Wednesday 13 February 2019


A cracking start to a new year's reading with 18 books done and dusted in January.

I had a couple of 5 STAR reads vying for my pick of the month. Elgin Bleecker's debut Lyme Depot and Kimi Cunningham Grant's Fallen Mountains. On balance, I'd just lean towards Fallen Mountains on the basis of I'd pick it up for a re-read first out of the two.

Pick of the Month
Runner up by a gnat's cock!

Four other books, pushed the bar at 4.5 STARS - Tom Pitts and his latest - 101, Aidan Thorn and Rival Sons, Paul D. Marks with Broken Windows and The Pitbull by Paul Heatley

Nearly everything else was 4 STARS - Peter Church (Crackerjack), Stephen Solomita (Dancer in the Flames), Travis Richardson (Lost in Clover), George Pelecanos (The Man Who Came Uptown), Tess Makovesky (Gravy Train), Allen Eskens (The Shadows We Hide), Owen Mullen (Out of the Silence), Paul Thomas (Sex Crimes) and two short offerings - Steph Broadribb (The Last Resort) and Tony Black (Stone Ginger)

One 3 STAR read which I enjoyed but which I had higher hopes for - Thomas Perry's The Burglar. I've read so much better from him in the past.

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

a Californian dope farmer who crosses paths with the Russian mob and a biker gang

a mostly honest NYC detective and his crazy partner

a fighter with canine opponents and a longing for a family

a retired computer expert turned investigator looking into corporate fraud with menaces

an LA PI still working through a guilt complex

a PTSD suffering student dealing with the aftermath of a mass shooting

a nearly retired sheriff involved in a missing persons case

an ex-con in Washington, trying to go straight,

a bag of bookie's cash and a gang of reprobates trying to keep hold of it

a reporter looking into the death of his father

a Pakistani tale of arranged marriage and serious domestic abuse, cruelty and more

two brothers and a series of events in a day in the life of a small town

an expert housebreaker, a triple murder and a target on her back

a set of tales concerning sex, marital discontent and crime

two more brothers and a family feud,

a criminal getting hunted and a potential starring role in his own snuff movie

a man played by a woman

a trainee female bounty hunter cutting her teeth


San Francisco, Oakland and more of California, New York, England's North East, Cape Town SA, Los Angeles, Clover in Kansas (fictional?), rural Pennsylvania, Washingon DC, Birmingham, Minneapolis and Minnesota, Lahore and rural Pakistan, a fictional small town in the US, Los Angeles again, Sydney Australia, a small Scottish town outside Glasgow, London and the Georgia Mountains.

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

Tom Pitts - 101 (2018) (4.5)

Stephen Solomita - Dancer in the Flames (2012) (4)

Paul Heatley - The Pitbull (2015) (4.5)

Peter Church - Crackerjack (2019) (4)

Paul D. Marks - Broken Windows (2018) (4.5)

Travis Richardson - Lost in Clover (2012) (4)

Kimi Cunningham Grant - Fallen Mountains (2019) (5)

George Pelecanos - The Man Who Came Uptown (2018) (4)

Tess Makovesky - Gravy Train (2018) (4)

Allen Eskens - The Shadows We Hide (2018) (4)

Owen Mullen - Out of the Silence (2019) (4)

Elgin Bleecker - Lyme Depot (2019) (5)

Thomas Perry - The Burglar (2019) (3)

Paul Thomas - Sex Crimes (2003) (4)

Aidan Thorn - Rival Sons (2018) (4.5)

Jeff Johnson - The Animals After Midnight (2019) (4)

Tony Black - Stone Ginger (2016) (4)

Steph Broadribb - The Last Resort (2017) (4)

If you're not asleep yet - anal analysis for my own amusement - read on if you're an insomniac ......

New to me authors in the month - 7 in total - Steph Broadribb, Peter Church, Travis Richardson, Jeff Johnson, Elgin Bleecker, Tess Makovesky and Kimi Cunningham Grant

I have more on the pile to read from Broadribb, Church, Makovesky, Richardson and Johnson

Authors enjoyed before - 11 - Thomas Perry, Stephen Solomita, Allen Eskens, George Pelecanos, Paul Heatley, Tony Black, Aidan Thorn, Owen Mullen, Paul D. Marks, Tom Pitts and Paul Thomas

There's more on the TBR pile from all of them except Paul D. Marks

18 reads from 18 different authors

3 were sort of series books - Steph Broadribb's bounty hunter Lori Anderson is the main character in her three book Deep series, Jeff Johnson's Darby Holland features in Lucky Supreme and A Long Crazy Burn. Allen Eskens' main character Joe Talbert was the focus of his earlier novel The Life We Bury.

Gender analysis - 3 female authors, 15 male

Of the 18 authors read, 8 hailed from the US, 4 from England, 1 from Scotland, 1 from Canada, 1 from South Africa.
The other 3 - 1 born in Australia, but regarded as Scottish, 1 born in Germany but from the US now and 1 from England but regarded as a New Zealand author

All 18 of the reads were fiction,

All 8 of the books were published this century - 1 from 2003 and the rest this decade.
6 from 2019, 6 from 2018, 1 from 2017, 2 each from 2015 and 2012

Only 2 came from the man-cave blue tub stash in my garage.

Publishers - Down and Out Books (x2), Severn House, Catalyst Press (x2), Mulholland Books (x2), All Due Respect, Shotgun Honey, Orenda Books, Black Swan Crime, Arcade Publishing, Pusher Press, Bloodhound Books, Mysterious Press, Untreed Reads and a couple of self published books. (Probably more because I think a couple of the presses above disguise the fact they they are the authors own output, not that it makes a difference to me.)

8 of the 18 reads were pre-owned, an author and a publisher also sent me a copy of  2 of these. Cheers - Down and Out Books and Aidan Thorn.

3 came from the author directly - cheers to Elgin Bleecker, Tom Pitts and Owen Mullen.

3 were accessed at Edelweiss - Above the Treeline early reviewer site, 1 of which also I got at Net Galley. 3 others came from Net Galley and one I received from the publisher - Down and Out Books

Favourite cover?  Allen Eskens - The Shadows We Hide

Second favourite cover - Tess Makovesky's Gravy Train

My reads were this long 168 - 244 - 83 - 414 - 360 - 198 - 196 - 202 - 252 - 306 - 292 - 194 - 302 - 288 - 152 - 227 - 16 - 55

Total page count =  3949 (1247 in December) ....... an increase of 2702 pages

5 were Kindle reads, 7 were ePub files read on the laptop,  3 were paperbacks, 2 were PDFs also read on the laptop and 1 was a hardback edition

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

Peter Church and Crackerjack was the longest read at 414 pages

Tony Black and Stone Ginger was the shortest at 16 pages long.


  1. Nice you had so many solid reads this month, Col. And, as I recall, there are a few here that I've put on my own 'interest list' Always nice when a month doesn't have a lot of disappointing reads in it.

    1. Margot, much more to enjoy than to complain about. Even the least enjoyed book didn't suck totally!

  2. Quite a haul! And lucky you that so many were goodies.

    1. Cheers - a great month overall. A tad slower February so far, but we're only halfway!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks for several new titles and reminders of a few waiting tbr.. and there’s still a couple weeks in left in February!!

  4. Wow, 18 books. I will be looking for Fallen Mountains when it comes out. A nice short book.

    1. 18 is great, but a couple weren't very long at all. I think Fallen Mountains might be where our tastes collide.

  5. 18 books and every one of them reviewed. Commendable, Col!

    1. Cheers Prashant - things have slowed a bit in February, but heh still reading on!

  6. Fallen Mountains took my fancy, but seems ridiculously expensive! And Allan Eskens when I've read the first one.
    A good month's reading, and as ever I enjoyed the statistical overview.

    1. Thanks. Yes it is a bit pricey. Maybe it will come down eventually. Keep it on your wish list!