Wednesday 2 January 2019


My reading was bumping along nicely, until I broke up for the work year on the 21st and since then it kind of disappeared over a cliff. One book completed since about the 16th December, and only eight in the month. Never mind - at least I hit my yearly target of 120.

Pick of the month

Eight reads in the month and no 5 STAR read again, but a couple nudging the bar - Tom Vater's The Monsoon Ghost Image and Finn Bell's The Easter Make Believers. By a hair - I'll go for Bell's offering as my pick of the month.

Four 4 STAR reads - K.A. Laity's White Rabbit, Daniel Pembrey's Initiation: Amsterdam,'83, Eric Beetner's Rumrunners and Adam Maxwell's Kill it Fire.

1 x 3.5 STAR rating for Breaking Spirits, a short story from Glenn McGoldrick

and 1 x 3 STAR read from Ariana D. Den Bleyker for Red Hands, a slightly ambiguous and puzzling psychological thriller which kind of left me with some questions as opposed to some clarity - which in truth was the author's aim.

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

a delusional, mentally ill cop-cum-killer,

an ex-cop turned psychic in communication with the spirit world,

a pair of private detectives, hunting a dead man and caught up in the dark side of US post-9/11 overseas rendition and torture,

a young, enthusiastic Dutch policeman with ambitions to catch a kidnapper,

an angry grieving son looking for payback,

a family of outlaw drivers, smuggling booty, no questions asked,

a criminal collective looking for payback,

and a pair of cops on the hunt for a fugitive with a hostage in the wilds of deep south New Zealand.


US somewhere, spooky London, Germany and Thailand, Amsterdam, England's North East, somewhere else in America, the fictional English town of Kilchester, and remote parts of New Zealand

The full list of eight reads with links to my thoughts on them below.....

Ariana D. Den Bleyker - Red Hands (2016) (3)

K.A.Laity - White Rabbit (2014) (4)

Tom Vater - The Monsoon Ghost Image (2018) (4.5)

Daniel Pembrey - Initiation: Amsterdam,'83 (2018) (4)

Glenn McGoldrick - Breaking Spirits (2017) (3.5)

Eric Beetner - Rumrunners (2015) (4)

Adam Maxwell - Kill it with Fire (2018) (4)

Finn Bell - The Easter Make Believers (2018) (4.5)

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

New to me authors in the month - 2 in total - Tom Vater and Finn Bell

I have more on the pile to read from both

Authors enjoyed before - Ariana D. Den Bleyker, Adam Maxwell, K.A. Laity, Daniel Pembrey, Glenn McGoldrick and Eric Beetner

More on the TBR pile from all of them except Den Bleyker

8 reads from 8 different authors

3 were sort of series books - Tom Vater's Detective Maier has two earlier cases, Eric Beetner's McGraw family or at least one of them feature in a prequel Leadfoot, Adam Maxwell's criminals feature in an earlier Kilchester caper - The Dali Deception.

K.A. Laity's White Rabbit characters  has scope to become one if the author picks up with the same characters in future

Gender analysis - 2 female authors, 6 male

Of the 8 authors read, 1 hailed from New Zealand, 3 are English, 3 are American and 1 was German - I think

All 8 of the reads were fiction,

All 8 of the books were published this decade - 4 from 2018, 1 each from 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014

No older books and none from the man-cave blue tub stash in my garage.

Publishers - 1 each from Dark Passages Publishing (subsequently reprinted by Fahrenheit Press), Crime Wave Press, 280 Steps (now reprinted by Down and Out Books), The Lost Book Emporium, Fox Spirit Books, and Finn Bell Books,

4 titles were self-published - 2 of the above being self-produced

3 of the 8 reads were pre-owned,

1 came from the publisher - cheers to Henry at Crime Wave Press,

3 came from the author directly - cheers to Adam Maxwell, Finn Bell and Daniel Pembrey

1 was an Edelweiss early reviewer ARC received a few years back, so long ago I was unable to leave feedback for it.

Favourite cover? Eric Beetner's Rumrunners

Second favourite cover - Red Hands by Ariana D. Den Bleyker

Funny enough both of my top covers, the books have been republished since by new publishes and have new covers. I still prefer the old one in both cases.

My reads were this long 87 - 182 - 217 - 106 - 13 - 282 - 144 - 216

Total page count =  1247 (2667 in November) ....... a decrease of 1420 pages

6 were Kindle reads, and 1 was a paperback, 1 was a PDF kill some trees printout,

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

Eric Beetner's Rumrunners was the longest read at 282 pages

Glenn McGoldrick's Breaking Spirits was the shortest at 13 pages long.


  1. The Easter Make-Believers is a good read, Col. I'm not surprised it topped your list. Finn Bell writes with a real sense of place and culture, and that adds much to his work. It's good to hear you had a solid reading month, with no real disappointments.

    1. Agreed, Margot. I'm hoping to get more from Finn Bell read in the next few months. I think my major disappointment in the month was my reading mojo disappearing after 50 weeks of 2018, rather than staying for the whole of the year. It'll return soon though!

  2. Eight books would be a good month for me, Col, although this year my counts were often higher. Anyway, looks like a good month of reading.

    1. Tracy, I would like to try and go a year hitting ten each month. That may be more possible in 2019, because we won't have a house move to contend with.