Beast: evil in the east

If you enjoy the way that the recent Dracula TV series seamlessly merged gothic horror with modern sensibilities, then Beast is just the book for you. Like the recent reinterpretations of Sherlock and Dracula, this episode of Six Stories sucks the marrow out of the original literary classic – and concocts a potent brew mixed…

Best Crime Books 2019

The books we’ve read in the past 12 months have been packed with murder and mayhem, crime and punishment, despair and redemption – the very essence of the human condition, boiled down to brilliant crime-thriller fiction. We read more than 200 mystery and thriller books in 2019, from literary fiction by big-name bestsellers to dazzling…

The Closer I Get: social media stalking

A cunning stalker story about the perils of social media and becoming too involved with your audience, which features an author writing about being an author being stalked by a blogger, with both of them writing each side of their story. It’s nirvana for narcissists (and let’s not mention that the resulting book is now…

The Crow Girl: Scandi s-l-o-w

A great lumbering beast of a book, this one failed to grab me and – unusually – I bailed out after the first instalment (it’s effectively a trilogy in one publication). I found it long-winded, fragmented and unrewarding, veering between explicitly described violence (which I don’t mind so much if it serves a purpose) and…

Twisted: convoluted and clichéd

I know that an unreliable narrator, cliffhanger endings to every chapter and gobsmacking plot twists are all the rage right now. But Twisted proves that you can definitely have too much of a good thing. While attempting to be utterly unpredictable it becomes entirely implausible. You know from the start that you can’t trust the…

Changeling: smart and spooky

I owe the author, Matt Wesolowski, an apology. He probably put months of effort into Six Stories: Changeling, and I devoured it in a single day. It disappeared as rapidly as a double-pepperoni stuffed-crust deep-pan pizza. I simply wolfed it down, propelled through the pages by its oh-so clever construction, Wesolowski’s storytelling technique, the convincing…

The Book Of Mirrors: a warped whodunnit

An intriguing investigation into an unsolved cold case, The Book Of Mirrors deals with fragments of memory, conflicting perceptions, a whole host of unreliable narrators and a good old-fashioned murder in the library with a decent list of potential suspects. The author uses the format of a writer-writing-about-publishing which normally encourages me to flick to…