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!

High Fidelity

By Nick Hornby

‘Do you know your desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups?

Rob does. He keeps a list, in fact. But Laura isn’t on it – even though she’s just become his latest ex. He’s got his life back, you see. He can just do what he wants when he wants: like listen to whatever music he likes, look up the girls that are on his list, and generally behave as if Laura never mattered. But Rob finds he can’t move on. He’s stuck in a really deep groove – and it’s called Laura. Soon, he’s asking himself some big questions: about love, about life – and about why we choose to share ours with the people we do.’

This very funny book is here.


The Complete Sherlock Holmes

Compiled by Simon & Schuster with an introduction from Robert Ryan

If you’re a keen Sherlock Holmes fan like me, then this is the book for you. Novels and short stories all in one place and neatly stored inside your Kindle. Who could ask for more?

You can find it here.


By Elmore Leonard

‘He was ready. Had passports in two different names, just in case. Saw a clear field ahead, no problems. Until the afternoon Buck Torres told him he was in trouble.’

No one tells a story like Elmore Leonard. This grabs from the first line and just keeps on grabbing.


You can find the book here.




The Pendragon Cycle

Taliesin (book 1) By Stephen Lawhead

Taliesin (book 1 of the Pendragon Cycle)

Taliesin (book 1 of the Pendragon Cycle)

Amazon description:

‘A magnificent tale which begins with the tragedy of Atlantis and the arrival in Britain of King Avallach. In this world, Celtic chieftains struggle for survival in the twilight of Rome’s power, and one heroic figure towers over all, the Prince Taliesin, in whom is the sum of human greatness. This is a tale of a love that spawns the miracle of Merlin and Arthur and a destiny that is more than a kingdom.’

See the series here.

The Impossible Dead

By Ian Rankin

Again, another excellent story by the man who ranks highly in my esteem and that of others.

The Impossible Dead follows Malcom Fox and his team of Internal Affairs. They’ve been sent to Fife to investigate whether fellow cops covered up for a corrupt colleague. But what should be a simple job is soon complicated by intimations and cover-up. A brutal murder has long lain hidden and it looks like it was committed with a weapon that should not even exist.

Fox feels he has a duty to get at the truth but when the body count rises the clock starts ticking, and he has no choice but to fight back when a dramatic turn of events sees him in mortal danger.


‘Immensely satisfying, bloody and constantly surprising’ Evening Standard

Faceless Killers

By Henning Mankell

Amazon Description:

‘One frozen January morning at 5am, Inspector Wallander responds to what he believes is a routine call out. When he reaches the isolated farmhouse he discovers a bloodbath.

An old man has been tortured and beaten to death, his wife lies barely alive beside his shattered body, both victims of a violence beyond reason. The woman supplies Wallander with his only clue: the perpetrators may have been foreign. When this is leaked to the press, it unleashes a tide of racism.

Wallander’s life is a shambles. His wife has left him, his daughter refuses to speak to him, and even his ageing father barely tolerates him. He works tirelessly, eats badly, and drinks his nights away. But now Wallander must forget his troubles and throw himself into a battle against time and against mounting racial hatred.’

Find the book here.


The Lizard’s Bite

By David Hewson

Author of The Killing – that incredible series airing on BBC 4 at the moment. Hewson was born in Yorkshire but most of his novels are set around an Italian detective, Nic Costa. Although, he does have an array of novels to his name that don’t feature Costa.

I came to his writing through the afore-mentioned series [The Killing] and I’m looking forward to reading more of his work. His historical research is very impressive and, although his prose is more ‘literary’ than a lot of crime authors [I’ve read] I found myself quickly immersed in the story.

A short synopsis:

“Things are looking up for Nic Costa and Gianni Peroni – their humiliating exile in Venice is nearly at an end, and their long-awaited holiday is about to begin. So when they are ordered to investigate an apparently open-and-shut-case, a fire in a glass foundry that claimed two lives, all they want to do is wrap it up.

But Costa and Peroni find themselves embroiled in a clandestine and dangerous investigation into the shadowy world that lies beneath Venice’s sparkling façade – where the usual rules do not apply.”

… Life was never black and white in Italy … something about the place both disturbed and interested him. Venice reminded him of a bad yet familiar relative, dangerous to know, difficult to let go …


*Buy the book here.

The Complaints

By Ian Rankin

‘The Complaints’ they’re the cops who investigate other cops. Malcolm Fox works in the Complaints and Conduct department, so he’s not a popular man. He’s just had a result, and should be feeling good about himself. But he’s got problems of his own.

Taking a break from The Game of Thrones epic with an intelligently written crime novel by Ian Rankin.

Diverting away from the Inspector Rebus novels – ‘The Complaints’ follows Malcolm Fox, Inspector within the Complaints and Conduct department – PSU (Professional Standards Unit) the dark side …

‘Fox is given a new task. There’s a cop called Jamie Breck, and he’s ‘dirty’. The problem is, no one can prove it. Fox takes on the job, and learns that there’s more to the Breck case than anyone thinks. This knowledge will prove dangerous, especially when a vicious murder intervenes far too close to home for Fox’s liking …’

An excellent cop novel full of action, good dialogue, well-crafted characters and an authentic backdrop.”  The Times