Wednesday 28 August 2019


A decent month's reading - 11 books in total, with one stand-out 5 STAR read - funny enough the first book I picked up in the month. Two 3 STAR reads which weren't amazing, but ok overall. The rest were in-between.

5 STAR - PICK OF THE MONTH - Peter Ritchie's Our Little Secrets

4.5 STAR READS - just scraping the crossbar x 4 - Owen Laukkanen's Deception Cove, Patrick E. McLean and The Soak, Matt Phillips and Countdown and M.P. Wright's A Sinner's Prayer 

4 STAR READS x 3 - Jack Lynch and The Dead Never Forget, Linwood Barclay's The TwentThree and The Best Lousy Choice by Jim Nesbitt

3.5 STARS x 1 - Anthony Horowitz - The Magpie Murders

3 STAR x 2 - David Gordon and The Hard Stuff and The Scribe by A.A. Chaudhuri

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

a criminal fraternity, the leader hiding a secret along with an ambitious cop

an author, his editor and his ailing series character in a dual murder mystery

an ex-reporter turned PI caught in the crossfire of a gang war

a detective investigating a mass poisoning in a small town, more murders occurring and lots on his plate

a damaged veteran, an ex-con, a rescue dog and some dodgy cops

a career criminal too stubborn to retire and on one last job

a bouncer with connections to organised crime and involved in a diamond and drugs heist

an ex-cop, PI looking into a suspicious death in the Texas borderlands

a cop, a legal eagle and a twisted serial killer

a West Indian caretaker, coerced by the police into some investigating into the disappearance of an Indian man

a Californian pot-shop collective and some reprobates interested in some easy plunder

Settings...... Edinburgh; near Bath and somewhere in Suffolk (from memory); San Francisco and other Californian parts; a small town (Promise Falls - fictitious?) in New York state; a small coastal community (Deception Cove - made up?) in Washington state;  Charlotte - North Carolina and the Florida Keys; New York; East Texas badlands; London; Bristol, England in the late 60s and present day San Diego

The full list for the month.........

Peter Ritchie - Our Little Secrets (2019) (5)

Anthony Horowitz - Magpie Murders (2016) (3.5)

Jack Lynch - The Dead Never Forget (1982) (4)

Linwood Barclay - The Twenty-Three (2016) (4)

Owen Laukkanen - Deception Cove (2019) (4.5)

Patrick E. McLean - The Soak (2017) (4.5)

David Gordon - The Hard Stuff (2019) (3)

Jim Nesbitt - The Best Lousy Choice (2019) (4)

A.A. Chaudhuri - The Scribe (2019) (3)

M.P. Wright - A Sinner's Prayer (2019) (4.5)

Matt Phillips - Countdown (2019) (4.5)

Anal analysis time read on if you're an insomniac ......

New to me authors in the month - 5 - M.P. Wright, A.A. Chaudhuri, Jim Nesbitt, Anthony Horowitz and Jack Lynch

I have more on the pile to read from M.P Wright, Jim Nesbitt and Jack Lynch,

Authors enjoyed before - 6 - Matt Phillips, Peter Ritchie, David Gordon, Owen Laukkanen, Patrick E. McLean and Linwood Barclay

There's more on the TBR pile from 4 of them - Owen Laukkanen, Peter Ritchie, Matt Phillips and Linwood Barclay

11 reads from 11 different authors.

6 were series books .....

Peter Ritchie - Our Little Secrets was the 5th Detective Grace Macallan - my second series read

M.P. Wright - A Sinner's Prayer was the 4th J.T. Ellington book dis-counting a couple of short stories - my first series encounter

David Gordon's The Hard Stuff was the second Joe the Bouncer book. I read the first - The Bouncer

Linwood Barclay's The Twenty-Three was the author's third Promise Falls book and my first.

Jack Lynch and The Dead Never Forget was the first in a series of eight featuring Peter Bragg - my first series encounter

Jim Nesbitt's The Best Lousy Choice is the third entry in Nesbitt's Ed Earl Burch series and my first time.

Series maybes....

Owen Laukkanen's Deception Cove could spawn a series.

Ditto A.A. Chaudhuri's The Scribe..... assuming both authors pick up again with the main characters which featured this time around

Gender analysis - 1 female authors, 10 male. No further comment really necessary

Another poor attempt at diversity in my reading! Deja-vous.
It looks like I'll have to sort out another all-female reading month later in the year to address the imbalance. Blah, blah, blah

Of the 11 different authors read, 5 hailed from the USA, 3 from England, 2 from Canada and 1 from Scotland - as best I can tell.

All 11 of the reads were fiction,

10 of the 11 books read were published this century - all 10 this decade
7 from 2019, 1 from 2017, 2 from 2016

1 book was from 1982,

1 came from the man-cave blue tub stash in my garage.
Linwood Barclay's The Twenty-Three but I don't think I've had it too long.

Publishers -  Mulholland Books x 1, Mysterious Press x 1, Spotted Mule Press x 1, Endeavour Media x 1, All Due Respect (an imprint of Down and Out Books) x 1, Orion x 2, Black and White Publishing x 2, Brash Books x 2 

(1 of the above probably passes as self-published but I'm fine reading that.)

4 of the 11 reads were pre-owned,

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

I was impatient waiting on a response so also got one of these via Edelweiss - Above the Treeline, early reviewer site, thanks to Mysterious Press again!

3 were received directly from the publisher - cheers to Endeavour Media and Black and White Publishing

1 came direct from the author - cheers Jim Nesbitt

1 came from the author/author's publicist - cheers to Matt Phillips and Henry Roi.

Favourite cover? Owen Laukkanen - Deception Cove

Second favourite cover -  Jack Lynch - The Dead Never Forget

My reads were this long 416 - 564 - 304 - 512 - 339 - 216 - 320 - 269 - 391 - 336 - 149

Total page count = 3816 (2377 in June) ....... an increase of 1439 pages

2 were Kindle reads, 1 was Kindle from the laptop, 2 were ePub files read on the laptop, 4 were paperbacks and 2 were PDF files read on the laptop

0 < 50,
0 between 51 < 100,
1 between 101 < 200,
2 between 201 < 300,
5 between 301 < 400,
1 between 401 < 500
2 over 500 pages

Anthony Horowitz and Magpie Murders was the longest read at 564 pages

Matt Phillips with Countdown was the shortest at 149 pages long.

Tuesday 27 August 2019



Ex-con Jack Palace returns in a world of violence, heartbreak, and revenge.

Cassandra, the woman who broke Jack Palace’s heart, is suddenly back in his life. She owes $600,000 to a brutal gangster who has threatened her life, and she needs Jack’s help. Meanwhile, Melody, Jack’s new girlfriend, has set a dangerous plan of her own in motion. Things start to get violent when Cassandra suddenly disappears … but not everyone believes Cassandra is in danger. Is Jack being set up?

Bikers, mobsters, and strippers collide as Jack storms the mean streets of Toronto searching for Cassandra. To find her, he must rip open old wounds and confront new enemies. But as loyalties falter and secrets are revealed, Jack begins to wonder who he can really trust. If he doesn’t figure it out fast, he — and everyone he cares about — could end up dead.

Another new-to-me author, A.G. Pasquella with the second in his Jack Palace series - Carve the Heart. The first Yard Dog sits on the pile.

A Toronto setting, our main man - a security consultant of sorts - Jack Palace, a damsel in distress, a situation somewhat complicated by her being an ex-girlfriend, a $600k tab, an impatient benefactor, high stakes poker, a kooky stripper girlfriend, a few kilos of coke, a hitman or two, shadows from the past (fall-out from book one?) and some ageing bikers with dreams of the glory days.

All the elements present that make up the kind of books I enjoy. Not a policeman in sight, a conflict between two parties with a negotiated settlement unlikely. Sex, untrustworthy relationships, rip-offs, night clubs, friendships, loyalty, career opportunities hatched on a contempt for family, wistful looks back at happier times, love, regret, abandonment, loss, danger, a sense of duty and protectionism, drugs, a sideshow gunfight and a violent outcome.

I liked the main character, Jack. He has a sense of loyalty towards the two women in his life - the ex from the past with an urgent problem to be fixed and the current beau. Neither of them seemed particularly worthy of his efforts. Gallantry doesn't always get its true reward.

Overall I enjoyed it but might have been better served by reading the earlier book in the series first. There are elements and events which are a consequence of Yard Dog.

4 from 5

Read - August, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 277
Source - Net Galley, courtesy of publisher Dundurn Press
Format - ePub file read on laptop

Monday 26 August 2019


Boston, a female PI - 2 from Linda Barnes.

I don't read enough female authors. This is something I'm aware of and trying to address, albeit I'm rather hit and miss with my approach. This pair from Linda Barnes look good and wouldn't be a bad place to start.

Linda Barnes has written over a dozen Carlotta Carlyle series books.
I doubt I will read all of them, these two at least.

Her other works include a four book series featuring Michael Spraggue, which predates the Carlyle series and a standalone novel called The Perfect Ghost.

A Trouble of Fools (1987)

Introducing Carlotta Carlyle, an ex-cop dismissed for insubordination, a sometime Boston cabbie and a committed volley-ball player down the YWCA, who sets herself up as a private eye and nose-dives into trouble. At six foot one with flame-red hair and no time for authority, Carlotta scares most men off; the ones that remain tend to be either cops or Mafiosi, neither of whom are famed for their commitment to women's liberation.

So, going it alone with a very light case load, Carlotta accepts old Margaret Devens' request to find her brother, a Boston Irish cab driver whose suspect connections make the case very much more dangerous than could be expected.

"Carlotta Carlyle is a splendid recruit to the fast-growing club of bright, funny, sexy, tough yet vulnerable American female private eyes."
Marcel Berlins, The Times

The Snake Tattoo (1989)

Find the woman with the snake tattoo.

A hooker, she'd witnessed the barroom fight that had ended with one man in a come and Lieutenant Mooney of the Boston Police Department suspended from duty.

Carlotta Carlyle owed it to her long-time friend and mentor, Mooney. Then there was the second job: a poor little rich runaway who'd gone for a walk on the wild side. Which was why Carlotta was cruising the red light district by night, and by day prowling round a very expensive private school with a reputation to protect.

Twi can-of-worms jobs for a private ye who, like anyone with the builders in, was fleeing the chaos at home.

"Sensitive, gutsy Carlotta is the swordarm of feminism, the girl for the Nineties."
The Observer

Sunday 25 August 2019



Esmeralda works for a housecleaning service during the day and as a restaurant hostess at night. Just out of high school, she is the sole support for her mother and two young siblings. 

She has drive and ambition. What she doesn’t have is money. 

She knows of a home in the upscale town of Mendham, NJ, that will be empty for more than a month. The rich people who live there go away the same time every year to spend time at their vacation home. Having cleaned the house, she also knows it contains a fair amount of cash and valuables. 

One night sitting with Ray, one of her co-workers, she casually mentions a “what if” scenario; Ray tells Skooley, a white trash drifter who recently moved to New Jersey from south Florida, and a plan is hatched. 

It isn’t long before Esmeralda finds herself trapped by both circumstance and greed, forced to try and defend herself against one of her partners in crime, who she quickly discovers is far more dangerous than she ever thought possible. 

Praise for THIEVES: 

“A chilling portrait of a psychopath on a murderous rampage. One hell of a debut for Steve Russo.” —James Hayman, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Bridge 

Torture, thievery, home invasion, a falling out, a drunken pick-up, a quiet conspirator having regrets, a bar fight, some consequences, a battle for the upper hand and a helluva lot more.

I really enjoyed this tale of a falling out among thieves. Ray, one of them thinks he's a bad ass. Skooley shows him what a bad ass really is and Esmeralda regrets dreaming up the whole scheme. That said there's no turning the clock back and she wants her share, despite her fear of Skooley. Skooley himself has other pressing matters to worry about. A bar fight and his picture in the paper, means the boys from South Florida will be heading his way.

Violent, funny, entertaining, with home cooking, Spam, guns, beer, a walk in the woods, shopping, conversation, disagreements, poor decision making, recklessness, secrets, ambition, a dream of a better life, a trip to the Big Apple and a decent finale.

Interesting characters, not especially nice people but never dull. A decent pace. A tale of a career criminal and an almost accidental one. My kind of book.

4.5 from 5

Thieves is Steven Max Russo's debut novel and came out last year. His second book, The Dead Don't Sleep publishes later this year.

Read - August, 2019
Published - 2018
Page count - 280
Source - Book Sirens review site, courtesy of publisher Down and Out Books
Format - ePUB file

Monday 19 August 2019


A bit of Scandinavian crime with a couple from Iceland and Ragnar Jonasson.

I don't really read as much Scandinavian crime as I ought to, having a tendency to veer more towards North America, Australia and much closer to home, the UK. I would struggle to remember the last Scandi book I read.

Maybe Mr Jonasson will get me more interested. To date the only Icelandic author I have enjoyed is Arnaldur Indridason and that's been a while. The Draining Lake was one of my top reads in 2013. 

Jonasson has written five books in his Dark Iceland series and a couple in his Hidden Iceland series with the third coming next year.

Dark Iceland
1. Snowblind (2015)
2. Nightblind (2015)
3. Blackout (2016)
4. Rupture (2016)
5. Whiteout (2017)

Hidden Iceland
1. The Darkness (2018)
2. The Island (2019)
3. The Mist (2020)

Snowblind (2015)

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel.

Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind.

When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.

Taut and terrifying, Snowblind is a startling debut from an extraordinary new talent, taking Nordic Noir to soaring new heights.

‘His first novel to be translated into English has all the skilful plotting of an old-fashioned whodunnit although it feels bitingly contemporary in setting and tone’ Jake Kerridge, Sunday Express

Blackout (2016)

On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer's night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person's life hangs in the balance.Ari Thor Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjordur struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit. What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, it's a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies...Dark, terrifying and complex, Blackout is an exceptional, atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland's finest crime writers.

Sunday 18 August 2019



Monk's house is being fumigated, and he has nowhere to go. Fortunately, his assistant Natalie and her daughter are kind enough to welcome him into their home. Unfortunately, their home is not quite up to Monk's standards of cleanliness and order.

But while Monk attempts to arrange his surroundings just so, something else needs to be put straight. The death of a dog at the local firehouse-on the same night as a fatal house fire-has led Monk into a puzzling mystery. And much to his horror, he's going to have to dig through a lot of dirt to find the answer.

Well I enjoyed the TV series back in the day and I've previously enjoyed some of Lee Goldberg's books, especially the collaborations with Janet Evanovich, so the likelihood was that I was going to enjoy this. Correct.

A bit of a trip down memory lane then as Goldberg, a writer on the TV show captures Mr. Monk and his OCD, his quirks and obsessions and foibles perfectly.

Our mystery centres around a murdered Firehouse dog, which expands into the homicide of an old women in a house fire. Monk explains early on who did it and why - the culprit is the same in both cases. The rest of the book is spent trying to prove it, with the cocky killer further covering his tracks as we go.

Best book ever? No, but I did enjoy time in the company of Monk, his assistant Natalie (our narrator), her daughter and the couple of cops - Leland Stottlemeyer and Randy Disher - they work closely with. No real laugh out loud funny moments a la Carl Hiaasen, but plenty of wry wit and smiles.

A decent mystery, enjoyable characters, no break-neck pace, a sedentary unwinding of events and an eventual resolution to the tale, with a further twist regarding a murderer somewhat closer to home. This one is less action driven and violent than my usual reading, which made for a decent change.

There's enough time here to allow Natalie to go dating and pursue a romance. We see the bonds of friendship between Monk, Natalie and the two cops and also get to glimpse Monk's unresolved pain. It's the one case he has never been able to solve - the murder of his late wife.

I have some more of Goldberg's Mr. Monk books on the pile. I won't be picking another one up immediately, but I'll get back to them one day.

4 from 5

Lee Goldberg's McGrave has been enjoyed before.

Read - August, 2019
Published - 2006
Page count - 304
Source - owned copy
Format - paperback


A few more testosterone filled reads acquired during the month of July. Four from authors I've read and enjoyed before and a couple that I need to get introduced to.......

David Putnam - The Heartless - from author

The Heartless is the seventh entry in David Putnam's Bruno Johnson series.

I've read and enjoyed the previous six. It's one of the few series I enjoy that I've managed to keep pace with. Putnam is a retired cop from California. He knows his stuff.

1. The Disposables (2014)
2. The Replacements (2015)
3. The Squandered (2016)
4. The Vanquished (2017)
5. The Innocents (2018)
6. The Reckless (2019)
7. The Heartless (2020)


Perfect for fans of Robert Crais and John Sandford 

Former LA County Deputy Bruno Johnson is now a bailiff in the courts having stepped down from his role on the Violent Crimes Team to spend more time with his daughter, Olivia. Bruno fears his job decision may have come too late when he gets a frantic call to extricate Olivia from a gunpoint situation in a LA gang-infested neighborhood. His desperation escalates when he realizes Louis Barkow, a stone-cold killer awaiting trial, had orchestrated that deadly tableau. When Barkow and three other criminals break out of jail and hit the streets, Bruno is plunged back into violent crime mode. Now, the agenda is personal--Olivia has become a pawn in the desperate chase of this sinister murderer. The walls are caving in on Bruno as violence escalates in his hunt for Barkow and his heart strings are stretched to the breaking point as he struggles to protect his daughter not only from the criminal violence swirling around them, but from Olivia's own impetuous life choices.

Finn Bell - The Lost Dead - from author

Finn Bell hails from New Zealand. The Lost Dead is his fourth offering. I've read and enjoyed the third - The Easter Make Believers. Dead Lemons and Pancake Money still sit on the TBR pile.



When a huge earthquake causes massive landslides across the isolated Southern Alps everyone scrambles in a frantic search for victims. No one is looking for a perpetrator.

But hidden now by the anonymous chaos of the massive disaster he seizes his opportunity and takes her. Like so many others who are missing young Sophie is simply counted among the earthquake’s lost. A perfect crime, unseen and unknown. Almost.

Because this time, as he attacks, he’s seen. Caught in the act. But the three brothers, the only witnesses, are themselves not innocent, not safe. Wanted criminals, they are already hunted and on the run. Barely keeping ahead of both the police and the gangs.

Now the sudden disaster and this chance encounter with a criminal much more dangerous than themselves thwarts their desperate flight into the wilds. Trapping all the wrong people in exactly the wrong place. Forcing the three brothers to choose: Between family and what’s right. Would you sacrifice a child to save your family?

A.G. Pasquella - Carve the Heart - Net Galley

A new-to-me author though I have his first Jack Palace book on the TBR pile - Yard Dog.
Toronto noir.


Ex-con Jack Palace returns in a world of violence, heartbreak, and revenge.

Cassandra, the woman who broke Jack Palace's heart, is suddenly back in his life. She owes $600,000 to a brutal gangster who has threatened her life, and she needs Jack's help. Meanwhile, Melody, Jack's new girlfriend, has set a dangerous plan of her own in motion. Things start to get violent when Cassandra suddenly disappears ... but not everyone believes Cassandra is in danger. Is Jack being set up?

Bikers, mobsters, and strippers collide as Jack storms the mean streets of Toronto searching for Cassandra. To find her, he must rip open old wounds and confront new enemies. But as loyalties falter and secrets are revealed, Jack begins to wonder who he can really trust. If he doesn't figure it out fast, he - and everyone he cares about - could end up dead.

John Farrow - Ball Park - Net Galley

John Farrow is the pseudonym of Trevor Ferguson. Ferguson is a Canadian literary/mainstream novelist. As Farrow he has written seven crime novels featuring Emil Cinq-Mars and mostly Montreal.


Getting inside is easy; the stress comes in getting out clean. A case of breaking and entering escalates after Emile Cinq-Mars transfers from the Night Patrol.

Montreal, 1975. Detective Emile Cinq-Mars is transferring from the Night Patrol - the notoriously tough department of officers in charge of watching over the city as it sleeps - to the day shift. His old superior has seen to it that he's assigned to partner Yves Giroux, another ex-Night Patrol detective some say isn't on the 'up and up'.

Getting in a house is easy for thief Quinn Tanner. The stress comes in getting out clean. On finding her getaway driver dead after her latest heist, she goes underground.

For his first case on the day shift, Emile is sent to the property that Quinn has just visited, and their paths are set to cross. But has she stolen something more valuable than she realizes . . . and who is hunting for her now?

Dietrich Kalteis - Call Down the Thunder - from author
One of my favourite contemporary authors, consistently turning out the type of books I love to read. That said I've fallen a couple behind. House of Blazes and Poughkeepsie Shuffle still need to be devoured.

Pick any one of these, kick back and enjoy. Thank me later.

Ride The Lightning (2014)
The Deadbeat Club (2015)
Triggerfish (2016)
House of Blazes (2016)
Zero Avenue (2017)
Poughkeepsie Shuffle (2018)
Call Down the Thunder (2019)


Desperate times call for desperate measures in Kalteis's lightning-fast crime caper story

Sonny and Clara Myers struggle on their Kansas farm in the late 1930s, a time the Lord gave up on: their land's gone dry, barren, and worthless; the bankers are greedy and hungry, trying to squeeze them and other farmers out of their homes; and, on top of that, their marriage is in trouble. The couple can struggle and wither along with the land or surrender to the bankers and hightail it to California like most of the others. Clara is all for leaving, but Sonny refuses to abandon the family farm. 

In a fit of temper, she takes off westward in their old battered truck. Alone on the farm and determined to get back Clara and the good old days, Sonny comes up with an idea, a way to keep his land and even prosper while giving the banks a taste of their own misery. He sets the scheme in motion under the cover of the commotion being caused by a rainmaker hired by the mayor to call down the thunder and wash away everyone's troubles.

Paul Heatley - Bad Bastards - purchased copy

I've enjoyed Paul Heatley's work more than once in the past - The Motel Whore, The Vampire, FatBoy, The Boy, An Eye For An Eye, The Pitbull. He writes the kind of books I like to read, though I always feel like the need to scrub the grime and filth off my skin afterwards.


Falling in love might just be the dumbest move Patton has ever made. Patty Dawson is beautiful – tall, with most of her length in her legs – and Patton has fallen head over heels. Patty is also Bobby Hodge’s daughter and that means she’s off-limits to guys like Patton.Bobby runs the Bad Bastards Motorcycle Club with an iron fist – he runs his family the same way - and when he finds out about Patton and his only daughter it was only ever going to go one way, badly.Beaten to a pulp and under threat of death, Patton is determined to find a way to be with the girl he loves no matter what the cost, but as the stakes get higher he has to decide just how far he’s willing to go in the name of love.

Praise for Paul Heatley

“Heatley has an adept ear, and he's got the writer's chops to translate what he hears.” —Matt Phillips, author of Accidental Outlaws and Know Me From Smoke.

“Heatley has this genre down pat and few others can top his style. Step into the dark and enjoy the fun.” —Grady Harp, San Francisco Review of Books

"Heatley is becoming a master of American noir in the vein of Jim Thompson and James M. Cain." – David Nemeth, Unlawful Acts

Friday 16 August 2019



"Dark and punchy. An enigmatic hero takes on the dangerous streets of London." Shaun Baines, author of Pallbearer

Two Albanians, sitting in a car, are selling cocaine outside a school again.

Enough is enough, James Marshal, an ex-Para, tells himself as he observes the drug dealers.

Marshal assaults the Albanians. But it's just the start, rather than the end, of things.

The ruthless gang, led by Luka Rugova and Viktor Baruti, demand retribution. The blood debt must be paid.

To gain intelligence on the criminal organisation Marshal approaches the fixer, Oliver Porter.

In return for providing Marshal with information, Porter asks a favour of his former associate. 

Marshal must drive the fixer's niece around for a couple of days.

But a lot can happen in a couple of days.

When Marshal returns to London, the Albanians find him. The blood debt still needs to be paid.

Marshal must end what he started, one way or another.

Enough is Enough is the follow-up title to the acclaimed and bestselling novel Gun For Hire.

Recommended for fans of Graham Greene, Lee Child and Stephen Leather.

A decent start, followed by a lull, then about halfway it warmed up again and recaptured my interest, before a kind of hurried finish which kind of brought us full circle - Marshal settles up with the Albanians.

I'm unsure if the loss of urgency was the story or just a bit of ennui in my reading. I have multiple books on the go at any one time usually and I didn't make much headway with the others, so I'm guessing me.

I liked the start. Ex-military man, James Marshal gets the hump with some Albanian drug dealers, pushing their wares near the school on his street. Marshal sends them packing with a few injuries and several dents to their macho pride. Their culture and gang fidelity demands retribution, something Marshal is aware of.

Pre-empting things, Marshall contacts an old comrade for some intelligence details on the gang. Oliver Porter is a fixer. He provides the information in return for a favour. Marshal has to chauffeur his niece around town for a couple of days and avoid hitting on the retired model in the meantime.

The middle segment of the book sees Marshal assessing the intelligence while ferrying the niece around town as they slowly fall for each other. Women and commitment aren't Marshal's thing, as we previously discover in the opening passages of the book. But maybe he just hadn't met the one.

Conversations on books, poetry, music, property, plans and ambitions follow as the pair (girl's name escapes me) get to know each other. There's a quick punch-up at a party as Marshal defends one of the attractive catering staff's virtue from some drunken boorish hooray Henrys.

Then it's back to London, back to the Albanians, then back to romance.

I think I kind of expected more full on action throughout as opposed to heavy romantic undertones taking over the story for a decent chunk of the book. I didn't dislike it, it showed our main character had more layers and depth to him that a caricature fighting man full of biff, bash, bosh with nothing between his ears.

Quite a quick read once I committed to it and stopped dithering. Enjoyed eventually and definitely an author I would read more from in the future.

More than a 3.5 - just about a 4 on balance.

Thomas Waugh's Nothing to Lose has been enjoyed before.

Read - August, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 144
Source - review copy from publisher - Sharpe Books
Format - PDF

Thursday 15 August 2019



At age eight, Jenny Rowan was abducted and kept for two years in a box beneath her captor's bed. Eventually she escaped and, after living for eighteen months on cast-offs at the local mall, was put into the child-care system. Suing for emancipation, at age sixteen she became a legal adult. Nowadays she works as a production editor for the local public TV station, and is one of the world's good people.

One evening she returns home to find a detective waiting for her. Though her records are sealed, he somehow knows her story. He asks if she can help with a young woman who, like her many years before, has been abducted and traumatized. Initially hesitant, Jenny decides to get involved, reviving buried memories and setting in motion an unexpected chain of events.

As brilliantly spare and compact as are all of James Sallis's novels, Others of My Kind stands apart for its female protagonist. Set in a near future of political turmoil, it is a story of how we overcome, how we shape ourselves by what happens to us, and of how the human spirit, whatever horrors it undergoes, will not be put down.

'Haunting and immensely readable' - Spectator

'The thriller writer's thriller writer. His prose is intense... his stories so dark they almost inflict pain, and his sense of place exact' - Daily Mail

'Original, unexpected, moving, harsh harrowing, emotionally complex, written with subdued brilliance and utterly absorbing' - Times

My first time reading James Sallis in about a decade, I reckon and whilst it wasn't the best book ever there was enough to have me wanting to read him again a bit sooner next time.

No real plot as such. An adult women was abducted as a child, escaped, lived for a period as a scavenger in a shopping mall, before being helped by the authorities and the system, and has now integrated back into society. She works as a TV news editor, is amazing at her job, but is quite solitary and has no real friends.

We get snippets of her back story and in the present we see her reluctant involvement in helping another abducted and freed woman come to terms with her situation. Fast forward, she traces her real parents and somewhat unbelievably reaches out to a powerful politician - either a Vice President, wife of a dead President, or Presidential candidate soon to become President - when her son is abducted.

I enjoyed time in our main character's company. I liked the bond she developed with Jack, the detective who asked for help. I liked the connection with her new charge, Cheryl and her relationships with the people around her at work, albeit she conceals her true identity and past from them until her cover is blown at least.

In some respects her character was a bit too perfect. She is totally bereft of anger, rancour, bitterness, jealousy, greed or another other negative human trait. She kind of makes Mother Theresa look like a bad egg. She brings food parcels to the local squat and engages with them all. She meets her abductor on his death bed and fulfils his dying wish.

I kind of get her, in regards to acceptance of her past and taking the positives from her experience. She felt loved and cared for and has an continued emotional attachment that persists through the book with her abductor, but me I'd be full of poison after such an experience.

Lots of great writing and profundity expressed by Sallis throughout the book, which sadly because I have screwed up my Kindle I was unable to highlight and now recall. But there was plenty there to give me pause and reflect on.

A bit of a weird one overall. I'm sure James Sallis is conveying a message of ..... what? hope, time healing, move on, etc etc. who knows? I suppose those are the positives I take from it, albeit with a certain pinch of salt as he stretched the bounds of believe-ability more than once.

3.5 from 5

Read - August, 2019
Published - 2013
Page count - 192
Source - owned copy
Format - Kindle

Wednesday 14 August 2019


An enjoyable month's reading - 18 books covered in the month - impressive huh? Not really when you consider 9 of them are sold alone short stories on Amazon and one was a novella weighing in at less than 80 pages. So 8 proper books read in the month.

No 5 STAR READ in the month - but a couple that came very close

4.5 STARS - David Swinson's 3rd Frank Marr book - Trigger and S.A. Cosby's debut novel My Darkest Prayer.

I honestly couldn't split them if choosing one to re-read, so it's either 2 BOOKS OF THE MONTH or none - let's say 2!

novel - Chris Hammer's Scrubland, 

novella - S.W. Lauden's That'll Be the Day: A Power Pop Heist, 

short story collection - Toni Kan's Nights of the Creaking Bed, 

novella plus short story collection - Graham Wynd's Love is a Grift

short stories - Tim Stevens and Snout, Steve Brewer with 5 solid kick-ass tales - Found Money. Cemetery Plot, Payoff, Love's Gone and Showdown, Shoshana Edwards and Freeze, Mike McCrary with Separate Checks

3.5 STARS - John Brady and Golden Palms

3 STAR READS - Day Keene's There Was a Crooked Man, Joe Clifford's Rag and Bone and an okay short story from Mike McCrary - Broken

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

a straight cop turning crooked

a couple of low-level crims with poor decision-making skills

a gaggle of spies with a traitor amongst them

an ex-cop PI and his new recruit, working to clear an old friend

a plethora of Nigerian characters and their trials and tribulations

an undertaker’s assistant with a short fuse and some investigating to do

a lecturer turned political lackey helping the natives in LA

criminals, biker chicks, outlaws, grifters, hit men and more

a grave digger and his intended occupant

a feisty old-timer with a temper and a gun

a couple of drinking buddies and a women who's come between them

two friends - one with a secret, one with a grudge

a gang of old ladies reluctant to say goodbye

a blind women and her support worker

a former couple trying to reconcile or maybe not

a reluctant former pop star unsure of a comeback

a PI type with a long held grudge

an Aussie journalist investigating a mass shooting and its aftermath

Settings...... Haines City, Florida; London; Washington DC; Lagos, Nigeria; Southern Virginia; Los Angeles; Galway, Brussels, Helsinkini, Dundee and more; Oklahoma and Memphis; Ashton, New Hampshire; Riversend, Victoria, Australia and assorted bars, trailer parks, cemeteries, homes, restaurants and more in unspecified locales...

The full list for the month was....

Day Keene - There was a Crooked Man (1954) (3)

Steve Brewer - Found Money (2012) (4)

Tim Stevens - Snout (2012) (4)

David Swinson - Trigger (2019) (4.5)

Toni Kan - Nights of the Creaking Bed (2019) (4)

S.A. Cosby - My Darkest Prayer (2019) (4.5)

John Brady - Golden Palms (2019) (3.5)

Graham Wynd - Love is a Grift (2019) (4)

Steve Brewer - Cemetery Plot (2013) (4)

Steve Brewer - Payoff (2012) (4)

Steve Brewer - Yvonne's Gone (2012) (4)

Steve Brewer - Showdown (2012) (4)

Shoshana Edwards - Freeze! (2013) (4)

Mike McCrary - Broken (2019) (3)

Mike McCrary - Separate Checks (2019) (4)

S.W. Lauden - That'll Be the Day: A Power Pop Heist (2019) (4)

Joe Clifford - Rag and Bone (2019) (3)

Chris Hammer - Scrublands (2019) (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 - 6 - Day Keene, Toni Kan, S.A. Cosby, John Brady, Shoshana Edwards, Chris Hammer

I have more on the pile to read from Day Keene

Authors enjoyed before - 7 - Steve Brewer, Tim Stevens, David Swinson, Graham Wynd, Mike McCrary, S.W. Lauden and Joe Clifford

There's more on the TBR pile from 6 of them - Steve Brewer, Tim Stevens, Graham Wynd (or her alter ego K.A. Laity at least), S.W. Lauden and Joe Clifford

18 reads from 12 different authors.
Steve Brewer was read 5 times, Mike McCrary was read twice

2 were series books .....

Joe Clifford's Rag and Bone - the 5th in the Jay Porter series,
Trigger was the 3rd in David Swinson's Frank Marr series

Gender analysis - 2 female authors, 10 male.

Another poor attempt at diversity in my reading! Deja-vous.
It looks like I'll have to sort out another all-female reading month later in the year to address the imbalance.

Of the 12 different authors read, 9 hailed from the USA, 1 from Nigeria, 1 from Australia and 1 from England - as best I can tell.

All 18 of the reads were fiction,

17 of the 18 books read were published this century - this decade
9 from 2019, 1 from 2018, 2 from 2013 and 5 from 2018

1 book was from 1954,

1 came from the man-cave blue tub stash in my garage.
Day Keene's There Was a Crooked Man

Publishers -  Mulholland Books x 1, Fox Spirit Books x 1, Cassava Republic x 1, Oceanview Publishing x 1, Wildfire x 1, Intrigue Publishing x 1, Universal Paperbacks x 1, Certified - Human - Books x 1, Bad Words Inc x 2, 7 probably 8 via Amazon Media - 1 has been removed from sale so who knows?

(A few of the above probably pass as self-published but I'm fine reading that.)

4 of the 18 reads were pre-owned,

1 was accessed at Net Galley early reviewer site, cheers to publisher Mulholland Books. I actually ran out of time reading it so had to by myself a copy to finish

2 were accessed at Edelweiss - Above the Treeline, early reviewer site, thanks to Oceanview Publishing and Cassava Republic

1 was a review copy courtesy of Reedsy Discovery website

1 was received directly from the publisher - cheers to Fox Spirit Books

1 was borrowed from Leighton Buzzard Library

9 were read as part of a month long Kindle Unlimited trial

Favourite cover? David Swinson - Trigger

 Second favourite cover -  Toni Kan - Nights of the Creaking Bed

My reads were this long 112 - 11 - 33 - 352 - 176 - 222 - 288 - 256 - 11 - 14 - 9 - 11 - 14 - 20 - 18 - 74 - 256 - 500

Total page count = 2377 (1712 in May) ....... an increase of 665 pages

10 were Kindle reads, 2.5 were ePub files read on the laptop,  2.5 were paperbacks, 2 were PDF files and 1 was a hardback

9 < 50,
1 between 51 < 100,
2 between 101 < 200,
4 between 201 < 300,
1 between 301 < 400,
1 > 400 pages

Chris Hammer and Scrublands was the longest read at 500 pages

Steve Brewer with Yvonne's Gone was the shortest at 9 pages long.