Saturday 11 May 2019


April's reading saw nine books enjoyed, one short of my monthly target of ten, but all fairly good reads. 

Pick of the month and the only 5 STAR read - GOODBYE TO AN OLD FRIEND by Brian Freemantle, an early 70s Cold War thriller


4.5 STAR READS - 3 of; Ralph Dennis and The Charleston Knife is Back in Town, E. Michael Helms and his Vietnam memoir - The Proud Bastards and Charles Willeford and his mid-50s novel  Pick-Up

4 STAR READS - 4 of; Attica Locke - Bluebird, Bluebird, David B. Lyons and Whatever Happened to Betsy Blake, T.S. Hunter and Tainted Love and Lawrence Block with his dirty little tale - Sweet Little Hands

3.5 STAR READ - 1 of - David Gordon's The Bouncer

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

a bouncer with a secret background and easily able to break the law, with an FBI agent in pursuit

a black Texas Ranger with an alcohol dependency investigating murder with possible racial connotations

a dying man seeking urgent answers to his daughter's disappearance

an ex-cop PI with his sidekick trying to save a kid, bag some loot and avoid the sharp end of the Charleston Knife's weapon of choice

a pair of alcoholics, tired of life

a couple of grieving friends, trying to find a murderer 

a raw recruit, about to experience jungle warfare on the other side of the world

a Russian defector and a British intelligence officer trying to de-brief him

a married couple spicing up their lives with murder


New York; East Texas; Dublin; Atlanta; San Francisco; Soho, London; Parris Island and Vietnam; London and Kent, maybe Surrey also; unknown - probably New York

David Gordon - The Bouncer (2018) (3.5)

Attica Locke - Bluebird, Bluebird (Highway 59, Book 1) (2017) (4)

David B. Lyons - Whatever Happened to Betsy Blake? (2019) (4)

Ralph Dennis - The Charleston Knife is Back in Town (1974) (4.5)

Charles Willeford - Pick-Up (1954) (4.5)

T.S. Hunter - Tainted Love (2019) (4)

E. Michael Helms - The Proud Bastards (1990) (4.5)

Brian Freemantle - Goodbye to an Old Friend (1973) (5)

Lawrence Block - Sweet Little Hands (2011) (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 - 3 - Attica Locke, David Gordon and T.S. Hunter

I have more on the pile to read from David Gordon

Authors enjoyed before - 6 - David B. Lyons, Brian Freemantle, Lawrence Block, E. Michael Helms, Charles Willeford and Ralph Dennis

There's more on the TBR pile from 5 of them - Freemantle, Block, Helms, Willeford and Dennis

9 reads from 9 different authors. 

4 were series books.....

The Charleston Knife is Back in Town is the second in Ralph Dennis's 12 book Hardman series

Bluebird, Bluebird is the first in Attica Locke's Highway 59 series. 

The second drops later this year. Tainted Love is the first in T.S. Hunter's Soho Noir series, the second drops in June. 

David Gordon's The Bouncer is followed by The Hard Stuff which also features his main character.

Gender analysis - 1 female author, 8 male.
Another poor attempt at diversity in my reading, and the same as March!

Of the 9 different authors read, 6 hailed from the USA, 1 from Ireland, 1 from England and 1 who describes himself as UK - half-Welsh,

All 8 of the 9 reads were fiction, with 1 non-fiction read - E. Michael Helms' Vietnam War Memoir - The Proud Bastards

5 of the 9 books read were published this century and all this decade.
2 from 2019, 1 each from 2018, 2017 and 2011

1 book was from 1990, 

2 from the 70s, 1973 and 1974 - re-published last year

1 was from 1954

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

Publishers -  Mulholland Books x 1 - Brash Books x 1 - Mysterious Press x 1 - Bloodhound Books x 1 - Red Dog Press x 1 - MacDonald x 1 - Pocket Books x 1 - Lawrence Block x 1 - Pan Books x 1 

4 of the 9 reads were pre-owned,

2 were accessed at Net Galley early reviewer site, cheers to publishers Mulholland Books and Mysterious Press

2 were received directly from the authors - cheers to E. Michael Helms and David B. Lyons

1 was received from the publisher for participation in a blog tour - cheers to Red Dog Press

Favourite cover? Charles Willeford - Pick-Up (1954) - part of a 1991 MacDonald Omnibus edition which also includes, The Burnt Orange Heresy and Cockfighter

 Second favourite cover - E. Michael Helms and The Proud Bastards

My reads were this long 224 - 249 - 305 - 170 - 196 - 132 - 273 - 144 - 21

Total page count = 1714 (2265 in March) ....... a decrease of 551 pages

5 were Kindle reads, 1 was ePub file read on the laptop,  2 were paperbacks, 1 was a hardback omnibus edition

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

David Gordon and The Bouncer was the longest read at 305 pages

Lawrence Block and Sweet Little Hands was the shortest at 21 pages long.


  1. I'm glad you had a decent month of reading, Col. Your reading's taken you to several different places, and I always like it when that happens to me. And a few of those really do look interesting.

    1. Margot, I do like reflecting on where my reading has taken me in the month.

  2. Thanks for the nice review of TPB, Col. I recently "discovered" the work of mystery/crime writer, Arthur Lyons. I've read two of his "Jacob Asch" mysteries, and just received three more. Sadly, Lyons passed away in his prime. You might want to check him out.

    1. Michael, you're welcome. Thanks for the reminder of Arthur Lyons and his "Asch" books, I have a few of them in the collection. I ought to bump his work up the pile.

  3. The usual good collection Col - quite wide-ranging within your own field!

    1. Cheers Moira. I think you might enjoy Brian Freemantle.... only saying.

    2. I do like a Cold War thriller, it's one of my favourite genres...

    3. Heartily recommended. Ask me for a refund if you don't like it!

  4. Several authors there I want to read (or read more of). I have been trying to cut back on buying books (really) but I am going to have to get the first Ralph Dennis book for sure. I have Charlie M but it is on the Kindle and I don't do well at that. Maybe after I retire I can read ebooks during the day without disturbing my sleep.

    1. I'd been interested to see how you get on with Ralph Dennis and the Hardman books. I'm hoping to read the third this month. I hope you can get to Charlie M as I really liked it.

  5. Col – I get a charge out of your monthly roundup lists and comments. Thanks.