The Cuckoo’s Calling

By Robert Galbraith (aka J K Rowling)

I’ve been working my way through the Cormoran Strike series – three books but hopefully more in the pipeline.

JK Rowling is an impressive writer. I wanted to see how well she could carry off a crime fiction novel and read with interest. One thing Rowling excells at is characterisation. Cormoron Strike jumps off the page. He’s a very likeable bloke with baggage (aren’t we all?). The ‘drunk’ scene is particularly memorable: funny and sad all at the same time. He’s the kind of man you’d want on your side and be pleased to have him as a mate.

The story itself is well done, the mystery of Lula Landry’s death nicely drawn. A decent twist at the end. All in all, a good, well delivered tale.

The Cuckoo’s Calling

 

The Silkworm (Book Two)

For me this was much better than the first book. We get to learn more about the main character Cormoron Strike with some lovely characterisation, and quite emotive back story filtered in nicely without detracting from the main plot. His partner in detective is Robin and she’s a good supporting actor – we get to learn more about her fiancée and wonder why … (well, I did ).

Anyway, I liked how the story developed, slow build up, but in no way laborious. I was kept guessing right to the end, which is quite a feat (I’m usually there well before the end).

The Silkworm

Looking forward to reading the next installment – Career of Evil.

 

Case Histories (Book one of the Jackson Brodie Series)

By Kate Atkinson

I confess, I’ve fallen for this author. I love the way she writes – everything about it: the style, the language …

Anyway, I’m working my way through the Jackson Brodie series – spacing them out because I really don’t want to come to the end!

Right, now for the review (for what it’s worth).

This is unlike any other crime fiction novel I’ve ever read …

After considering the above thought, I wondered about when the idea that a crime novel should be written in a particular way, and more to the point, how it had become my mantra; who had planted that seed in my head? Was it to do with the fact that the much loved and adopted formula (by so many crime writers) for writing this kind of story was a winning one? Probably, and who would want to stray from the success of it? I came to the conclusion that it was no one other than myself, who had taken to heart that every crime novel I’d ever read was the way to do it, and made this my ideal way – the only way – to write crime.

Well, not any more. The fact I sat and read this book, aware it didn’t follow the norm, but also under no illusion that it was damned fine writing, and was completely hooked.

There’s no question Ms Atkinson can write and tell a good story, but I want to thank her for helping me to think outside the box (and someone else, who shall remain nameless, for pointing me in her direction).

It’s never too late to wake up and smell the roses.

Case Histories

The next installment is One Good Turn, which I also devoured – hardly taking a breath (well …).

Book three:  When Will There Be Good News awaits …

 

The Casual Vacancy

By J K Rowling

I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books, which probably sounds odd to those who’ve buried themselves in the series. If I hadn’t stumbled across The Casual Vacancy in a charity shop I’d probably never have read that either. But JK Rowling is legend, right? I may not have read HP but I watched all the films and enjoyed them. And I’d heard a lot about this book, so, I bought it and started reading it and couldn’t put it down.

The Casual Vacancy is a wonderful study of human beings and the society we live in. It conjures many emotions: amusement, sadness, distaste, shock, horror … the list goes on. I never thought reading about a fictional town and its inhabitants would stir me as much as this book.

JK Rowling is an excellent writer and great storyteller.

The Casual Vacancy.

Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson

 

I came to this book by accident. I first looked at A God In Ruins and liked the feel of it, saw it was linked to this story and decided to read this first. I’ll be honest and say it took me at least fifty pages to actually settle into the book, however, once there I lapped it up. The writing is wonderful, the style engaging. It’s probably the first book I’ve read of this type and certainly the only one I’ve read that makes women knitting sound interesting!

I was drawn in by the premise and I think Ms Atkinson pulls it off really well. Captivated by the different turns in Ursula’s lives … where destiny takes her and seeing how they all turn out – and suddenly I couldn’t put it down. The ending was satisfying, but I was waiting for more. It’s one of those books that could on go forever, exploring different streams of Ursula’s mortality/immortality.

Almost everyone I know wants to believe there’s more to the human condition than just this one life. I guess we’ll never really know, eh?

This book is an excellent read, I couldn’t put it down!

Pick up Life After Life here.

 

A God in Ruins is the follow-up book to Life After Life and follows Ursula’s brother Teddy, here we learn how his life pans out; WW2 and his participation in it. There are moments of brilliance – sadness coupled with humour, making you laugh when in fact you feel like crying. It’s in the skill of the writing nothing more and Ms Atkinson certainly has a lot of talent for it.

Available here.

Tooth And Nail

By Ian Rankin

Have been promising myself to read the full set of ‘Rebus’ books by Ian Rankin and I’ve just finished the third in the series.

Rankin is a master of crime fiction. Good snappy writing, well paced and inventive. The story and plot lines are simple yet not easily worked out, which makes them ‘unputdownable’. I read non-stop, intent on getting to the end of Tooth And Nail (originally entitled: Wolfman). And what an ending.  Both suspenseful and witty. I was literally laughing out loud while at the same time biting my nails.

As a writer of crime fiction, I’m learning a lot from reading Rankin’s books. From the first book: ‘Knots And Crosses’,  it’s interesting to see how Rankin’s writing improves with each book. Extraneous narrative has been cut, leaving the reader with the bare bones of thriller writing.

‘Tooth And Nail’ is set in London. Rebus is requested to join the murder team in London to help catch the serial killer known as ‘Wolfman’.

Here’s the book description:

“Because the first body was found in Wolf Street, because the murderer takes a bite from each body, the press have found a new terror, the Wolfman…

Drafted down to the Big Smoke thanks to his expertise in the modus operandi of serial killers, Inspector John Rebus is on a train south from Edinburgh. His Scotland Yard opposite number, George Flight, isn’t too happy at yet more interference. It’s bad enough having several Chief Inspectors on your back without being hounded at every turn by an upstart Jock. Rebus is going to have to deal with racial prejudice as well as the predations of a violent maniac. When he’s offered a serial killer profile of the Wolfman by an attractive lady psychologist, it’s too good an opportunity to turn down. But in finding an ally, he may have given his enemies an easy means of attack.”

*Buy the book here.

‘Strip Jack’ next. Can’t wait!

Discoredia

By J C Michael

This book was one hell of a ride, literally. Written with great authority and knowledge about the world of raves and drugs … the author takes us on a journey into darkness where the only concern is getting high.

In steps a man, no ordinary man, to take advantage of the situation. New Year’s Eve is drawing close and he has a pill, no ordinary pill, and what better place to use it than at the new night club owned by Warren Charlton.

Great characterisation and a fluid writing style make this book an extraordinary experience – one not for the faint-hearted.

Be prepared to be thrilled, repulsed but spellbound …

You have been warned.

You can view the book here and here.

Find out about the author here and follow him on Twitter.