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Me “Under The Blue Umbrella” from Mr Mercedes by Stephen King

It’s been two weeks since I made the journey up North to Harrogate, and it already seems a world away, and yet at the same time, for now at least, and for reasons both good and not so good, it’s not a festival I am going to forget in a hurry.

Following the opening party on Thursday night, I took a spill on the hotel steps, and ended up spending the early hours of Friday morning in a local accident and emergency department, before returning to the festival to spend the rest of the weekend making my way around on crutches.

After last years proposal, this was a source of some merriment among some of the more regular festival goers who were keen to discover what the plan was for next year to ensure that everyone attending knows who I am….  Still as can be seen from Col Bury’s Harrogate write up, I wasn’t the only one to leave the festival with more than a few bruises.

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The Harrogate Book Haul.

So the not so good news is I’m still suffering quite a lot of pain, although I’m walking around unaided, but being positive, injury aside,  I still managed to come back from the festival with an impressive amount of books, mainly due to directing my friends between events and giveaways by means of a waving crutch.  I now have a great excuse to spend all my spare time with my feet up and I’ve plenty to keep me busy for a while, all I need to do is remember to post my reviews!

Also as I was once more attending the festival as a representative of CrimeSquad.com, the website run by the fabulous Chris Simmons for whom I also review and report for, I was lucky enough to spend some time in the company of both Hakan Nesser and Arnaldur Indridason, two fantastic gentlemen, who were both an easy delight to talk too – You can read my interviews with both of them over on the CrimeSquad.com Harrogate Microsite

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A tired me, a very smooth looking Hakan Nesser

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Arnaldur Indridason. Awsome man, fabulous books

A Book A Day, Sunday Wrap Up #3

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M is For

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Missing You by Harlan Coben, master of fast paced novels where the hidden pasts of ordinary people come back to haunt them with a killer twist at the end. Guaranteed thrillers.

N is For

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Natural Causes by James Oswald.  First of the so far four strong Inspector McLean series, fabulous reads that keep getting better and better.  Carefully pictured here with what James calls a Heilan Coo cushion, because when he’s not writing he breeds these handsome cows.

O is For

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On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle, if you like a good coffee and your crime a little cosier, head over to this coffee shop mystery series.

P is For

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Payback by Kimberley Chambers.  Welcome to the East End of London, where even your family doesn’t always have your back…

Q is For

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Quentin Bates.  Author of the Icelandic based novels featuring Officer Gunnhilder.  Frozen Out is the first in this series atmospheric, dark and intricately plotted masterpieces.

R is For

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Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason.  Another Icelandic based series, the 10th of Indridasons books to be translated into English sees us going back to the roots of my favourite damaged detective, Erlendur.

S is For

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Sorrow Bound by David Mark. The third dark outing for DS Aector McAvoy.

My best books of 2013

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You see what I did there? Top Five & Top Ten book lists are great don’t get me wrong, but what happens if I can think of six standout books of the year or can only get up to say four, or nine? and how do I say one is so much better than the other that it deserves to be No 1 and the other No 5?

So here in no particular order and of no significant number are the books I read this year that have left enough of an impression on me that I consistently recommend them to anyone who asks what they should read.

The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

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To paraphrase an old catchphrase when it comes to The Cry, “Ignore what it says on the tin.”  I’ve recommended this book to a lot of people, even lending my own copy out several times.  Most have read the synopsis on the back and said “it’s not for me.”  To them all I have said one thing, “trust me, just read the first few chapters…”  It’s all I’ve ever needed to say.  The book has been devoured and enjoyed by everyone.  It’s one of those times when the old adage rings perfectly true.

“never judge a book by its cover.”

Dead Gone by Luca Veste

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I was privileged enough to be given a copy of Dead Gone by Luca back in July and whilst the paperback isn’t out until next year, the e-book is already available so I’m personally classing it as a book of 2013.  Don’t be surprised however to see this touted around everywhere next year as a ‘book of 2014.’ Expect to hear it talked about a lot, it is simply that good.







Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason

20131219-081658.jpgIf this is the only Indridason book you ever read you’ll be disappointed, not at the book per se as it’s a decent standalone but at the fact I recommended it.  The reason for that is simple, this is a book for hardened Indridason fans, only if you’ve followed this series from the beginning can you appreciate it in its fullness for its completion of a story.  Compare it to being a devoted fan of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot then finally reading ‘Curtain‘ and you’ll have an inkling at just how great this book really is.



The Stranglers Honeymoon by Håkan Nesser

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Apparently The Stranglers Honeymoon is book nine of ten Inspector Van Veeteran books and the latest translated into English.  I say apparently, because I’d never read one before.  The good point is I really didn’t need to have read them to enjoy this.  The better point?  I’m now in the middle of sourcing the other eight.

Northern Lights

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No, not the Phillip Pullman book, the real thing.  This weekend sees me travelling to Iceland for its first ever festival of crime fiction, IcelandNoir.

With Arnaldur Indridason as the Guest of Honour I’m really looking forward to catching up with friends old and new, and discussing my favourite genre of books.

There are plenty of other things to look forward t swell, as there is enough time to get in some sightseeing, in particular going on a hunt for the Northern Lights, fingers crossed we find some.