November Reads; Crime Fiction Pick of the Month
What a wonderful month of reads it has been: a promising mix of both quality and quantity, despite lots of business travel and a drop in reviewing capacity. Plus a good representation of women writers, which is not always the case every month!
I have had the pleasure of discovering some debut or nearly-debut authors. By ‘nearly-debut’, I mean authors who are perhaps on their third or fourth book but have yet to be picked up by a publisher or who have only just been translated into English. I have mentioned the first four of these in my feature on 5 Women to Watch Out For in 2014 on Crime Fiction Lover
Celina Grace: Requiem Self-published author with a solid police procedural and engaging characters.
Jonelle Patrick: Idolmaker Celebrity cult and tsunami in Japan – just love the setting of this series.
Helen Smith: Beyond Belief Fun escapism (despite the body count), excellent use of humour and irony, gently mocking spiritualism, credulity and conferences everywhere.
Alex Marwood: The Killer Next Door So well known by now, that she barely qualifies as a nearly-debut author! This is Alex Marwood’s second book, a psychological thriller with a sad twist about the unmissed and unwanted people of a large city . I’ll be reviewing it shortly in more detail for CFL, but it’s an intriguing story set in a seedy London boarding house (I’ve known a few of those during my student days). I will never feel the same again about blocked drains!
Other Crime Fiction
Georges Simenon: Pietr the Latvian Going right back to the first Maigret novel in this wonderful initiative of reissuing one novel a month by Penguin Classics. Big, burly, solid and eminently reliable, Maigret is his wonderful laconic self, springing fully-formed from his creator’s mind.
Helen Fitzgerald: The Cry Thank you, Rebecca Bradley and the other Book Club members for inciting me to read this gripping and very emotional read about a couple losing their young baby, and the aftermath in the media, the courts and within the family home.
Marne Davis Kellogg: The Real Thing Elegant crime caper set in Cary Grant/Grace Kelly territory on the French Riviera.
Hanna Krall: Chasing the King of Hearts Achingly haunting, low-key emotions in a pared-down, but never simplistic language. Almost unbearably sad ending – yet so realistic. A beautiful book. just when you thought nothing more could be written about the Jewish experience during the Second World War.
Sam Riviere: 81 Austerities A debut collection by a young poet, which I picked up on impulse at Foyle’s in London. By turns prosaic, witty, funny and sad, this is an eclectic collection of glass-clear observations and surprising combinations of words and insights. The pyrotechnics of youth, certainly, but also lots of substance and depth.
Fouad Laroui: Une année chez les Français Witty and brave take on cultural differences, as a young Moroccan boy embarks upon a year of study at a French boarding-school in Casablanca. Perfect description of the innocence and cluelessness of the boy from a country village, absolutely charming yet with sharp (sometimes sad) observations about assumptions of cultural superiority. An anthropologist’s dream.
And my Crime Fiction pick of the month, a meme hosted by Kerrie over at Mysteries in Paradise? Very, very tough choice, as there were at least 4-5 of the above I could have picked. In the end, I opted for ‘The Cry’ by Helen Fitzgerald.