I don’t know if autumn made me more miserable and miserly, but only five books to add to the list from September onwards:
An Instance of the Fingerpost – Iain Pears
I love an unreliable narrator, and this uses a combination of them to tell the whole story, each one distinct and seeming of their era whilst remaining understandable today. All the characters come vividly to life, and there’s a genuinely surprising ending.
Water for Drowning – Ray Cluley
Cluley’s great feat is to get a moving and sensitive narration from a callous and self-centred character, who reluctantly emerges from his hedonistic lifestyle onto a journey of self-realisation. The outcome is all the more heartbreaking for its inevitability, but if you want cheering up, the breathless and audacious Shark! Shark! follows immediately after.
4 Stars (although extended to 5 with the inclusion of the bonus story)
Eeny Meeny – M.J. Arlidge
The archetypal page turner, played out at a breakneck pace (I read the whole thing, over 400 pages, in one day). The lead character has deep complexities but remains believable, while Arlidge pulls no punches in putting her and her team through a deadly ordeal, nor in depicting the nastier side vividly and graphically – he seems to show a Wasp Factory influence in certain scenes, with maybe even a touch of the Saw movies too.
High Moor 3: Blood Moon – Graeme Reynolds
This wraps up the trilogy in fitting style with a bloodthirsty denouement which is unflinching, yet somehow uplifting, even as the body count soars. And the epilogue, bringing the story right up to the present day, delivers a topical and worthwhile message with typically wicked humour.
Coming Together in Verse – Edited by Ashley R Lister
A heady mix of the poetic and the explicit, with a wide variety of styles and subject matter, stimulating mind and body alike. It’s a big honour for my horcrux to be in with so many big names and emerging talents.