While the wheels spin ... I'm reading.

One of the things they never tell you about becoming a writer, is that you're going to have to deal with the books and stories of other writers. By which I mean, people you know, and like, will get stuff published - and you are going to have to go and read it and then say something about it. It's only polite, after all!

But ... oh, the big but! Suppose you don't like it, or it's badly edited, or you think it's a thinly plagiarised version of another work that wasn't much cop to begin with? You might think that's not very likely - but the more you write, the more writers you meet, and the more you meet, teh more likely it is that you're going - one day - to have to front up to a writer whom you love dearly but whose work you detest utterly.

What you do then, I don't know. But I do know that this kind of fear goes through my head whenever I pick up a book or story by a writer I've met.

Today though, is not that day. I am reading A Gentle Axe by R. N. Morris. I know R. N., he's bought me a drink - and let me tell you, it's a huge relief and a great pleasure to tell you that I sat up until after midnight, reading this novel. It's about as ambitious as it gets, given that it lifts the detective from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and puts him in the middle of a mysterious new murder case, but it works, it really works, and if I don't finish the book tonight, it will be because an Act of God prevented me. So congratulations R N, and if anybody out there is looking for an atmospheric page turner ... look no further.


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