Monday 27 August 2018


Another dirty half dozen into the collection.......

Suzanne Berne - A Crime in the Neighbourhood (1997) - second hand purchase

I was looking up something else when I happened upon this one. A little bit intriguing....

When the murdered body of a local boy is found in the woods, suspicions transform young Marsha's once-secure neighbourhood. Marsha begins to watch her neighbours and when Mr Green, the shy bachelor from next-door, takes an interest in her mother, Marsha is drawn into a cruel chain of events.

Paul Heatley - Violent by Design (2018) - review copy received!

The third in a loose trilogy from Heatley, I have the first, An Eye For An Eye and will end up buying the second coz that's how I roll.....

After a raid on one of Neil Doyle's drug houses, his new right hand man Jimmy Finlay is determined to keep the news quiet from Neil and to deal with things himself. The person responsible, however, is not someone that can be dealt with quickly. He's a dangerous man with a bad reputation. Things are primed to get bloody in Newcastle, and that's the last thing Neil needs as he works on the unveiling of his brand new nightclub.

f Jimmy can't get things under control, Neil's going to have to turn to one of his firm's old hands, Graeme Taylor. Trouble is, no one has seen or heard from Graeme in close to a year, save for his surrogate son Tracksuit Tony Gordon, and he's not in any rush to give him away.

But there's only one way things can with men this violent by design.

Martin Stanley - Fighting Talk (2018) - purchased copy

The latest Stanton Brothers episode from Martin Stanley - that must make six or seven in total. My kind of book, my kind of mayhem. Get Santa and The Curious Case of the Missing Moolah have been enjoyed before.

All for a good cause - so please buy one!

Eric Stanton is used to getting the dirty end of the stick. So, he’s not entirely convinced when his loan-shark boss tells him he's got an easy job for him to do. His boss assures him it’s the kind of task that requires “somebody with a light touch”. All Eric needs to do is visit his boss’ favourite client and ask why she’s fallen behind with her payments.

Easy, right?


All it takes is one visit to send the Stanton brothers on a crazy journey through derelict buildings filled with junkies and drug dealers, rough pubs, and abandoned farms, as they attempt to right some wrongs and bring down a dog-fighting syndicate. It all starts with a bit of fighting talk, but it’s going to end with blood and broken bones.

Fighting Talk combines fast-paced storytelling with snappy banter, wild and brutal action, and some very nasty villains to create a funny, ferocious crime thriller that will keep you glued to the page.

From the author of The Glasgow Grin and The Curious Case of The Missing Moolah, comes the brand-new thriller, Fighting Talk – featuring the Stanton brothers in their grittiest adventure yet.

It would be a crime to miss it.



Michael Redhill - Bellevue Square (2017) - purchased copy

An email from publisher No Exit Press hit a nerve. Liked it, bought it.

Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist

A darkly comic literary thriller about a woman who fears for her sanity - and then her life - when she learns that her doppelganger has appeared in a local park.

Jean Mason has a doppelganger. She's never seen her, but others swear they have. Apparently, her identical twin hangs out in Kensington Market, where she sometimes buys churros and drags an empty shopping cart down the streets, like she's looking for something to put in it. Jean's a grown woman with a husband and two kids as well as a thriving bookstore in downtown Toronto, and she doesn't rattle easily - not like she used to. But after two customers insist they've seen her double, Jean decides to investigate.

She begins at the crossroads of Kensington Market: a city park called Bellevue Square. Although she sees no one who looks like her, it only takes a few visits to the park for her to become obsessed with the possibility of encountering her twin in the flesh. With the aid of a small army of locals who hang around in the park, she expands her surveillance, making it known she'll pay for information or sightings. A peculiar collection of drug addicts, scam artists, philanthropists, philosophers, and vagrants - the regulars of Bellevue Square - are eager to contribute to Jean's investigation. But when some of them start disappearing, she fears her alleged double has a sinister agenda. Unless Jean stops her, she and everyone she cares about will face a fate much stranger than death.

Michael J. Clark - Clean Sweep (2018) - review copy received

From the same Canadian publisher as blog favourite Dietrich Kalteis, ECW Press. Published in March, my cheeky request for a copy struck gold....

A reformed smuggler finds himself embroiled in a mind-bending criminal conspiracy in this page-turning debut

Pastor Tommy Bosco runs a Winnipeg skid row mission that caters to ex-criminals and ex-addicts trying to make a better life. Sometimes that better life means leaving the city — and the good and bad guys — completely behind. A former smuggler, Bosco can make anyone disappear, faking deaths and extracting people across the Canada-U.S. border. But then his ex shows up, fresh from the murder of a biker-gang boss. She’s got plenty of baggage, including the biker’s cryptic ledger that everyone in Winnipeg’s underworld wants to get their hands on. Bosco finds himself a fugitive at the center of a conspiracy that has him staying far away from the cops, the hired hitmen, and even his dear old dad. Navigating through a harsh Prairie winter, Bosco must help his ex escape without having to make an escape himself.

Gabriel Tallent - My Absolute Darling (2017) - purchased copy

Supermarket browsing and an impulse buy. After reading the blurb, I'm surprised I haven't seen any fuss online about this one.

"The word 'masterpiece' has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one." - Stephen King

A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl's heart-stopping fight for her own soul.

Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father.

Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption. With Turtle's escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl struggles to become her own hero - and in the process, becomes ours as well.

Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.


  1. You've got some interesting reads here, Col. The Berne and the Redhill especially have my attention. I'm not sure (could be quite wrong), but I wonder if that's the same Michael Redhill who writes the Hazel Micallef series under the name of Inge Ash Wolfe...

    1. Thanks Margot. I just checked and Redhill is also published as Inge Ash Wolfe. This is the first one of his I've come across. I might just look up his other ones purely in the interests of research!

  2. Those all look pretty good, with the Tallent the one that really appeals to me. I may have to look out for that. The Clark looks fun too.

    1. Cheers, I do like all 6 - no sudden regrets or change of mind here!

  3. All of these sound interesting, although I am sure a couple of them are a bit on the violent side.

    1. Probably the Heatley and the Stanley might give you a few chills. I reckon you could enjoy the others though.

  4. Nice collection. I've seen the Absolute Darling one around, but didn't fancy it. When we lived in Seattle, there was a massive upmarket shopping mall quite close, called Bellevue Square, so I was hoping the book would be set there! But Kensington is OK too..

    1. Oh and I have read Crime in the Neighbourhood, long time ago. It was good...

    2. Kensington, Toronto as opposed to South London. I was hoping he was a Canadian author for another one of my never to complete challenges, but apparently he's from the US.

    3. The Berne book was one I'd never heard of, but it did catch my eye when looking for something else. Funny thing is I can't remember what the something else was now.

  5. Col – I’ve read some Heatley and will read more. Redhill’s doppelganger story intrigues me, too.

    1. I like Heatley's stuff and Redhill is new-to-me also but sounds great.

  6. Colman! Tell us more about that gold strike in Clean Sweep. Klondike? California 1849?