I can hardly believe 2011 is almost over.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a plunge into the icy waters of nostalgia for the year just gone; I need to save something for next week’s post... (just kidding). But it’s been a year of change and incident.
It’s also been a year of great books, and plenty of them.
Mostly it’s been new titles by well-loved authors: J D Robb, Lee Child, Reginald Hill, and not forgetting Terry Pratchett’s unique take on the country house mystery. And many more besides. But I’m always open to adventure. And in a tiny bookshop in the ancient city of York I discovered Meg Gardiner. Not literally, and actually not for the first time; I met Meg at CrimeFest in Bristol couple of years ago (for the uninitiated, it’s kind of Bouchercon for Brits, on a smaller scale). But until this summer the only book of hers I’d read was China Lake, the first (I think) of her Evan Delaney series. I enjoyed it a lot – but not as much as the Jo Beckett series, which gets better and better. I’m hoping Santa will come up with the only one I haven’t read, which, stupidly, is the first!
Another discovery was J A Jance: a prime example of the sub-genre in which someone with no connection whatever with crimebusting somehow gets entangled in something that takes them (and the reader) on a rollercoaster ride.
And at long last, after years of not getting around to it (so many books, so little time), I finally delved into Laura Lippman. And will be delving again.
Not forgetting, of course, a certain E J Copperman, who I discovered back in June in a bookshop in Flagstaff, Arizona, and who can’t produce new titles fast enough to satisfy my craving... Have a word with him/her, would you, Jeff?
Finally, not a new discovery by any means, but a recommendation to anyone who hasn’t yet sampled the delights of 18th century England: Chris Nickson’s Cold Cruel Winter has been getting stupendous reviews all over the USA. I told this guy he was going places when he sent me his first novel about three years ago; if he doesn’t break into the big time in the next couple of years, the book trade really does need to take a long hard look at itself.
Enough for now. We celebrate Christmas in this house in an unashamedly traditional manner, and I still have gifts to wrap, goodies to bake, a tree to decorate (though that won’t happen till tomorrow when my no-longer-so-little girl comes home for the holiday.)
Wherever you are, whatever and however you celebrate to brighten the bleak midwinter, I hope it’s a good one.