Wednesday 20 March 2019


A decent month's reading in February - 14 books, mostly enjoyed -  two less so - with one okay, the other a bit like swimming through treacle - but hey they can't all be winners.

No stand-out 5 STAR READ as such, but 5 pushing the boundaries at 4.5 STARS - Alan Parks and February's Son, Matt Bird's short story collection - Histories of the Dead and other stories, Sydney Noir - an impressive entry, in the continuing Akashic Noir series edited by John Dale, Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder novella - A Time to Scatter Stones and Trevor Mark Thomas's impressive debut The Bothy 

Pick of the month!

BOOK OF THE MONTH  - THE BOTHY by TREVOR MARK THOMAS - on the basis that it's what I would select first for a re-read.

4 STAR READS - six in total - Deon Meyer - The Woman in the Blue Cloak, David Putnam - The Reckless, James Ross - They Don't Dance Much, Sam Wiebe - Hollywood North and two from David Beckler - Forgred in Flames and The Money Trap  

3.5 STAR READ - 1 of - Ersatz World by Richard Godwin

3 STAR READ - 1 of - Joel Mowdy - Floyd Harbour Stories

2 STAR READ - 1 of - John Mulligan and Shopping Cart soldiers

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

a couple of Cape Town cops investigating a murder because of a newly discovered Dutch masterpiece

the inhabitants of a fictitious Long Island community

a homeless PTSD Vietnam vet in San Francisco with flashbacks to his combat past

a Glaswegian detective in the 70s investigating the killing of a Celtic player and more

an LA cop and the FBI chasing some juvie bank robbers

a paranoid publisher with an unwell wife and a busty assistant

the luckless and the criminal in a small Welsh town

a Manchester fireman and a woman in jeopardy

a down on his luck cashier and an accessory to murder

a variety of Sydney inhabitants involved in ..... criminality, drugs, sex - gay, vanilla and underage, pornography, pregnancy, childbirth, blackmail, murder, ambition, prison, family loyalty, family betrayal, plenty of revenge and payback

an ex-army man turned security specialist battling financial ruin

a Vancouver PI investigating a death

an older Matt Scudder helping a friend

and a grief-stricken boyfriend, on the run seeking sanctuary in the wrong place

Settings...... Cape Town - South Africa; Long Island - New York; Scotland, Vietnam and San Francisco; Glasgow - Scotland; LA - California; London; Wales; Manchester; North Carolina; Sydney - Australia, London again; Vancouver - Canada; New York and the wilds of the Yorkshire moors.

The full list of 14 are as follows.....

Deon Meyer - The Woman in the Blue Cloak (2018) (4)

Joel Mowdy - Floyd Harbor Stories (2019) (3)

John Sullivan - Shopping Cart Soldiers (1998) (2)

Alan Parks - February's Son (2019) (4.5)

David Putnam - The Reckless (2019) (4)

Richard Godwin - Ersatz World (2016) (3.5)

Math Bird - Histories of the Dead and other stories (2016) (4.5)

David Beckler - Forged in Flames (2018) (4)

James Ross - They Don't Dance Much (1940) (4)

John Dale (ed.) - Sydney Noir (Akashic Noir Series) (2019) (4.5)

David Beckler - The Money Trap (2019) (4)

Sam Wiebe - Hollywood North (2018) (4)

Lawrence Block - A Time to Scatter Stones (2019) (4.5)

Trevor Mark Thomas - The Bothy (2019) (4.5)

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 -  6, maybe 7 in total - Joel Mowdy, John Mulligan, Richard Godwin, Math Bird, David Beckler, Trevor Mark Thomas and perhaps James Ross. I think I might have read They Don't Dance Much before, but blowed if I could remember anything about it on a second outing, so maybe false memory.

I have more on the pile to read from Beckler, Bird and Godwin

Authors enjoyed before - 5 - Deon Meyer, Sam Wiebe, Alan Parks, David Putnam, Lawrence Block, 

There's more on the TBR pile from Deon Meyer, Lawrence Block and David Putnam

13 reads from 12 different authors. David Beckler was read twice.

One book was an anthology of short stories from a selection of Australian writers, some new to me, some familiar

7 were sort of series books - David Beckler's two novellas featured Mason and Sterling - a double act that feature in his novel Brotherhood; Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder is one of the author's most popular creations featuring in about 17 or 18 novels and more, Sam Wiebe's Dave Wakeland PI character has appeared in a couple of novels, Benny Griessel from Deon Meyer is a recurring character in his books, Alan Parks has written two so far in his Detective Harry McCoy series and David Putnam's Bruno Johnson has featured in six books to date

Gender analysis - 0 female authors, 12 male plus 1 mixed gender anthology.
Another poor attempt at diversity in my reading.

Of the 12 authors read, 4 hailed from the US, 2 from England, 2 from Scotland, 1 from Canada, 1 from South Africa, 1 from Wales, 1 originally from Ethiopia brought up in England. The Sydney crime anthology featured mostly if not all Australian authors.

All 18 of the reads were fiction,

12 of the books were published this century and all this decade.
7 from 2019, 3 from 2018, 2 from 2016

1 book was from 1940, 1 book from 1998

Only 1 came from the man-cave blue tub stash in my garage.

Publishers - First Grove, Atlantic - Catapult - Scribner - Canongate - Oceanview - Number 13 Press (now F13) - All Due Respect Books - Long Stop Books (x2) - Salt Publishing - Harrar  - Akashic - Quercus and LB Productions. (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.)

3 of the 14 reads were pre-owned,

5 came from the author directly - cheers to David Putnam, David Beckler (twice) Sam Wiebe and Lawrence Block

3 were accessed at Edelweiss - Above the Treeline early reviewer site,

3 were received from the publisher - thanks to Canongate, Salt Publishing and Number 13 Press

Favourite cover? Alan Park - February's Son

 Second favourite cover - James Ross - They Don't Dance Much

My reads were this long 160 - 252 - 256 - 368 - 324 - 127 - 138 - 91 - 304 - 250 - 138 - 38 - 93 - 256

Total page count = 2795 (3949 in January) ....... an decrease of  1154 pages

1 was a  Kindle reads, 7 were ePub files read on the laptop,  6 were paperbacks,

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

Alan Parks with February's Son was the longest read at 368 pages

Sam Wiebe and Hollywood North was the shortest at 38 pages long.


  1. I'm glad you had some fine reads, Col, even if some weren't exactly standouts. And you do have a nice mix of new-to-you authors and those whose work you've read before. Reminds me, too, I want to read some Alan Parks. I appreciate the nudge.

    1. Cheers Margot - so good, some very good, a couple so-so. I hope you enjoy Alan Parks when you do catch up with his work.

  2. A good haul. I love the Ross cover. I may be reading the Meyer pretty soon -- it's on the "imminent" pile.

    1. I'm tempted to keep hold of the Ross book mainly because of the cover. I'll be interested to see what you make of Deon Meyer - fingers are crossed, breath is baited etc etc

  3. Good list as ever, and I always like the statistics.

    1. Thanks, I could be more productive with my time - gardening, decorating, but no.

  4. I'm more than curious about David Beckler's novels. Another fine reading list, Col.

    1. I think you might like them, Prashant. They aren't too long which might suit your busy schedule.

  5. I’ve only read works by two of the authors on your list, Col. I have a lot of catching up to do.

    1. Good luck with that, Elgin. I'm kind of resigned to never getting caught up on all I want to read.