < 200,
7 between 201 < 300,
4 between 301 < 400,
2  > 400 pages

Joel Dicker and The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair was the longest read at 640 pages

Eryk Pruitt’s Further South was the shortest at 33 pages long.


  1. I'm glad you had a good reading month, Col, even if none of the books were completely mind-blowing. It also sounds as though none of them was a complete disappointment, either, which is good.

    1. Margot, if all months were like this one I would never be disappointed. I was entertained consistently throughout.

  2. Col – You sure did have a good reading month, and after your reviews, I placed more than a few of these on my list. Thanks.

    1. Very productive and enjoyable. I hope you enjoy any of them if you take the plunge, Elgin

  3. Golly, that's an impressive number of pages read last month. Mind you, I'm not sure it's fair to count in the audiobook . . .

    1. Probably the most pages consumed in a month, with or without the audio offering in the figures.

  4. Col, "I spent time in the company of..." is a great way to write about the many books you read, not to mention the settings and the other impressive statistics. And such an interesting bunch of characters too. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks Prashant. Unsurprisingly November has been a bit more sedate - so far anyway. Once my energy levels are restored I'm hoping to have a frantic second half to the month!

  5. Some nice covers there and a LOT of reading, especially with a book that is over 600 pages. Since you enjoyed it, I may break down and read it someday. Even the title is too long.

    1. The title is apt in respect of the book, but too clunky in my opinion.