Friday 29 November 2019


Not as many books enjoyed in October as in the previous month, but I did hit double figures which is my usual reading target. That said 5 of the 12 were all Lawrence Block audio books which were listened to on the commute to and from work, with probably a few snatched minutes elsewhere. Written word reading was only 7 then.

Another month with no absolute banger of a FIVE STAR READ, but there were four books which came very close..... book of the month by virtue of the fact it's the one I would pick first if forced to choose for a re-read - Robert Bailey and his first legal thriller - The Professor

4.5 STAR READS - x 4 - Robert Bailey - The Professor, John Vercher - Three-Fifths, Dietrich Kalteis - Call Down the Thunder and John Farrow - Ball Park

4 STAR READ - x 2 - Lawrence Block - Four Lives at the Crossroads, T.S. Hunter - Crazy For You

3.5 STAR READ - x 2 - Edwin Hill's The Missing Ones and Lawrence Block's Thirty

3  STAR READS - x 3 - all early Lawrence Block - Jill Emerson books

2.5 STAR READ - x 1 - Ed McBain's disappointing Goldilocks

I spent time in the company of .....

a law professor dusting off his courtroom skills

a man conflicted over his racial identity and caught up in a hate crime

a women letting her hair down as she approached a milestone

a young woman exploring her sexual identity

missing children and an amateur sleuth on the case

a poverty stricken Kansas farmer with a plan

four strangers crossing paths and an armoured car heist

a Floridian lawyer and his client accused of murder

another young woman exploring her sexual identity

two friends investigating a London murder

a thief and a cop vs the mob

and another young woman discovering her true self

Huntsville, Alabama; North Oakland, Pittsburgh; 60s New York; 60s New York (again); Finisterre Island, Maine; near Hoxie, Kansas in the 30s; Cedars Corner, Indiana in the 60s; Calusa, Florida 70s; 60s New York; Soho, London in the 80s; Montreal, Canada in the 70s; 50s New York 

The full list of 12 reads with links to my reviews below......

Robert Bailey - The Professor (2014) (4.5)

Lawrence Block (as Jill Emerson) - Thirty (1970) (3.5)

John Vercher - Three-Fifths (2019) (4.5)

Lawrence Block (as Jill Emerson) - Enough of Sorrow (1965) (3)

Edwin Hill - The Missing Ones (2019) (3.5)

Dietrich Kalteis - Call Down the Thunder (2019) (4.5)

Lawrence Block - Four Lives at the Crossroads (1962) (4)

Ed McBain - Goldilocks (1977) (2.5)

Lawrence Block (as Jill Emerson) - Warm and Willing (1965) (3)

T.S. Hunter - Crazy For You (2019) (4)

John Farrow - Ball Park (2019) (4.5)

Lawrence Block (as Jill Emerson) - Shadows (1959) (3)

More information than you'll ever need to know ......

New to me authors in the month - 4 - Robert Bailey, John Vercher, Edwin Hill and John Farrow

There's more on the TBR pile from Edwin Hill, John Farrow and Robert Bailey

Authors enjoyed before - 4 - Dietrich Kalteis, Ed McBain, T.S. Hunter and Lawrence Block

There's more on the TBR pile from all of them.

12 reads from 8 different authors - Lawrence Block was good company driving to and from work - 5 of his were enjoyed.

5 were series books .....

Ed McBain's Goldilocks is the first in his Matthew Hope series

John Farrow's Ball Park is the seventh in his Emile Cinq-Mars series

Edwin Hill's The Missing Ones is the second in his Hester Thursby series

Robert Bailey's The Professor is the first in his McMurtie and Drake series

It was my first time with all these protagonists, but probably not my last.

T.S. Hunter's Crazy For You is the fourth in the author Soho Noir series set in the 80s. I've enjoyed two of the earlier ones thus far - Tainted Love and Careless Whisper

Gender analysis -  0 female authors, 8 male.

No further comment really necessary (copies and pastes last month's comments re gender)

Another poor attempt at diversity in my reading! Deja-vous.
It looks like I'll have to sort out another all-female reading month later in the year to address the imbalance. Blah, blah, blah...unlikely as we are running out of year

4 of the 5 Lawrence Block books were originally published under a female pseudonym - Jill Emerson. I don't suppose that counts?

Of the 8 different authors read, 5 hail from the USA, 2 hail from Canada, 1 from Great Britain. He claims to be half-Welsh, I'm not sure about the other half

All 12 of the reads were fiction,

6 of the 12 books read were published this century - all 6 from this decade

5 from 2019, 1 from 2014

Of the 6 older books, 1 was from the 50s - 1959
 3 from the 60s - 1 from 1962, 2 from 1965

2 were from the 70s - 1970 an 1977 

1 came from the man-cave blue tub stash in my garage - Ed McBain's Goldilocks

Publishers -  Lawrence Block Production or Associates (x5), Exhibit-A,  Agora Books (an imprint of Polis), ECW Press, Corgi Books, Red Dog Press, Severn House and Dafina Books

1 of the 19 reads was pre-owned,

4 other books were Net Galley reads - thanks to Dafina Books, Severn House, Exhibit-A and Agora Books (Polis)

1 was received directly from the publisher - cheers to Red Dog Press

6 came from the authors - thanks to Dietrich Kalteis and Lawrence Block - his assistant actually in the form of an Audible download code - cheers to team Lawrence Block i.e. David

Favourite cover? Dietrich Kalteis - Call Down the Thunder

Second favourite coverBall Park - John Farrow

My reads were this long 416 - 176 - 210 (or 5hrs 11mins) - 192 (4hrs 26mins) - 261 - 325 - 210 (5hrs 3mins) - 210 - 198 (4hrs 47mins) - 132 - 267 - 198 (4hrs 23mins)

Total page count =  2795 (4610 in September) ....... a decrease of 1815 pages

2795 or  1787 written pages and 23 hrs 50 ear-hole mins

1 was a Kindle read, 3 were ePub files read on the laptop,  5 were Audible listening books, 2 were paperbacks, 1 was a PDF read on the laptop

0 < 50,
0 between 51 < 100,
5 between 101 < 200,
5 between 201 < 300,
1 between 301 < 400,
1 between 401 < 500
0 over 500 pages

Robert Bailey's The Professor was the longest read at 416 pages

T.S. Hunter's Crazy For You was the shortest at 132 pages long.


  1. Glad to see you didn't have any absolute disaster reads, Col. I was especially interested in the time you spent with Lawrence Block's alter ego.I give him credit for branching out as he has, even if some of his stuff isn't as appealing to you as other things.

    1. I don't think I've ever read something from Block that didn't have some great moments Margot. It was a solid month's reading overall.

  2. So I went back to your review of The Professor, which I missed, and discovered that it is set in my home state, Alabama. Very glad I did not miss this post.

    1. Thanks Tracy. I hope you enjoy The Professor if you try it.

  3. The Kalteis book is on my list. Thanks for the heads up on some new-to-me writers.

    1. I've yet to read a bad book by him, Elgin.