Saturday, 13 June 2015


Pick of the Month for May!

19 reads in the month, which is possibly a wee bit skewed or inflated by separating Nunslinger into 12 episodes of which 9 count towards my final figures for May, as opposed to a count of 1 for finishing the complete house brick. Anyway, my blog, my rules – so 19 it is.

It was a wee bit harder blogging about the thing than reading it, so thanks for sticking with me through the seemingly never-ending Nun posts. (I would recommend it to people to read though.)

Of the rest there were more than a couple 5 stars reads – Fredric Brown’s The Screaming Mimi from 1949; Anonymous-9’s Bite Harder – the continuing saga of our paraplegic Dean and his side-kick killer helper monkey, Sid.

Carolyn’s Weston’s Screaming Susannah was another top notch read from the 70s. Her previous book was the inspiration for the TV series that followed – The Streets of San Francisco with a young Michael Douglas. This one features the same pair of detectives – one old, cynical and jaded, the other young, relatively inexperienced and a wee bit idealistic – a fascinating pairing.

Gary Phillip’s short story compilation where his Hollis PI character was loaned out to other writers to play around with was another top-quality read.

Non-fiction wise I really enjoyed Jack Clark’s Chicago Reader columns served up in Hack Writing & Other Stories. It made me feel nostalgic for a city I’ve never ever visited.

My top 5 Star read and pick of the month was the fantastic tale served up by Preston Lang with The Blind Rooster. Small town setting and up pitches our con man to poke a stick at an intriguing bunch of dysfunctional inhabitants – sexual blackmail and karaoke!  

Of the others – Matt Phillips and Redbone rocked.

Delano Ames and his 1950 book – Corpse Diplomatique was okay, but not amazing.

Two shorty shorts – DeWildt’s The Louisville Problem and K. A. Laity’s Hocus Pocus passed some spare reading time in a pleasant manner and added a couple to the totals. 

K.A. Laity - Hard-Boiled Witch: Hocus Pocus You're Dead (2014) (4)

Gary Phillips - Hollis P.I. (2014) (5)

Delano Ames - Corpse Diplomatique (1950) (3)

Stark Holborn - Nunslinger 4: The Habits of Strangers (2014) (4)

Stark Holborn - Nunslinger 5: Litany for the Brave (2014) (4)

Carolyn Weston - Susannah Screaming (1975) (5)

Fredric Brown - The Screaming Mimi (1949)

Stark Holborn - Nunslinger 6: The Judgement of Abraham (2014) (4)

Preston Lang - The Blind Rooster (2014) (5)

Stark Holborn - Nunslinger 7: Westward Orders (2014) (4)

Stark Holborn - Nunslinger 8: The Brother of Bone Orchard (2014) (4)

Stark Holborn - Nunslinger 9: Homily for the Damned (2014) (4)

Anonymous 9 - Bite Harder (2014) (5)

Stark Holborn - Nunslinger 10: Gospel Sharp (2014) (4)

Jack Clark - Hack Writing & Other Stories (2012) (5)

Stark Holborn - Nunslinger 11: Ninth-Hour at Noon (2014) (4)

Stark Holborn - Nunslinger 12: West of Absolution (2014) (4)

C.S DeWildt - The Louisville Problem (2013) (4)

Stark Holborn - Nunslinger (2014) (4)

Matt Phillips - Redbone (2015)  (4)

So with a bit of data – 19 reads from 11 different authors.

7 of the 11 were new-to-me authors. Gary Phillips, Anonymous-9, K. A. Laity and Stark Holborn were the previously enjoyed ones.

6 of the 11 here were 5 star reads and 12 of the other 13 were 4's – with only one 3 star.

6 of the 11 authors above were male. 3 were female.  Stark Holborn is undeclared. Gary Phillips’ compilation including pieces by both sexes.
Cover of the month! The Blind Rooster.

10 of the 11 authors hail from the US. The other is Canadian by birth, but now resides and writes in the US – there’s a bit of a pattern developing here. Well actually it’s a long established reading trait of mine.

One book from the 40's, one from the 50’s, one from the 70’s – the rest from this decade.

2 books were from Net Galley (or 10 were, counting Nunslinger as 9). Nunslinger expired and I borrowed it from the library on long loan. I’m happy to have returned it now as I must have renewed it about 6 times!

2 books were sent to me by the authors – cheers – 1 of which I subsequently bought. 
3 came from the publishers – thank you. 
1 was a free download from Munsey’s. 
3 were pre-owned.

11 were paperbacks, 7 were Kindle reads and 1 accessed on line was a PDF file.

Here's hoping June is half as good!


  1. Very glad you had a good reading month, Col. I wouldn't have said so at the start of the month, but the Nunslinger stories got me interested. I may actually have to pick that one up. Good to hear you had so many 4- and 5-star reads :-)

    1. Margot thanks. Hope you get to squeeze some Sister Josephine into your own reading!

  2. Impressive, Col. I'm glad you broke up Nunslinger and added them to your final tally. Fifty pages and more of each story classifies as a standalone read even if they are part of one book.

    1. Prashant cheers. I'm glad you see things from my POV re Nunslinger! :)

  3. Hmf. I'm surprised you didn't count each of the stories in the Phillips individually into your total . . .


    1. Oooh......that's the air escaping me from that low blow John. You've given me an idea now for future months!

  4. An excellent month's reading,and you added a couple to my list, damn you - nuns and mimis. And the image of the carer monkey won't go away...

    1. Glad to extend the list, even if only by a couple!

  5. Heck, I'm impressed at your reading output, Col. I can't even keep up with you. My reading these days isn't the best. I started a Reginald Hill book but found it too busy and confusing so I set it aside. I feel I must start at the beginning for that series. I'm not committed to anything yet but have started Chester Himes...

  6. Keishon cheers, I've slowed down a bit this month, or at least haven't found anything yet that allows me to inflate the numbers! I haven't tried Hill yet, but soon I hope. Hope Himes does the job for you!

    1. It didn't. I'm still looking alas.

    2. Aaaaargh - I feel your pain, back to the TV viewing, maybe....

  7. I know I read this post, I thought I had commented. Oh well. Anyway I am here now. I am getting to Susannah Screaming soon. Maybe tonight. I went and got it from NetGalley shortly after you reviewed it.

    1. Tracy, hopefully you like it, I think it is the second of a three book series. I'm not sure if the other one is up there or not. There's something about 70s crime fiction that I like, maybe the pre-tech, pre-PC world.