Mini book reviews and other literary things

I had the most amazing time at West Sussex Writers’ Club! If the assembled members enjoyed themselves even half as much as I did, then a good evening was had by all. Now I’m looking forward to judging their romantic novel opening competition.

I do have something I wish I could talk about, but I can’t yet, so I won’t. Prepare to be amazed at my reticence when I finally can though!

Books I’ve read this week:

Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill, published by Soho Crime

A thoroughly entertaining crime caper, with deft dialogue and fascinating insights into the revolutionary cycles of Laos, a country of which I know nothing but with which am now enamoured. It’s sharper and more cynical than Alexander McCall Smith’s Botswana crime novels, but similarly affectionate in many respects. Dr Siri is the only coroner in Laos, a (reluctant) shaman of sorts and a rather disreputable old man, which makes him an excellent central character for a crime novel. I found the beginning of the book a little over-larded with back-story (it’s the fourth in a series) but by a third of the way through I was actually laughing out loud – not a normal behaviour for me when reading fiction! Highly recommended.

50/50 Killer
by Steve Mosby, published by Orion

The premise of this novel is at first hard to accept – a serial killer who captures couples and makes one partner declare that the other should be the one to be tortured to death, but Mosby certainly makes it work via some complex head-hopping and deft reveals and twists. The narrative becomes progressively darker and is definitely not one to read if you’re in doubt about the quality of your relationship or hearing strange noises from your loft! The pace is excellent, and the final scenes are beautifully handled, and nothing like the usual ‘case closed’ denouement that often feels a little pedestrian. Highly recommended.

Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord, published by Gallic – full review to follow next month.

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood, published by Vintage Classics – book club assigned book for discussion next week, review to follow after club meeting.

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