Book review: The Silent Companions, by Laura Purcell, 2017

This was a holiday, ‘I need something to read that isn’t too serious’ read, but to be honest it is not the kind of novel I would usually bother with, even notwithstanding the endorsement of the Zoe Ball Book Club. This is one of those novels where the book cover and blurb tell you almostContinue reading “Book review: The Silent Companions, by Laura Purcell, 2017”

Book review: The City and the City, by China Meiville, 2009

When reading this review, if you do, please remember my policy on spoilers – which is that I will probably use them. I don’t do so deliberately, I just find it hard to write comprehensively about something I have read without writing about the things that other readers might consider spoilers (bearing in mind of courseContinue reading “Book review: The City and the City, by China Meiville, 2009”

Book review: His Bloody Project, by Graeme Macrae Burnet, 2015

Subtitled Documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae (NB contains lots of spoilers) The Guardian described this novel as “a slippery creature indeed”. Having read this and some other reviews, I was expecting a modernist novel, in which the unreliable narration leaves the reader to piece together their own version of what ‘really happened’.Continue reading “Book review: His Bloody Project, by Graeme Macrae Burnet, 2015”

Book review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, 1966

Read in Abacus edition. This non-fiction novel (Capote’s term for it) describes the murder of the Clutter family, a mid-Western American family, and the subsequent arrest, conviction, and execution of their killers, Hickock and Smith. It’s a banal and senseless murder, and despite the meticulous way it is reconstructed by Capote he never really getsContinue reading “Book review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, 1966”

Book review: The Good German by Joseph Kanon

It is, I am fairly sure, just a coincidence that the books I have been reading recently have been about the second World War, and more specifically its aftermath. (Or is it? Is there something going on in my subconscious that is leading me to these books? Probably not!) This novel, a present, tells theContinue reading “Book review: The Good German by Joseph Kanon”

Supplementary: The Black-eyed Blonde – Benjamin Black (2)

A lot of the reviews of this novel praised the plotting, one going so far as to say it was better than Chandler’s. My impression on a first read was that the plot of the Black-eyed Blonde was fairly linear and straightforward, and Marlowe is something of a passive observer of the narrative rather thanContinue reading “Supplementary: The Black-eyed Blonde – Benjamin Black (2)”

Book review: The Black-eyed Blonde by John Banville/Benjamin Black

This should so have been a great find. A new “Philip Marlowe” novel written by John Banville, writing as Benjamin Black. Raymond Chandler is one of my favourite novelist (looking back, I see I put him at number 5 in my top ten, which is there or thereabouts), and John Banville is a Booker prizeContinue reading “Book review: The Black-eyed Blonde by John Banville/Benjamin Black”

Book review: The Drop by Michael Connolly

The Drop sees the return of Harry Bosch, Michael Connolly’s grizzled Los Angeles police detective. Bosch is said to have seen action in Vietnam, and this novel appears to be set in the present day, so he presumably is getting on in years. Having retired and returned to work he now extends his service usingContinue reading “Book review: The Drop by Michael Connolly”

Book review: House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

I would have thought that pastiches of the Sherlock Holmes oeuvre, of which this claims to be the first authorised by the Conan Doyle estate, would be one of the easiest to pull together. Each of the stories follows a fairly rigid pattern, and there are a series of boxes for any author to tickContinue reading “Book review: House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz”

Book review: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, 1939

Chandler is one of my favourite writers – top 5 at least, and pretty much everything he published is consistently readable. As such I don’t really have a favourite novel of his but if forced to choose it would probably be “The Big Sleep”. This is Chandler at his sublime best. Philip Marlowe, his iconic hardContinue reading “Book review: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, 1939”