It’s been a long time since I read a Harry Hole book. I picked this up because I wanted something a bit more procedural and standard after “King”. This was ideal for that, a really fast paced and at times very dark thriller-mystery.
King of The Crows
What an ambitious book! Very big, very heavy and very different. While it took a while for me to get into the story, so overwhelming was the scope, by the end of this I was fully invested in the Crows and the police bringing them to justice.
Strange that this book falls under more comfort reading, given the horrifying subject matter, but John Connolly books never fail to entertain me, and this was no exception. Small scale, but brutal, this is dark fiction at its best.
So Long And Thanks For All The Fish
I needed some comfort reading at the start of this year. So I went back to my Hitchhikers collection. On reading this, though, I realised that I haven’t got this far before. As always, this is a crazy journey, although as it’s based on Earth it feels a lot more grounded. You know, flying aside.
Steal Like An Artist
This was a quick read, which definitely is a consequence of this being an expanded blog post. However here brevity is not a bad thing, as it gets to the points and gives a number of actions that are easy to implement, which other books often forget. It inspired me to continue investigating others work, and to keep learning.
I’m a fan of Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden trilogy, and picked this up on the strength of those books. Far more down to Earth, this read like a warning of an all-too-plausible future. Beckett manages to pull off a tricky near-future setting, with numerous links to the present day, and takes logical steps over the future of social media, political discourse, and climate.
The Snow Song
I devoured this story. Totally unlike anything I’ve read for a long time, everything about this book just worked. I loved the setting and the main character, and have reserved a permanent place on my bookcase for it.
A Very Fahrenheity Christmas
Some short and sweet Christmas tales from various celebrated authors. Despite their age, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. It goes to show, quality never goes out of fashion.
Say Goodbye When I'm Gone
Stephen J. Gold
A brutally violent noir tale, which jumps between characters, time periods and locations at a blistering pace. Sometimes reading like a collection of different stories that shared a character or two, I would have liked to spend more time on the history of the ‘big bad’ in Hawaii. I really enjoyed the writing style and the setting and look forward to reading more from the author.
This is How You Lose The Time War
Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
An interesting, twisting novella that really drew me in, after I’d wrapped my head around the format. Two rival factions constantly fighting throughout multiple realities gave the writers a massive playground and I can feel the fun they had exploring it through the text. I did struggle initially to follow the narrative as the format skipped between prose and letters, but feel rewarded for my perseverance.
My first read of a Don Delillo book, and I was mesmerised. I wonder if the underlying messages were lost on me, but this thorough examination of death, the messages around it, and what it means to face up to them really made me think. My favourite character? The Nun in the penultimate chapter.
Write. Publish. Repeat.
Sean M PLatt, Johnny Truant, David Wright
It’s taken me a long time to get back to this, as I struggled with it the first time. Not because the advice isn’t great – there’s some really good thoughts in here on marketing and staying away from trends and fads – but because it’s underwritten by the just write loads message, which just makes me feel guilty about my output.
As I’ve moved into more short fiction recently, and following a recommendation, I picked this up on Kindle. A quick but insightful read, I plan to apply the tricks within to some of my own work. Less of a ‘how to write’ and more of a ‘how to write this.’
My first taste of this writer. I got this because I wanted to see how an experienced writer went about world building. It turns out, with a heavy dose of ‘mentor and mentee’ for the first few chapters. The pace of the story never gives up, and even when the characters are ‘learning’ there’s still a lot of conflict.
The Vital Abyss (Novella)
James S.A. Corey
I can’t get enough of The Expanse, and I went through this novella as quickly as any of the other books. The main character, who it took me longer to place in Expanse world than it should have, is well written and it offers a interesting back story to one of the most devious characters in the series.
Short snappy sentences are the order of the day in this sequel to the excellent Rubicon. While the plot for the sequel wasn’t as tight as the previous book, the main character is one of the strongest I’ve seen in similar stories.
Imaginative and ambitious, this is a mammoth book that I very much enjoyed. The stylistic changes alone make this a must read, and I enjoyed seeing an author at the top of his game balance the different genres within the book.
Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race
A powerful book with an important message, I can tell this book will impact on my thinking . The writing is also excellent, urgent and persuasive, but never too complicated lest it detract from the message.