Sunday 5 June 2022


April's top additions and none of the authors have been read before. 
Exciting reading times ahead!

Hannah Sward - Strip: A Memoir (2022) - review copy Edelweiss - Above the Treeline

I do like some non-fiction on occasions and if I'm going down the memoir-biography-autobiography trail I'd rather read about someone who has survived some hardship and lived a tough life, than a vacuous ghostwritten Celebrity nonsense book. I'll make an exception for the odd sports biography. 

Born in the bohemian seventies, Hannah Sward was abandoned by her mother, and lived with her father on an island with no stores or cars. Kidnapped and molested by a stranger at age six, she grew up to be a stripper and a prostitute with a taste for crystal meth. (Which at least seemed like a surefire way to lose weight.) Strip is a hilarious and heartfelt memoir of one woman’s journey from innocence to a darker world, and beyond it to growth and grace. (With stops along the way for silent gurus, Iranian and Orthodox sugar daddies, foot fetish work, and drinking in the CVS bathroom before therapy sessions.)

Max Talley - Santa Fe Psychosis - review copy from Dark Edge Press

American south, a PI novel, people trafficking - tough themes, but what's not to like?

Jackson Bardo, an out-of-work Private Investigator, is summoned to New Mexico by his ex-girlfriend. Her life is being threatened and she needs money. But he doesn't have enough when he arrives. And days later, she disappears.

Joining forces with his friend, Police Detective Diego Juarez, the pair set out to find her.

During their search, Juarez is given the job of locating a missing teenager. But the discovery of another girl - dead - leads them to uncover a child trafficking operation.

Clay Wise - Whiteout (2021) - Audible purchase

I've never actually read or watched anything in the EMP genre, but it does hold a fascination for me. Jeez, who would want to be thrown into a society without home comforts and gadgets and where you need to survive on your wits and not become prey to predators? Not me. 

*What is EMP fiction?
For fiction books featuring the use of EMPs that lead to partial or complete loss of electricity, often leading to a post-apocalyptic setting (though not always).

During the coldest winter on record, an EMP sends American back into the Stone Age. It’s been a week without power. No phones. No computers. Nothing. As the crisis unfolds, one family seeks sanctuary from the cold on the city's outskirts.

Jason Mosberg - My Dirty California (2022) - review copy from Edelweiss - Above the Treeline

Another one that looks like a cracking read, as does Mosberg's early offering Grift.

In this literary thriller, a young man descends into the Los Angeles underworld to find his family’s killer—aided by a group of strangers with their own shadowy pasts.

When Marty returns to Pennsylvania after living in California for ten years, he’s happily welcomed by his father and older brother, Jody. The joyful reunion is short-lived. Two days later, Jody enters the house to find his father and Marty shot dead as their masked killer flees out the back door. Without any answers from the local police, Jody heads to Los Angeles looking for who murdered his family and why.

Soon, he finds a trove of strange videos recorded by his brother that leads him into the city’s most dangerous corners, where he comes up against drug dealers, crooked cops, surf gangs, and black-market profiteers. As his investigation expands, it also intersects with Pen, a documentary filmmaker who suspects humanity is living in a simulation and that her missing father found a portal to escape; Renata, an undocumented immigrant who might have evidence to support Pen’s theory; and Tiph, a young mother whose desperate efforts to support her only child via a stolen art stash could prove the key to answering all these mysteries.

My Dirty California is a cinematic, suspenseful, intricately plotted thriller that explores the darker side of the glamorous Golden State.

C. J. Box - Vicious Circle (2017) - local book drop box - swapped for about 6 finished titles!

C. J. Box is one of those authors whose books and series characters look amazing and that I reckon I would enjoy and I buy them if I cross paths with them, but which I never seem to actually read.

See also Craig Johnson, T. Jefferson Parker, Thomas Perry etc etc (though I have read some Parker and Perry albeit a while back)

The past comes back to haunt game warden Joe Pickett and his family with devastating effect in this thrilling novel from #1 New York Times–bestselling author C. J. Box.

The plane circled in the dark. Joe Pickett could just make out down below a figure in the snow and timber, and then three other figures closing in. There was nothing he could do about it. And Joe knew that he might be their next target.

The Cates family had always been a bad lot. Game warden Joe Pickett had been able to strike a fierce blow against them when the life of his daughter April had been endangered, but he’d always wondered if there’d be a day of reckoning. He’s not wondering any longer. Joe knows they’re coming after him and his family now. He has his friend Nate by his side, but will that be enough this time? All he can do is prepare...and wait for them to make the first move.

Frankie Boyle - Meantime (2022) - review copy from Net Galley

A bit of fiction from Marmite comedian Frankie Boyle. I quite like him myself, though I have to say he has over-stepped the mark on a few occasions in the past.

The exhilarating, hilarious and gripping crime debut novel from Frankie Boyle.

Glasgow, in the aftermath of the Independence referendum, is a strange place.

Marina Katos' body is found in a park, and the police don't seem to know or care who committed the crime. 

In a haze of tranquilisers, hallucinogenics and Valium, Felix McAveety decides to solve the murder of Marina, his best friend. But to break through his drug-induced fog and get closer to the truth Felix enlists the help of a dying crime novelist, Jane Pickford, and his crisis-ridden friend Scott. 

Their quest takes them into the dark heart of Scottish politics, the orbit of drug dealers and the matrix of AI, encountering Independence activists, the intelligence services and stalkers as they seek justice for Marina.

Meantime is a wild ride through Glasgow's multicultural present and examines its colonial past. It's dazzingly funny, grappling with big ideas and is heartbreakingly tinged with personal and political loss. 


  1. All those authors are new to me, too, except C. J. Box. I've read more of his short stories than his novels, but I've like everything of his I've read. I love the cover for STRIP, but I'm a sucker for palm trees and old-fashioned signs.

    1. It is a cracking cover for Strip isn't it. I suppose I ought to break my Box duck sooner rather than later!

  2. You've got some interesting choices here, Col. I like Box's work, so that one caught my eye immediately. And like you, I do enjoy non-fiction at times, so that one looked interesting, too. Hope you'll enjoy them all.

    1. Thanks Margot. I hope I enjoy Box's work, but maybe not too much! Otherwise the pile will just grow...

  3. Strip sounds like an interesting journey...