Wednesday, 7 January 2015


A great month of reading to end the year and after failing on all of my other reading challenges, I managed to read 18 books, novellas and short stories etc to hit my year end target of 120 reads.

 Do I care if I manipulated the length of the pieces read to get to the not really.

I got a bit jaded during the middle of the month and took myself away from  blogging for a fortnight, so for half of these books I haven't yet jotted down any thoughts. The OCD monster inside dictates that I address this, so I think I'll still be blogging on December reads when February come around.

Two 5 star reads among the 18 - Antonin Varenne's Loser's Corner and Lawrence Block's Borderline. I can't choose between them, so they both get one hand on the December pick of the month trophy.

Loser's Corner - Varenne's dark account of France's messy and brutal entanglement in Algeria in the late 50's, something that still haunts to this day.

Borderline - a 50 year-old Lawrence Block pulp-cum-soft porn tale from the master.

All the others were enjoyed and time well spent.

Honourable mentions for Brian Garfield - entertains me every time, Paul D Brazill - shocks and laughs in the same sentence, Christina James - Sausage Hall - one of my titles of the year, but much more than that - an enjoyable and thought provoking mystery, Danny King and John Nelson - for barrels of laughs and some light relief.

Of the 18, 9 authors were new to me, and shockingly but probably not too much of a surprise for me only 1.5 were penned by women authors. I'll see what my stat is for the year at some point, but I don't think I have addressed the gender imbalance in my reading really this year.

Tom Kakonis (aka Adam Barrow) - Flawless (4)

Paul D. Brazill - 13 Shots of Noir (4)

Lawrence Block - One Thousand Dollars a Word (4)

Max Austin  - Duke City Split (4)

Christina James - Sausage Hall (4)

Charles Allen Gramlich - Killing Trail (4)

J.W.Nelson - LA Limo Tales (4)

Danny King - A 4-King Cracker (4)

Lee Thompson - When We Join Jesus in Hell (4)

Lawrence Block - Like a Bone in the Throat (4)

Janet Evanovich/Lee Goldberg - The Heist (4)

Lawrence Block - Borderline (5)

Earl Javorsky - Down Solo (4)

Brian Garfield - What of Terry Conniston? (4)

Nigel Bird - Smoke (4)

Antonin Varenne - Loser's Corner (5)

Mark Sennen - The Boat House (4)

Scott McKenzie - A Gitmo Nation Christmas Carol (3)

Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise hosts a meme, collating together other crime fiction bloggers monthly book choices. Well worth heading over there to add recommendations to your TBR pile!


  1. Both go right to my wish list Col, Antonin Varenne's Loser's Corner and Lawrence Block's Borderline

    1. Jose, I hope you enjoy them as and when you get around to reading. I'll keep an eye out for your reviews.

  2. Col - You did have a good year. And thanks for the reminder about Borderline. I like Block's Matthew Scudder novels, but this is Block novel I've not (yet) read.

    1. Margot thank you. I think some of LB's work is quite diverse in nature, maybe more so when he was starting out. It's quite unlike any Scudder book I have read and may not appeal to everyone. I think Tracy has been put off by the amount of "sex" - I'd love to see what you and others think though.

  3. Col, you've had a cracker of a reading month in December. That's a fine cross-section of authors and books.

    1. Cheers Prashant. I do feel as if I ended the year on a high.

  4. Sausage Hall is a great title! Will await your thoughts on 13 Shots of Noir as I like a good short story collection so might give it a try.
    Happy New Year!

    1. Sausage Hall - agreed - great title, great book. 13 Shots is recommended as long as you aren't too sensitive a soul......

      I hope your 2015 is happy and prosperous as well, Stephanie. Cheers!

  5. Well done for making your target - and it is in the spirit of noir books to not be too fussed about how you made it. There are no rules!

    1. Thanks, I could have pushed myself and gone one above, but held back!

  6. Interesting list and I will keep your top picks in mind. I do hope you do a post on all of the ones not reviewed so far. I am still far behind on reviews and other posts I want to do from 2014.

    1. Thanks, I do intend to post about everything, it's just going to take a while to get there. Should be done with December by the last week of January. Then I'll spend most of February catching up on this month!