|Since lockdown, like many readers, if social media is anything to go by, we have reached for those authors we love like a comfort blanket to wrap around us. It has given me an opportunity to sit and read those books by beloved authors I haven’t got around to and fill in those annoying gaps. So far, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, Reginald Hill, Colin Dexter and James Herbert have crossed my path and I am currently catching up with Elizabeth George’s ‘Careless in Red’ which came out back in 2008!! So many books to read, especially when you’re spoilt for choice as a reviewer and having to keep up to date with the new books, some of my favourites have slipped through the net, so this is the perfect opportunity for me to catch up with authors’ books I love and have got a little behind!
I hope that whatever you’re ready, the escapism of a good book is helping you to get through this difficult and bizarre time we are all finding ourselves in. On a good note, I read that one high street retailer has announced that their online book sales have leapt up by 400% since the lockdown. Now that can only be good news. I hope that the mix of old and new books presented here will entice you to try something old, something new, but hopefully not something blue!
Author of the Month is Iain Maitland and his astonishing psychological thriller, The Scribbler. Maitland’s book finds a new department that investigates cold crimes involving the LGBTQ+ community. Their first case is one from the late 1980s and killings by a man the newspapers tagged ‘The Scribbler’. He disappeared as quick as he surfaced, now thirty years later there is another death – this one with the hallmarks of The Scribbler that were never released to the press. Has The Scribbler been dormant all these years, or has he been quietly killing without anyone knowing? Gayther and Carrie now try to bring this criminal down. This is a tense thriller I raced through and I am sure you will agree with me.
Fresh Blood this month stays with Firewatching by Russ Thomas. Based in Sheffield, this is a gripping and fiery debut that will have tearing through those pages like an inferno. DS Adam Tyler is not the best at communicating with other people, including fellow officers. Tyler really is on his last warning. Then , a body is found in the cellar of the Old Vicarage, someone who has been missing for six years. That is when the fires begin… I swallowed up this book and I am sure you will, too!
Reviews this month includes a number of new writers alongside established writers. They include Joe Thomas, Ani Katz, Julie Wassmer, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles plus a few crime classics from Georgette Heyer, Colin Dexter and Reginald Hill plus many more.
Classic Crime will feature P.D. James and A Taste for Death. I have been re-reading James’ books in order (as a reader I am sure you understand…), and this book, in my opinion is when James took a big step up and became such an important part of the crime fiction genre. People really only know James for her Dalgliesh books, but A Taste for Death arrived after a ten year hiatus for Dalgliesh, and boy, did he come back in style. For me, this is one of the standout books James’ wrote and the point I feel Dalgliesh stamped his mark forever in the Hall of Great Fictional Detectives.
Events features the books by Ted Lewis who many of us will know through the Michael Caine film, Get Carter. The Empress of Noir herself, Cathi Unsworth has written what is basically a love letter to Ted as two of his books, GBH and Plunder are given gorgeous covers. If you haven’t already, Lewis is definitely an author to investigate, read and cherish.
My Lockdown Top Ten features new reads we have reviewed since January 2020 and ones I have suggested would be perfect to entertain and enthral you during the lockdown. I am certain you will find a gem or two here for you. I know we loved them!
To check out all our past reviews use the Review Archive. Search under author surname and author Christian name if you can’t recall the surname. And for good measure you can also search under the title of the book. Simply click on the box at the top of the page and then click on to the letter of the author/title you would like to find. As you will see, we have reviewed a huge number of books during Crimesquad.com's thirteen years. Have a wander round our archives and I hope you will find something you might have missed first time around!