Crime reads

I do so love my crime reads – enjoy most type of fiction actually, but crime (and associated thrillers) are by far my favourite. It’s all that suspense, intrigue and what I call “shadowy bits” that gets me in. Those pieces that you can’t help but find engrossing, intriguing and addictive!

Of course I have some favourite authors, they’re always the ones that tend to get (and keep) you involved from the first page, the first paragraph and often even from the very first line.

For instance, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, Sue Grafton, Tess Gerritsen, David Baldacci, Lynda La Plante, Denise Mina and Lisa Gardner – there’s more of course but these are currently my top ones. YES, my favourite authors do change a little from time to time – it depends a little on mood, time available to read and ‘flavour’ of the content.

Curiously, have you ever detected how many of the great crime writers have a background in either law or journalism? Do you reckon it says something about those two professions?

Our own Scot Denise Mina, as well as such famous authors, as John Grisham and David Baldacci (absolutely loved his Camel Club series) and . I’m not going to list all the former (or even current) lawyers for you who are crime writers, its fun to look it up and discover for yourselves. Besides I’m feeling lazy today!

Of course there’s fascinating exceptions to the lawyer/journo rule with authors such as Kathy Reichs, a qualified and practising Forensic Anthropologist, as well as best selling author. Fascinating to look at what makes some authors tick and what life experiences they have to put into their novels.

Sue Grafton, of ‘Alphabet Books’ fame (starting with “A for Alibi”, with the latest one out being “V for Vengeance”), is an author I have enjoyed from the first paragraph of her first book. She is so easy to read, so relaxing and you can put the book down and pick it up later without having to re-read pages to pick up again on the story.

The writing is easy, relaxed, not super deep and sophisticated but fun and entertaining. I’ve read them all and still have most of the copies.

What in hell am I going to do when she arrives at “Z” I have no idea.

LEE CHILD

Love, absolutely love Lee Child – he’s British although he’s currently mainly resident in the US. His real name is actually Jim Grant – prefer Lee Child myself. He’s another one of those rare authors whose books are definitely in the “they grab and hold you from the first sentence” books. They have been for me anyway.

As any fan of Lee Child’s books can tell you, his main character is called Jack Reacher. Let me tell you how Childs gave him the surname of Reacher. Lee (or I should say Jim who is over 6’3” tall) was in a supermarket in Cumbria when his wif e said to him “Hey, if this writing thing doesn’t pan out, you could always be a reacher in a supermarket…”. He simply thought “Reacher” that’s a good name. Even if this story isn’t true (and I think it is) it’s a great tale in itself.

I love the character of Jack Reacher – he’s different. Somebody does a very bad thing and Jack simply takes revenge in his own different, and quite often, fascinating way.

One thing I just cant understand though is why they chose Tom Cruise (who we all know is very short) to play Jack Reacher, who is portrayed at about the same height as Childs himself – 6’3” and a muscular, rough and tumble character. All things Tom is not – totally unsuitable – crazy! It nearly turned me off the character – well it did for a while but eventually I got over it!

DENISE MINA

“Blood, Salt, Water” is a good read by Denise Mina. Its set in the Scottish town of Helensburgh. Some poor woman gets beaten to death on the orders of a crime boss, while in Glasgow at the same time, the police muck things up somewhat in a (seemingly) unconnected case.

These two stories may well be separate of course, but naturally they come together. Cant say anymore as I certainly don’t want to spoil the story for you!

I hate those people that do that. I even had a woman on a plane once who asked me if I had read a certain book and when I responded that I’d just started it, responded by telling me the ending! Can you believe that?