I read and enjoyed John Purcell’s 2018 novel The Girl on the Page. He’s also written erotic novels under the pseudonym Natasha Walker so doesn’t shy away from writing about sex – or more specifically (here anyway) the way people use sex – particularly for reasons other than pleasure.
I’ve only read one book by Colleen Hoover – It Ends With Us – and I very much enjoyed it. Hoover has had a bit of a cult-following for years but seemingly found a new audience thanks to TikTok (BookTok) over the past year or so. Her 2018 novel Verity is a departure from her usual work but very much in my suspense and thriller-loving wheelhouse.
I’d heard good things about this book since its re-release earlier this year but hadn’t been able to find my copy until this past weekend when I finally removed an array of debris from the back seat of my car!
So I finally dove in. I would have easily read this in a sitting as it’s not long but I’d embarked on something new in the slow cooker, so put it aside at about 3/4 of the way through, though it had gotten very exciting….
I don’t read much satire. I like humorous books, but usually tend to gravitate to those written in first person by someone who’s self-deprecating or where the narrative voice is snarky or sarcastic. Here Goes Nothing by Steve Tolz was a different kind of read for me. If pressed I’d describe the humour as ‘arch’ rather than funny, though note others have found it hilarious.
In fact… I’m not sure I enjoyed it. (As such.) But I must concede it’s good nonetheless. (And yes, I do think it’s possible to know/think a book is good without liking it.) It’s exceedingly clever and confronting. In terms of social commentary it reminded me of some of my recent reads by Inga Simpson, Sarah Foster and Mitch Albom.
I was struck today by my own mortality. Well, kinda. It wasn’t as if I became ill or my life was threatened in any way.
We had a labour day public holiday in my state in Australia. I think it’s also called May Day. And I was reminded of being in Lisbon (Portugal), during May Day marches in 1995. I’d only recently arrived so still familiarising myself with the city, where I stayed for almost two months to study Portuguese.
I’d heard a lot of good things about The Torrent by Dinuka McKenzie and now that I’ve read it, am happy it’s tagged on Goodreads as Detective Kate Miles #1 meaning there are more to come. Of course my finely honed deductive skills also noted the inclusion of a preview of book number two at the end of The Torrent, so….
McKenzie’s introduced us to an engaging lead in Kate and I liked the support cast we’d expect to see again – her husband, her work partner, her boss and her father. There’s a bit of backstory and baggage in relation to her father’s past but it doesn’t overwhelm the story unfolding here in any way which also includes a nice balance of the crime/s-at-hand and the usual personal stuff impacting on work lives – particularly that of cops’.
I loved Aoife Clifford’s first two books, All These Perfect Strangers and Second Sight so am not entirely sure why it took me so long to get to her latest release, When We Fall. I didn’t receive it for review but reading her books are no-brainers for me so I finally dragged myself to the store to get a copy… and I wasn’t disappointed.
Like Second Sight, it’s an atmospheric read and Clifford captures small seaside living well. And… the book opens with a bang, grabbing our attention with a macabre discovery. If I knew more about fishing I’d make some clever analogy about hooking we readers and reeling us in, given the fishing-village-like setting, but sadly I got nuthin…
The Way from Here by Jane Cockram divided some of my friends. I have one who loved it and one who didn’t really enjoy it at all. Sadly I’m probably closer to the latter. It dragged a little for me. I suspect the fact that the early stages of the plot were a bit all over the place, were supposed to reflect the state of mind of 19 year old Susie… pursuing one guy, then another when that didn’t work.
But it felt a bit scattergun. I wondered if Cockram was a ‘panster’ (writing by the seat of her pants) and letting the book take her where it wanted – unsure what story she wanted to tell or what sort of book it was to be. Things become clearer and the pace picks up, but not really without becoming overly-complex at the same time.
Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold took me by surprise. I’d planned on allocating just a short time in the bath to read, but ended up dining on biscuits and chips because I remained in there (topping up with warm water once or twice) until I was finished.
Interestingly (or not) this is the third of fourth book I’ve read this year featuring crimes committed by juveniles…. later released and given new identities. I’m not sure if it’s suddenly topical or perhaps it’s just a sign that increased access to technology and information means that it is harder to keep things secret in the 21st century.
I’d basically decided two weeks ago that I would indeed go to England in late July to attend the Old Peculier Crime Writers Festival. I decided it was a no-brainer. “Life’s short!” I told myself as I contemplated the idea of a 2-3 week holiday to look forward to. I sent an email to the organisers to book an accommodation package for the festival.
And then I checked some Covid-related insurance information. Read some fine-print. It seems not everything is covered and I pondered the likelihood of something unforeseen happening before then, or while I’m away.