Posted in My book problem

On My Bookshelf – What’s In a Name?

On My Bookshelfv1

Following on from yesterday’s post where I gave you a peak at some of my bookshelves I have decided to extend the theme and show you more – yes there is more!

I have endured a lot of mocking about my reviews over the years, chiefly from my brother who on discovering them on Amazon felt the need to add helpful comments on random reviews. These comments are chiefly made up of ‘in jokes’ and will make no sense to anyone hoping for enlightenment, something that is gratifyingly noted by the number of people who thinks it adds to the discussion!

One of the latest objects for mirth is my ‘Five of the Best’ posts, which was initially prompted by my son, who insists that what I read in a certain month can’t possibly be of any help to anyone – after all a book I read in February has no relevance to what someone else will choose in February – I take all this on the chin and tell myself it is done out of affection.

However all this mickey taking got me to thinking… and I give you an excerpt of an early comment on one of my book reviews. The book I was reviewing was written by Sophie Hannah:

Probably also the kind of person who only reads books by people who have surnames as first names like Clive Michael or Betty Richards – don’t bother looking them up as I made them up as I’m not that kind of person myself –  although I once did have a surname as a first name but now I don’t as I changed it about three weeks ago for a first name to another name with a first name afterwards so it’s not a hypocritical thing to say at all…

So if you can disentangle the last part of that sentence you will deduce that my  maiden name is also a surname which is a first name… so today I am spotlighting five authors who have first names as surnames and currently sit on my bookshelf! That’s got to be helpful right?

Sophie Hannah – I have read all the books in the Culver Valley series which are very clever puzzles, one was too obscure for this reader, and although I haven’t enjoyed them all, I do like to see what direction the author will take us in next.

My review for book nine in the Culver Valley series: The Telling Error

Sophie Hannah1

Peter James – Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of this series, not least for another name detail, Roy Grace’s wife is called Cleo! Peter James delivers consistent well-told tales including his latest book You Are Dead which is out later this month.

Peter James 1

Agatha Christie – probably the author that started my trend of reading books by people with surnames that can be first names. I love Poirot and his little grey cells and here are three 1970’s editions published by Fortuna!
See my review of One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Agatha Christie 1

Graeme Cameron – the newest author to join this special gang has created a serial killer with a wicked sense of humour in Normal

Graeme Cameron

Sarah Hilary has created a fantastic protagonist in Marnie Rome (perhaps my next post should be characters who have countries for names?) while simultaneously covering difficult issues in this immensely readable series.

See my review of No Other Darkness Sarah Hilary

So today’s challenge is to tell me who sits on your bookshelf with a first name as a surname!

Tune in next time and you might be lucky and find a useful link between my chosen books although this can’t be guaranteed!

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Normal – Graeme Cameron

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

Written in the poorest possible taste Normal follows the life of an unnamed serial killer as he hunts and brings down his prey. Don’t read this book unless you have a black sense of humour, which I fully admit to possessing but even despite this there were parts of this book that had me wincing.

I must confess I’ve read lots of books about serial killers, watched the entire eight seasons of Dexter so consider myself saturated in the horror and in some ways this book read like a pastiche of all these elements. Enter the super-intelligent, forensically aware killer outwitting the local police with his finely honed skills. We are given the barest whiff of an unhappy childhood that has accentuated his lack of compassion for his fellow human-beings although this reader suspects the seeds were already sown and then the killer finds someone who makes him feel things he has never felt before.

The enjoyment of this book is down to the humour which when directed towards the less-gruesome parts of the plot had me chuckling out loud:

It was with trepidation, then, that after a long afternoon on the road I found myself in something called “New Look”, uncomfortably unsure of what I was looking for and, indeed, at…

…The Staff was no help – two girls of around school-leaving age, preoccupied with inspecting their nails. They were big on teamwork where the customers were concerned; it took one of them to ring up each sale, and the other to fold and bag the merchandise. A single trained chimpanzee would perhaps have been more cost-effective. Needless to say, neither saw fit to offer me assistance, and I was left alone in my bewilderment.

“Like I said,” somewhat less convincingly,” I’m not going to do anything you wouldn’t approve of.” It was probably a lie, but on the other hand, I knew Annie only marginally better than she knew me, so there was always a chance that she was perfectly open-minded. One can always hope.

However I was far more disconcerted by the humour that appeared when our narrator was stalking women or deciding what to do about his latest catch, for me it felt like a step (or two) too far. To be fair there isn’t too much gruesome violence although this is far from a tame book, the author’s intention appears to be to push the reader far outside their comfort zone whilst simultaneously providing entertainment, for me this worked for the most part but did leave me feeling a little uncomfortable. To keep the story moving the author allows us to see our killer at his most vulnerable as he starts to develop feelings for a woman, this in turn causes him to see the futility of his lifestyle and he, almost, wants to change but will life conspire against him?

With an open-ended finale I wonder whether this may spawn a sequel which to be honest I will just have to read or perhaps it will be made into a TV drama?

I’d like to say a big thank the publishers Mira who sent me a copy of this unique book for review purposes. Having finished this book I find that Graeme Cameron’s sense of humour extends to his amazon profile which states that he has never worked as a police detective, ER doctor, crime reporter or forensic anthropologist, so now you know!

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (April 1)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading Disclaimer by Renee Knight which is due to be published on 9 April 2015

Disclaimer

Blurb

What if you realized the book you were reading was all about you?
When an intriguing novel appears on Catherine’s bedside table, she curls up in bed and begins to read.
But as she turns the pages she is sickened to realize the story will reveal her darkest secret.
A secret she thought no one else knew. NetGalley

I have just finished The Ladies of the House by Molly McGrann

My review will follow shortly but you can read the opening paragraph in yesterday’s post.
The Ladies of the house

Next I am planning to read Normal by Graeme Cameron

Normal

Blurb

He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him.
What you don’t know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will—one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.
This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal… and it works. Perfectly.
Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room… the others. He doesn’t need any of them anymore. He needs only her. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem—he still has someone trapped in his garage.
Discovering his humanity couldn’t have come at a worse time. Goodreads

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments box below.

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 30)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Just one find from NetGalley this week, a book I couldn’t resist as I have waited a long time for another read by this author; When We Were Friends by Tina Seskis following on from One Step Too Far and The Serpentine Affair

When We Were Friends

Blurb

It had always been the six of us.
Since we met at university twenty-five years ago, we’d faced everything together. Break-ups and marriages, motherhood and death. We were closer than sisters; the edges of our lives bled into each other.
But that was before the night of the reunion. The night of exposed secrets and jagged accusations. The night when everything changed.
And then we were five. NetGalley

My only concern is that this sounds a lot like the plot for A Serpentine Affair…

I also have a copy of Normal by Graeme Cameron courtesy of Harlequin Books, the paperback is due to be published on 9 April 2015.

Normal

Blurb

The truth is I hurt people.
It’s what I do. It’s all I do. It’s all I’ve ever done.
I’m not NORMAL.’
He is the man who lives on your street. The one you see in the supermarket and nod hello to.
He’s also a serial killer. Killing is what he’s good at.
He’s the most compelling antihero since Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley.
And you’ll want him to get away with MURDER. Goodreads

From Orenda books I have a copy of The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul E. Hardisty to read before publication on 8 March 2015

The Abrupt Physics of Dying
Blurb

Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s oil-processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is as it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead. A stunning debut eco-thriller, The Abrupt Physics of Dying is largely based on true events – the horrific destruction of fresh water and lives by oil giants. Gritty, gripping and shocking, this book will not only open your eyes but keep them glued to the page until the final, stunning denouement is reached. Goodreads

Finally I have a copy of the latest book from Rachel Abbott, having loved her previous three books, the latest being
Sleep Tight. Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott is due for publication on kindle on 24 February 2015, paperback in May 2015.

Stranger Child

Blurb

One Dark Secret. One Act of Revenge
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically their six year old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all her lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Tom and Emma to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger. Maybe theyre right?

 

What have you found to read this week? Do share.