Sunday, December 16, 2018

Some of My Reading Faves - by Brenda Chapman

Question: Okay, let’s have it, your end-of-year reading recommends. 

Seasons Greetings, everyone.

This week’s question has me thinking back over the books I read this year, and I have to say that there weren’t that many. I’ve spent most of my time working on a manuscript, editing a second and travelling. So, like Paul D. Marks who gave his classic book picks last week, I’m selecting a few crime fiction series from past reading that I enjoyed and believe you should have on your list. There are many, many other series that I enjoy, but hopefully a couple of these aren't as well known by those of you reading this blog!

I'll start with the series that had the greatest influence on me as a writer. I remember reading Elizabeth George’s A Great Deliverance and being blown away by the plot and writing. I’ve since read every book (with the exception of the last one) in her police procedural series set in London and featuring Inspector Lynley and Barbara Havers. The books were made into a tv series, but in my mind, the books still are the gold standard. 

A local independent bookstore owner recommended Adrian McKinty's series starting with The Cold Cold Ground a few years ago. Since then, I've read his entire Detective Sean Duffy series with the exception of his latest The Detective Up Late - I resolve to read it in the new year! Adrian is a British novelist and critic born in Northern Ireland and his detective Duffy is a Catholic cop working in Belfast during the troubles in the 1980s. Lots of wise-cracking but gritty writing that keeps you turning the pages.

Liza Markland is a Scandinavian writer whose protaganist Annika Bengtzon is a journalist trying to balance career and family. The first book in the series The Bomber is set at Christmastime in Stockholm. Annika is woken at 3 a.m. to take photos for the morning paper of a bombing at the new Olympic arena. Annika sets out to uncover who and why and puts herself into danger. The books develop her as a character and make for fascinating reading.

So I've taken you to London, Ireland and Stockholm. Back in Canada, Giles Blunt wrote a series that I highly admire featuring cop John Cardinal. The books are set in fictional Algonquin Bay, reminding me of the Northwestern Ontario town where I grew up. In Blackfly Season, a woman wanders out of the woods with a gunshot wound to her head and no memory of how she got it. Like all the books I enjoy, there is a balance between the personal lives of the protagonist and the crime under investigation, and the writing draws in the reader. 

And to round off my list, let's go back overseas to Yorkshire and Stuart Pawson's series featuring Inspector Charlie Priest. My husband put his first book The Picasso Scam into my Christmas stocking and I was hooked. I was sad to learn that Stuart died a few years back and know he's greatly missed by all his friends in the crime writing community. The books have a lot of humour and make for great escapist reading. I spent many a happy hour following Charlie Priest around on his escapades.

So that's it for me this 2018! thank all of the authors who make up 7 Criminal Minds for inviting me to contribute my ideas every other Monday and to you, the readers who take the time to check in every week. I wish each and every one of you a magical holiday season with some books on your gift list ... especially crime fiction books ...

Facebook: BrendaChapmanAuthor
Twitter: brendaAchapman

The first in my Stonechild and Rouleau series :-)


Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks for the list, Brenda. It's always interesting to see what other authors are reading.

7 Criminal Minds said...

I'm looking forward to reading yours too, Dietrich! Warm Christmas wishes to you.

Paul D. Marks said...

Good stuff, Brenda. Some I'm familiar with and others not. But as Dieter says it's interesting to see what others like to read.

7 Criminal Minds said...

Thanks Paul - it is fascinating to see which authors other authors read for pleasure and inspiration.

Susan C Shea said...

I saw the TV series based on Liza Markland's books, which started with the novel you mentioned.

7 Criminal Minds said...

Ooohh - didn't know they'd been made into a tv series. Was it well done?