Covid-19, Traditions and of course books…..

Standard

I’ve had for as far back as I can remember, a reading related habit. Every time I was in an airport, I had to buy a book. In my early years it was whenever I went with my Mum to say goodbye to my Uncle, who lives in Canada, and had been over for a visit. When I began travelling myself I kept up the tradition. Every time I went on holiday I would buy a book. When I went to Florida I bought a Jack Higgins novel which my Dad said he we like to borrow once I had finished reading it. I passed it over to him at the end of the flight. Another time I bought the latest Lee Child, and again ended up leaving it behind at the hotel for someone else to read, as I had finished it. The time that sticks in my mind the most though, resonates more than ever at the moment.

I was going on holiday with my family, and true to form I bought myself a book to read on the plane and while I was away. The book I bought was Airframe by Michael Crichton, an author I had long enjoyed, and was about a mid air incident on a flight. My Mom, couldn’t understand why I would want to buy such a book when I was hours away from getting on a plane. I never thought about it at the time, it was just a book I fancied reading by an author that I liked.

I’ve recently revisited this line of thought however, with my current choice of reading. The first book, was Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama, a story around a massive plane crash and the impact it had on those who had to regularly climb a mountain to the crash site, and of those who had the report the news every day. It was a book I picked at random because again I like the author.

Then, I decided I needed to re-read Day Four by Sarah Lotz. On Day four of a luxury cruise, the ship becomes stranded in the middle of nowhere, with everything on board from the lights to the toilets systematically shutting down. After all the stories of stranded cruise ships due to Covid-19 it felt, well…

That was when I remembered how much I love the dark writing of Sarah Lotz, so next up was her book The White Road, where an adrenaline junkie has a close call whilst caving, and when his video of the tragedy goes viral, ends up trying to beat the ratings by climbing Mt Everest, where, well let’s face it, it all goes a bit pear shaped. It’s quite the unnerving tale, and as fascinating it is to read it has also peaked my interest in the real life adventures and mysteries that surround the mountain and those risking it all to get to the top, which has given me something else to investigate during the lockdown.

Finally, staying with the mountain climbing theme, I re-read Michelle Paver’s Thin Air. Another ghostly tale of how things can go badly wrong when climbing. This one I have on audio book rather than physical, and I can only say one thing. Don’t listen to it on your own, late at night. You will not be able to sleep afterward.

Now I’m off to read Sarah Lotz The Three, about four simultaneous plane crashes and their four survivors, because, you know, I’m sensing a bit of a theme here…

The ubiquitous end of year wrap up.

Standard

Well that’s 2014 over, and what an amazing year that was!

CF14-Reportage-42

Picture by Fenris Oswin – Fenris.co.uk

Of course the highlight for me will always be my now fiancé proposing to me at the end of a panel during this years Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate. He couldn’t have chosen a more fitting venue and I will be eternally grateful to the 2014 festival chair Steve Mosby, and the rest of the festival planning committee for helping to make this happen.

Not only that but, I’ve also got the good fortune of being able to re-live the moment whenever I want, as the download of the panel itself (In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream) is available to buy from the festival website and the recording has his proposal (although not my squeaked out answer) on the end of it. That £3 purchase was definitely one of my best of the year!

Fn-Scott-Jo-03

Picture by Fenris Oswin – Fenris.co.uk

That was closely followed by appearing with friend and crimesquad.com editor Chris Simmons on this year’s ITV3 Specsavers Crime Thriller Club TV show. Not only did we have two fabulous days out in ‘that London’, meeting new and interesting people, catching up with author friends and laughing with Bradley Walsh, we also WON.

Closer to home it’s been great for me to see this blog really start to increase its traffic (I’m still hoping to break that magic 1,000 followers before the end of the year – sitting at 976 as I write) and getting the opportunity to participate in the blog tours of some brilliant crime reads…

wpid-screenshot_2014-10-21-11-12-03-1.pngBlood Dimmed jacketV Coverwpid-screenshot_2014-10-25-02-49-51-1.png

Then of course there were also these fabulous books

 

20140527-165933-61173231.jpgLand Of Shadows – Rachel Howzell Hall

I have read several highly accomplished debut novels this year, but this is one that sticks in my mind.  Homicide Detective Elouise Norton is someone I’m keen to hear more about. Tough and driven, yet at times insecure.  With a fascinating setting on the ever changing border of a gentrifying Los Angeles, it’s a great debut.

wpid-screenshot_2014-09-11-00-59-25-1.pngThe Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins  

“To everyone else in this carriage I must look normal; I’m doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lists.

Just goes to show”

 Not published until Jan 15th 2015, I am jealous that so many of you have such a fabulous book yet to read and experience.  I urge you all to grab it as soon as it comes out, as I guarantee it’s going to cause quite a stir.

V CoverVendetta – Dreda Say Mitchell 

In a distinct change of direction to the race against time thriller, Mitchell has produced a gripping read, with cracking characters, storylines and a great deal of style this series could really see her giving Simon Kernick a run for his money.

wpid-2014_07_25_08.24.01.png Dead Men’s Bones – James Oswald

The fourth and latest of Oswald’s books featuring Detective Inspector Tony McLean. With its supernatural twists on the standard police procedural, this is one series that just gets better and better with Dead Men’s Bones proving to be the best yet.

wpid-screenshot_2014-12-27-19-55-13-1.png
The Killer Next Door – Alex Marwood

Dark, chilling and impeccably plotted, it’s an interesting insight into the secrets that lurk behind closed doors, how little notice we all take of the world around us and asks the question just how well do we ever really know our friends and neighbours? 

These few aside there a are plenty more delightful, intriguing and thrilling books out there, and many of those that are currently featuring on an awful lot of top 10 lists this year are staring at me mournfully from my on the verge of collapse to be read pile.  I’m looking forward to being able to sit down and catch up with just a few of them over the coming months.

My end of year tally for books read came to a grand total of 123 missing out by more that I would have liked, on beating last years total of 130, so I’ll be going all out to exceed both of these numbers next year.

Here’s looking forward to and wishing you all a fabulous, book filled 2015.

A Book A Day, End of month wrap….

Standard

One is for

image
One Kick by Chelsea Cain.  After six successful novels with her serial killer / detective duo, Cain is back with a new character and a new direction. Famously kidnapped at age six, Kick captured America’s hearts when she was rescued five years later. Now, twenty-one, she finds herself unexpectedly entangled in a missing child case that will put her talents to the test. 

Two is for

image
Two For The Dough by Janet Evanovich.  The second in the now 25 book strong (including between-the-numbers novels) series featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.  Madcap capers, romantic entanglements and explosive adventures are packed into every single one.

Three is for

image

The Three by Sarah Lotz.  One of the best books I’ve read all year.

Four is for

image

Four of my favourites. Without returning to the Stephanie Plum series, I couldn’t find a book for four, so instead I picked four of my favourite books of the year so far. Dead Men’s Bones by James Oswald, The Girl On The Train by Paula HawkinsCrooked Herring by LC Tyler and The Fire Witness by Lars Kepler.

Five is for

image

Five by Ursula P Archer.  In which our author takes a popular hobby, gives it a macabre twist, and produces are thrilling game of cat and mouse.