My January Reading - a variety of novels with an emphasis on crime

Author: Anne

Date Published: Feb 1st 2018, 9:52pm

January has been a cold, grey month with added ice and snow – not particularly exciting. I haven’t done a huge amount of interesting things but I have read a number of interesting books; 27 in total. They have been of a variety of genres with about one third being crime novels and five being non-fiction. That is reasonably normal for me as I read a lot of crime novels in and amongst the other types and I am trying to read more non-fiction. The majority of my reading was electronic but I did read eleven paper books and two audio books (yes, listening to books on audio is reading).

I was amused to see that most of the books I read and virtually all of the crime novels were part of series; I particularly enjoy series novels as I like to follow the same characters through various adventures and feel that I get to know them. I was also interested to see how many books this month were set in different locations.

Here are the books I read this month which I recommend. Most of them have been published quite a long time so you should be able to get them quite cheaply :

• “The Killing Room” by Peter May. One of his set of crime novels set in China. Excellently written but I wished I liked the main character more – she annoys me a lot.

• “Heart Sick” by Chelsea Cain. Another crime novel, set in America this time, and the start of a new series. It is a bit gory so best avoided if you like your crime cosy.

• “The Drowning” by Camila Lackberg. This crime novel is set in Sweden and is one of a series. I haven’t read any of the others but I may search them out. Be warned though, I found the solution to the mystery implausible.

• “A Cold Day for Murder” by Dana Stabenow. This is a re-read for me and is the first of this excellent crime series set in Alaska.

• “Blue Afternoon” by William Boyd. This book is mostly set in the Philippines. I enjoyed reading it as he includes lots of themes such as early flight, architecture and developing surgery with a murder mystery and a romance at the heart of the plot. Sadly he doesn’t conclude most of the story lines and the ending is inconclusive which I didn’t like. This is a standalone novel.

• “The Song of the Quarkbeast” by Jasper Fforde is the second in his children’s series about an orphan who runs a job agency for wizards. It is great fun. It is the first of this list set in Britain even if it is an alternative Britain where magic works.

• “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese is set in Ethiopia. It is a long book and I found it slow going. It is the story of twins and their complicated story with the background of political unrest. It was interesting but long.

• “Black and British” by David Olusoga. This is my non-fiction choice of the month. It’s a fascinating account of what it has meant to be black in Britain over the centuries. Fascinating stuff.

Just to finish, the quirk of the month is two books I read with very similar titles :

• “Abandon” by Blake Crouch is set in the Gold Rush era and in modern America and is a thriller with a sizeable dollop of horror (I didn’t know this before I started it !)

• “Abandoned” by Cody McFadyen is one of his crime novels featuring an elite FBI team who always seem to end up being threatened personally by the perpetrator. It’s a bit gory, as is all the series.