About this time last year my former blogmate Dale Spindel (hi, Dale; hope you had a great Christmas, if that’s what you celebrate) declared December Read a New Book Month.
I read at least one new book every month, which made December a normal month for me, at least in that particular respect. But it gave me an idea. So I made a New Year resolution. And whaddya know, I’ve kept it!
At the end of January I made a note of my book of the month: the stand-out title out of everything I’d read that month, with a couple of lines to remind me why. In February I did the same, and March, and... you get the picture.
So since not a lot else happens at this time of year to interest blog-followers, here are my first six books of the month 2012. The rest will follow next week, when even less will have happened, since the UK shuts down between Christmas and New Year.
The Woodcutter Reginald Hill
The brilliant and totally delightful Mr Hill died in 2012, to the enormous sadness of a huge number of people. Rumour hath he’d delivered a new Dalziel and Pascoe, which we’ve been promised in 2013, so this stupendous standalone wasn’t quite the great man’s swan song. But it’s a soaring triumph of a novel nonetheless. I’d go as far as to say it’s the best of the best; I’ve read about seventy percent of his output, and I’ve never read a better. He’ll be sorely missed.
My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You Louisa Young
This isn’t a crime novel; I do read other stuff. I’d planned to give it to my mother, but a quick flick through it got me hooked, and anyway I concluded it’s not really her kind of thing. It was nominated for awards, which I normally find a turn-off, but I’m very glad indeed that I read it anyway. I enjoy books about the 1914-18 war, and this was a new twist on a familiar subject, with characters I wept for and didn’t want to leave behind.
The Shadows in the Streets Susan Hill
This series goes on getting better. Her minor characters live and breathe, and the leads feel like old friends; what woman with normal instincts could fail to fall a little in love with Simon Serrailler? It had an ending that made me hold my breath in horror.
New York to Dallas J D Robb
Every new Eve Dallas is a treat; this stood on the shoulders of the others. Sometimes the familiar rises to new heights.
One Was a Soldier Julia Spencer-Fleming
This too. Julia reached a new level with this one. She’s not afraid to show all the warts of her lead characters, and we like them the more for it.
Old Haunts E J Copperman
This was a fun read, just when I needed one. Back from a fortnight’s holiday, unexpectedly jetlagged, the ironing pile looking mountainous – and I could escape to the Jersey Shore. It was like being back on holiday, give or take a murder or two. Thanks, E J.
More next week.