Thursday 28 March 2019


An addition after a bit of charity shop browsing, the odd Amazon Kindle purchase, a Smashwords purchase - even though I can't load more content on my device and will have to use the e-reader on the laptop and the odd review copy or two received. Oh and a competition win.

Elly Griffiths - A Room Full of Bones (2011) - charity shop

Not an author I've read before, though I keep hearing she is very good. I've spent a few days in King's Lynn over the years while visiting the region, so worth a punt at under a pound and I'm always saying I don't read enough female authors.

It is Halloween night, and the local museum in King's Lynn is preparing for an unusual event - the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But when Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise, she finds the museum's curator lying dead beside the coffin. It is only a matter of time before she and DI Nelson cross paths once more, as he is called in to investigate. Soon the museum's wealthy owner lies dead in his stables too. These two deaths could be from natural causes but Nelson isn't convinced. When threatening letters come to light, events take an even more sinister turn. But as Ruth's friends become involved, where will her loyalties lie? As her convictions are tested, she and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling and the mystery of The Dreaming may hold the answer to these deaths, and their own survival.

Ralph Dennis - Murder is not an Odd Job (1974) - Amazon purchase
A sixth book in Ralph Dennis's Hardman series, originally published in 1974 and long-lost until Lee Goldberg at Brash Books fulfilled his mission to bring back the series into print and introduce Hardman to a modern crime reading audience. I've just finished the first in the series - Atlanta Deathwatch and I really enjoyed it. Probably just as well because the next seven are waiting on me, with Brash still to publish the last four later in 2019.

For years, original copies of Ralph Dennis' Hardman novels, one of the best crime fiction series ever written, were the Holy Grail for collectors because they were nearly impossible to find and very pricey. But those days are over. Hardman is back!

“The Hardman books are by far the best of the men’s action-adventure series.” Mother Jones Magazine

It's Atlanta, 1974. Ex-cop Jim Hardman and his drinking buddy Hump Evans, an ex-NFL player, will do just about anything short of a felony to make a buck...but even that rule is flexible. 

“Among the best series books around.” Philadelphia Daily News

In their sixth adventure, Hardman steps into the middle of a bar fight and stumbles into a deadly but lucrative job -- protecting a guy who is next-in-line for a massive inheritance from being murdered by professional assassins. But as the body count rises, and killers just keep on coming, it becomes clear to Hardman that the motive is more than money... and that he may be fighting an adversary who will never stop, even after death. 

Mason Cross - The Killing Season (2014) - copy won after Twitter competition by author
An author and book I have previously heard of but never added to the TBR pile, until now anyway.

The first thing you should know about me is that my name is not Carter Blake. That name no more belongs to me than the hotel room I was occupying when the call came in.

When Caleb Wardell, the infamous 'Chicago Sniper', escapes from death row two weeks before his execution, the FBI calls on the services of Carter Blake, a man with certain specialised talents whose skills lie in finding those who don't want to be found. A man to whom Wardell is no stranger.

Along with Elaine Banner, an ambitious special agent juggling life as a single mother with her increasingly high-flying career, Blake must track Wardell down as he cuts a swathe across America, apparently killing at random.

But Blake and Banner soon find themselves sidelined from the case. And as they try desperately to second guess a man who kills purely for the thrill of it, they uncover a hornets' nest of lies and corruption. Now Blake must break the rules and go head to head with the FBI if he is to stop Wardell and expose a deadly conspiracy that will rock the country.

Slick, fast-paced and assured, THE KILLING SEASON is the first novel in the gripping new Carter Blake series.

Richie Narvaez - Hipster Death Rattle (2019) - Smashwords purchase
A punt in the dark on an unknown novelist, though backed up by my knowledge that the publisher, Down and Out Books have impeccable taste when considering their output. I've yet to read a book from them that I didn't like. I do like the quirkiness that this one seems to offer.

Murder is trending. Hipsters are getting slashed to pieces in the hippest neighborhood in New York: Williamsburg, Brooklyn. While Detectives Petrosino and Hadid hound local gangbangers, slacker reporter Tony Moran and his ex Magaly Fernandez get caught up in a missing person’s case—one that might just get them hacked to death.

Filled with a cast of colorful characters and told with sardonic wit, this fast-moving, intricately plotted novel plays out against a backdrop of rapid gentrification, skyrocketing rents, and class tension. New Yorkers and anyone fascinated with the city will love the story’s details, written like only a true native could. Entertaining to the last, this rollicking debut is sure to make Richie Narvaez a rising star on the mystery scene.


“Richie Narvaez has created something that’s been missing from recent fiction: a vivid, loving look at city living from the street view.” —Sara Paretsky, award-winning author of Shell Game

Owen Laukkanen - Deception Cove (2019) - Net Galley ARC
Another author I have yet to try, though I have about four of his books sat on the device. I can't say that the comparison to either Box or Baldacci swayed me in regards to reading this one. I have yet to read anything from those two.

From the acclaimed author of the Gale Force comes a compelling new thriller for fans of CJ Box and David Baldacci.

Jess Winslow is a former US Marine struggling to adjust to civilian life after the horrors of Afghanistan. All she has in the world is her black and white pitbull mix, Lucy.

Mason Burke trained Lucy for the service animal program while serving fifteen years in prison. Lucy helped keep him sane; now he'll stop at nothing to keep her safe.

So when a corrupt deputy sheriff takes Lucy hostage over a package Jess's late husband allegedly stole, newly-released Mason promises to help.

But saving Lucy and finding the package is only the start. Soon Mason and Jess are caught up in someone else's private war. Will they be able to trust each other and face their demons in time to save themselves?

Deception Cove is a gripping story of survival and redemption set against the beautiful and dangerous coastline of the Pacific Northwest.

Michael J. Clark - Mahoney's Camaro (2019) - Net Galley ARC

Second book from Michael J. Clark, after his debut, Clean Sweep. Hopefully I can get both of his books read this year.

Racing to find a killer before he strikes again, an unlikely investigator is haunted by an even more unlikely source in this gripping crime novel

“Clark writes well and has created some amusingly zany characters.” — Publishers Weekly on Clean Sweep

It’s the summer of 1985 and mechanic Steve Mahoney is dreaming big about owning his own shop. He’s getting there as slowly as possible, working one night shift at a time for a local towing company. One night, called to retrieve a car from the murky Red River, Mahoney finds the replacement body to his prized but damaged ’67 Camaro. There’s also a body inside the car, handcuffed to the steering wheel. Mahoney’s able to snap the Camaro up cheap at a salvage auction, but once he’s restored the car to its former glory, he discovers that its last driver is standard spectral equipment on his new ride, and she’s not leaving until she finds out who sent her to a watery grave.

Mahoney’s Camaro is a gritty, fast-paced crime novel that will appeal to fans of Ron Corbett and Stuart MacBride. Combining expertise in the automotive world and a passion for storytelling, Michael J. Clark delivers an action-packed joyride that will grip you until the last page.


  1. You do have some nice choices there, Col. I'm especially interested in what you'll think of the Griffiths; she is really a talented writer, in my opinion, and I hope you'll enjoy that one. There's something about the title Hipster Death Rattle that gets my attention, too. I have no idea if I'd enjoy the book, but the title certainly sticks.

    1. Thanks Margot. I've only heard positive things about Elly Griffiths, so it is probably time I checked myself. Hipster Death Rattle certainly catches the eye in terms of title and cover.

  2. Col, I think Elly Griffiths' "A Room Full of Bones" is currently in the spotlight. I have read it in more than one place online. Worth looking it up. Ralph Dennis' "Murder is not an Odd Job" sounds good too.

    1. Prashant, if it was a popularity contest I think Elly Griffith's would win. A Room Full of Bones has attracted the most chat here and over on Facebook where I shared the post in some of my book groups.
      I've just finished the first Ralph Dennis book and enjoyed it a lot.

  3. Best is right, Col. Some good ones here. HIPSTER is where I will start since I have a nephew in that Brooklyn neighborhood.

    1. Ha, no doubt you will read Hipster before me then!

  4. I LOVE Elly Griffiths - not quite as dark as you might usually go for, but hope you will enjoy the characters and humour and interesting settings.

    1. I knew you were a fan, Moira. I'll have to pull my finger out and give her a go.

  5. I read A Room Full of Bones recently and enjoyed it. The rest of the books sound enticing. Definitely going to read some by Ralph Dennis and Hipster Death Rattle appeals.

    1. I hope you enjoy Dennis and the Hipster book when you get to them. Ditto me and Elly Griffiths.