Thursday, May 12, 2016

No books, please - I'm writing

Do you avoid reading mysteries when you're writing them?

Are you kidding? I'd never have any time to read them! I'm on the second first draft of the year, which means I've been writing since Christmas and I've read fifteen crime novels in that time  . . . because I had to.

I had to read some because I said I'd blurb them if I liked them.
I read, liked, and blurbed:
  • Judy Penz Sheluk's Skeletons in The Attic because what's not to love about a book with a dead-or-alive hook and an old house that's getting gussied up too.
  • Susan Spann's The Ninja's Daughter: which I might not have, because I'm Rumsfeldian in what I don't know about Japanese history. Boy oh boy, I'm glad I did. I can still smell the food.
  • Tammy Kaehler's Red Flags which I absolutely would have because when I had to read Simon Woods' Aidy Westlake motor-racing books  I found out I loved this theme. And I loved this book.
  • Cynthia Kuhn's The Semester of Our Discontent. An accurate enough portrayal of academic life to give me flashbacks to the bad old days of working in a university, but worth it.

Others I had to read because I was moderating the authors on a panel:

  • Nancy West Smart But Dead Best. Title. Ever. And a masterclass on putting hard stuff (genetics) in a lighthearted story.
  • Terry Shames The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake. I would have read this anyway; I've read every word Terry has written but this way I got to call it working.
  • Triss Stein Brooklyn Graves. As above. Every word. And Triss's description of the next book sent me straight to the dealers' room.
  • Carla Buckley The Good Goodbye. You know how you love Lisa Scottoline and Joy Fielding and yet somehow you manage not to have read an author who writes those books and does it so well you kind of hate her? That.

Or I had to because I was interviewing the author:

  • Ann Cleeves Silent Voices
  • Ann Cleeves The Moth Catcher
  • Ann Cleeves (re-read) four of the Shetland novels.

Guess who I was interviewing.

Yet others I had to read because we were all on the Mary Higgins Clark shortlist together and ...well, I had to:

And the rest I had to read I had to read because I'm breathing: Robert Galbraith Career of Evil,
Karin Slaughter Pretty Girls, and Harlan Coben Fool Me Once.

That leaves just one:- Charlaine Harris's Night Shift. I had to read it because what's the point of having it in your mitts two days before it's even published (because you bought it at Malice) if you don't show off on the plane home?

The woman in the seat beside me didn't care but one of the cabin crew was filled with envy. That's all I ask. I think Night Shift might be my book of the year so far. I'm in deep denial that this third installment is truly the end, though.

What have you read so far in 2016 that's made a big impression?


Kristopher said...

Those are some great books, Catriona. Readers will be pleased taking your advice on any one of them.

As for what I have read that blew me away, I'm going to go with Clare Mackintosh's I LET YOU GO. I read the UK version late in January and here we are in May and I am still recommending this book. Of course, the official US release just recently happened, so that makes some sense, but I would be praising this book if one had to go to Mars to get a copy.

I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. If she manages to pull off another twist like the one in I LET YOU GO, I will be ecstatic.

Cathy Ace said...

I'm always waaaay behind with my reading so forgive me if the book I've most enjoyed reading this year is a title folks have already gobbled up: don't blush when I say "The Child Garden" by Catriona McPherson, either. I was "there" as I read it...thanks for that immersive experience Catriona!

Art Taylor said...

Wow! Your reading list is impressive! I'm not sure how you keep up.... A great list!

Catriona McPherson said...

I second that, Kris. I read it last year when my mum sent me the UK one. Wow.

RJ Harlick said...

I'm impressed too by your list, Catriona. My best read so far this year is Vicki Delany's latest Constable Molly Smith book, Unreasonable Doubt.

Susan Spann said...

Thanks Catriona!! I'm so, so glad you liked it, and thank you again for the fantastic blurb! It's truly special when an author whose work you love enjoys something you've written.

I adored LITTLE PRETTY THINGS too (and QUIET NEIGHBORS is lights-out fantastic, while we're mentioning amazing crime fiction!).

Cynthia Kuhn said...

Catriona, I just saw did I miss it? Sigh.

Thank you so so much for reading and liking (and for your generous blurb). It means a lot coming from you--I'm SUCH an admirer of your books!

Enjoyed quite a few of the ones you list here and have just added others to my TBR list...