Several books got away without a proper review last year – and not just ones crammed in at the end to try to scale my Mount TBR.
I try to keep up my reviews here and on Goodreads as I go, and then remember to post on Amazon UK in batches. But some of these got lost along the way… usually when I couldn’t fit in the review amongst those already scheduled. That’s certainly the case for the first two.
The ones that got away from reviews in 2019
Raven Black (Shetland Island #1) by Ann Cleeves
A crime mystery set on one of the Shetland Islands (hence the series name). Ann Cleeves has also the much celebrated Vera series to her name. Having started with The Seagull, I thought I’d see what this series was like. This time a male protagonist, Jimmy Perez, a detective who’s trying to decide whether he’s in the right place and doing the right job, after escaping from a similar role in Edinburgh. It’s a bleak story (bleak seems to be how most Shetland stories turn out) with plenty of red herrings and misdirection. Definitely a good series for crime fans, Shetland fans, and anyone who needs a good book to devour. Maybe I prefer Vera, but Jimmy’s not bad.
Starry Night by Rhonda Parrish
Having sampled Rhonda’s hospitality through her many anthologies (Equus, Grimm, Grit and Gasoline) I took her up on the opportunity of a free copy of this novella. I have fond memories of it, but nothing very clear, except that it was post-apocalyptic scifi, but definitely scifi when it came to the ending. Probably means it’s spec fiction, then! I know I enjoyed it a lot – does one need to say any more?
Shirley Link & the Party Poopers (Shirley Link #4) by Ben Zackheim
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first three Shirley Link books (mg cosy mystery). Shirley’s skill at solving the local crimes means she’s always in demand from the grown ups when things go wrong. This was like picking up an old friend. Unfortunately I think Ben stopped writing them because he’d run out of good ideas. I know the feeling. Read the other Shirley Links, they’re great. Either that or I’ve lost my humour mojo.
Moving on to books squeezed into the last part of the year….
Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19) by Janet Evanovich
If you haven’t read any of the Stephanie Plum series, then it makes sense to start with number 1. I read through to somewhere between eight and twelve when I was living in a road with a library at the end, i.e. more than twelve years ago. I picked this up at my mobile library, to keep it in business.
These are good fun crime-type books with a touch of the absurd. Stephanie is a crime solver who works as a bounty hunter, catching people who have skipped bail, in the main. She has a complicated love life, of the likes that Lindsay Buroker makes for her protagonists (e.g. Amaranthe & Sicarius).
I really enjoyed Notorious Nineteen, like picking up an old friend. Reading other people’s reviews I seem to have done something clever, which is to skip a dull patch in the series. My advice is: if you are reading the series, and start to find them dull, skip to 19.
The Christmas Question (Pismawallops PTA #4.5) by Rebecca M Douglass
The eagle-eyed among you will recognise three things: this novella follows Death by Library; I’m a fan of the series, and also a beta reader. Despite having beta read this one before it was released to Rebecca’s mailing list as a Christmas gift (an incentive to get on that list, if you aren’t already), I still settled down on Christmas morning to read it on my iPad before getting up. A Christmas present indeed. I love it, not just because I love all the characters. The story is written with all Rebecca’s customary charm and wit.
Revelation (The Merlin Chronicles #1) by Daniel Diehl
There have been a huge number of Arthurian inspired novels around recently (since 2012, at any rate) and this is one of them. I didn’t really get on with the author’s style, which tends towards over-explanation, and realised I have had enough Arthurian legend fanfic. I felt it could have done with a good edit. Given my copy is five years old, a good edit may have happened since, so don’t let me put you off. Some of the ideas in it are good. As it is, I ended up skim-reading it.
The last one to slide into my 2019 round-up is The Ninth District, by Douglas Dorow, but for various reasons, not least that I’ve had it since 2012, I think I’ll give this one a page of its own. It’ll suit a day when I want to reminisce about my first 7 years on Goodreads.