Saturday 9 November 2019


September was a blinding month's reading, 19 books in total and no resorting to subterfuge or cheating by sneaking in short stories to bolster the numbers.

Pick of the month by a short head!
George V. Higgins and Cogan's Trade (1974)

The number's were aided by a week late-August, early September being lazy on a beach in Malta. I'd read 11 books by the 8th of the month and then saw a drop off after returning to work.

No stand-out 5 STAR read - not this month

4.5 STAR READS - x 3 Dietrich Kalteis - Poughkeepsie Shuffle; George V. Higgins with Cogan's Trade and Harlin Hailey's East of Lincoln.

Pick of the month on the basis of which of the three 4.5 STAR READS I'd want to pick up for for a re-read is Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins. Re-reading would annoy my wife immensely, bearing in mind the amount of un-read books I have

4 STAR READS x 15 - Mike Knowles (twice) - Grinder and In Plain Sight; Bill Pronzini with John Lutz and The Eye;  Tom Pitts - Piggyback; L.A. Sykes - The Hard Cold Shoulder; George V. Higgins again - The Rat on Fire (a re-read); Lisa Gardner - Never Tell; Adrian McKinty - The Chain; Rob Parker - The Penny Black; A.K. Reynolds - Very Nearly Dead; Mark Rogers with Adam Rocke  and The Death Dealer; Harlan Coben - Run Away; Dan Hancox - Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime; Tony Drury - The Man Who Hated and another collaboration - In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland.

3 STAR READ x 1 - Lawrence Block (as Sheldon Lord) with Of Shame and Joy

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

an ex-con selling cars, trying to dodge a gang war and keep his gun running boss happy

a loner sucked back into a mob investigation

a cop and a killer with a God complex stalking each other

a couple of friends hunting some missing drugs with a road trip

an ex-cop Manc PI looking for a girl

a take down and a judgement passed by the Boston underworld

more Boston shenanigans with a conspiracy to cause arson and an undercover op to nail them

our Canadian loner again, trying to keep the police off his back, by offering up a bigger prize

a murder, an investigation, a troubled history, secrets and an abuser - lots more besides

a missing daughter, family secrets and a murder

an on the run ex-Military vigilante causing mayhem in Norfolk

a gang of friends on an African safari with a difference

a girl discovering herself in New York half a century again

a murder amongst friends in LA

a dissection of the UK grime scene

an angry man exacting revenge on an impolite society

a coming of age tale with two brothers and an abusive father


Toronto, Canada and Poughkeepsie, USA; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; New York and New Jersey; San Francisco, Chico, Rio Linda and Sacramento; Manchester, England; Boston, Massachusetts; Boston, Massachusetts again; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Florida, Cambridge, Boston, Winthrop - Massachusetts, the wilds of Maine; Plum Island, New York, Crete, New York, Boston and New Hampshire; New York; Norfolk, England; South London and Luton; New York, Harare - Zimbabwe: Provincetown, Massachusetts; Los Angeles; London; somewhere in the UK (not noted at time of reading) and rural North Carolina

The full 19 reads with links to my reviews below......

Dietrich Kalteis - Poughkeepsie Shuffle (2018) (4.5)

Mike Knowles - Grinder (2009) (4)

Bill Pronzini and John Lutz - The Eye (1984) (4)

Tom Pitts - Piggyback (2012) (4)

L.A. Sykes - The Hard Cold Shoulder (2013) (4)

George V. Higgins - Cogan's Trade (1974) (4.5)

George V. Higgins - The Rat on Fire (1981) (4)

Mike Knowles - In Plain Sight (2010) (4)

Lisa Gardner - Never Tell (2019) (4)

Adrian McKinty - The Chain (2019) (4)

Harlan Coben - Run Away (2019) (4)

Rob Parker - The Penny Black (2019) (4)

A.K. Reynolds - Very Nearly Dead (2019) (4)

Lawrence Block (as Sheldon Lord) - Of Shame and Joy (1960) (3)

Adam Rocke and Mark Rogers - The Death Dealer (2019) (4)

Harlin Hailey - East of Lincoln (2019) (4.5)

Dan Hancox - Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime (2018) (4)

Tony Drury - The Man Who Hated (2018) (4)

James Newman and Mark Steensland - In the Scrape (2019) (4)

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

New to me authors in the month - 8 - L.A. Sykes, Harlin Hailey, Tony Drury, Dan Hancox, James Newman and Mark Steensland, half of the A.K. Reynolds double act and Adam Rocke - half of team responsible for The Death Dealer

There's more on the TBR pile from James Newman and L.A. Sykes

Authors enjoyed before - 13 - Dietrich Kalteis, Mike Knowles, Bill Pronzini, John Lutz, Tom Pitts, George V. Higgins, Lisa Gardner, Adrian McKinty, Harlan Coben, Rob Parker, half of A.K. Reynolds (they're a husband and wife double act), Mark Rogers and Lawrence Block

There's more on the TBR pile from all of them.

19 reads from 21 authors. 19 of them different. 4 co-authored books, though only 3 would indicate that from the author's title on the book

4 were series books .....

Mike Knowles' Grinder and In Plain Sight are the 2nd and 3rd in his Wilson series. There are 6 in total

John Lutz wrote a 2nd Oxman and Tobin book - Shadowtown after his collaboration The Eye with Bill Pronzini

Rob Parker's The Penny Black is the 3rd in his Ben Bracken series

Lisa Gardner's Never Tell is the 10th book to feature Detective D.D. Warren

Series maybes....

Adam Rocke and Mark Rogers maybe collaborating on a prequel to The Death Dealer

Some of the characters in the Boston crime books from George V. Higgins crop up in passing in the books I've read.... Cogan for instance

Tony Drury's The Man Who Hated is part of his novella series inspired by film, but the books feature different people

Gender analysis -  1.5 female authors, 18.5 male. No further comment really necessary (copies and pastes last month's comments re gender)

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...unlikely as we are running out of year

Of the 21 different authors read, 11 hail from the USA, 6 are English, 3 hail from Canada, 1 from Northern Ireland - as best I can tell.

All 20 of the reads were fiction, 1 non-fiction - Dan Hancox's Inner City Pressure

15 of the 19 books read were published this century - 14 from this decade

8 from 2019, 3 from 2018, 1 each from 2010, 2012 and 2013

1 from 2009

Of the four older books, 1 each from 1960, 1974, 1981, 1984

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

Mike Knowles and George V. Higgins - two books from each, both in omnibus editions

Publishers -  ECW Press (x 3), Open Road Media, Snub Nose Press, Robinson Publishing (x 2), Lawrence Block, City Fiction, Near to the Knuckle, Mulholland (x 2), Arrow, Endeavour Media, Bloodhound Books, World Castle Publishing, Amazon Media, William Collins and Silver Shamrock Publishing 

9 of the 19 reads were pre-owned, 1 of the 9 had also been obtained via Net Galley, cheers ECW Press

4 other books were Net Galley reads - thanks to Open Road Media, City Fiction, Silver Shamrock Publishing and Mulholland

1 came via reviewer site Reedsy

1 was received directly from the publisher - cheers to Bloodhound Books

3 came from the authors - thanks to Rob Parker, Mark Rogers (and Adam Rocke) and Lawrence Block - his assistant actually in the form of an Audible download code - cheers to team Lawrence Block

1 was accessed at Edelweiss - Above the Treeline early reviewer site, but I had to download an Audible edition of Inner City Pressure as I never read it in the limited time allowed to me.

Favourite cover? Tom Pitts and Piggyback

Second favourite cover -  Harlin Hailey - East of Lincoln

My reads were this long 280 - 182 - 256 - 114 - 108 - 218 - 194 - 203 - 416 - 331 - 384 - 226 - 238 - 300 - 178 (or 4 hrs 48 mins) - 448 - 352 (or 10 hrs 51 mins) - 77 - 105

Total page count =  4610 (1893 in August) ....... an increase of 2717 pages

4610 or 4060 written pages and 15 hrs 39 ear-hole mins

3 were Kindle reads,  5 were ePub files read on the laptop, 1 was a Kindle Mobi file read on the laptop, 2 were Audible listening books, 8 were paperbacks - 4 of them in 2 x 3 book Omnibus editions of which the the 2nd and 3rd of each was consumed

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

Harlin Hailey's East of Lincoln was the longest read at 448 pages

Tony Drury's The Man Who Hated was the shortest at 77 pages long.


  1. You did get a lot read this month, Col. And good to see there were no DNFs or complete duds in the lot. I like the different setting you chose this time, too.

    1. Thanks Margot. I was very happy with everything I read this month.

  2. Thanks for reading Poughkeepsie Shuffle, Col. And thanks for the kind words too.

  3. Gad, Col, 19 books is a serious workout! Your top three are on my list. And, yes, the Hailey cover is a good one. It looks like it is moving, even before you start turning the pages.

    1. Thanks Elgin. I hope you enjoy them when you get to them.

  4. Wow, that is a bit overwhelming. 19 books. My reading has slowed down so far this month, it took me 7 days to read Motherless Brooklyn even though I was enjoying it a lot.

    I agree with your choice of best cover. And you have reminded me that I want to read Dietrich Kalteis and George V. Higgins.

    1. Tracy, a week doing nothing on vacation really helped, otherwise it would have been a normal reading month. I wish I had holidays more often!

      I think I might have a copy of Motherless Brooklyn somewhere. One day...