Thursday, November 21, 2013

Recent Reads: Tami Hoag, Michael Connelly and others

When I started this blog, I assumed I would post book reviews, something which up to now I have been remiss in doing. The problem is that I love to read so much that reviewing each book read would seriously cut into my writing time. Besides, writing a well thought out review is a skill in itself and not one that I feel particularly adept at.

Given books play such a large part in my life, however, I would still like to include mention of books I’ve read on this site, so I’ve decided that I will do an occasional post about my recent reading choices and whether I enjoyed them or not.

There’s nothing better for a reader than finding a new-to-you author who you discover has a long backlist of earlier books. This happened to me recently when I came across Tami Hoag’s Down the Darkest Road. I enjoyed the book so much that I immediately went to the library and borrowed a couple more of her titles: Deeper Than The Dead and Dark Horse. With more than fifteen or so titles still to work through, I hopefully won’t be short of fabulous reading material for some time!

Other books I’ve read recently include:

Winter of The World – Ken Follett
 After reading Fall of Giants, I was so looking forward to this book. I had really got caught up in the characters and their stories in the first installment, but for some reason just couldn’t raise the same enthusiasm for them in the second, so much so that I certainly won’t be rushing to buy the third book in the trilogy. A big disappointment--and at 940 pages, in more ways than one!

Never Go Back -  Lee Child
Another disappointment. I used to love the Reacher books, but the last few have offered little character development and not much new in the way of plot lines, to the point that I initially wasn’t going to bother reading this one. Then I started hearing that Never Go Back was much superior to the last few so I decided to give it a chance.  Sadly, I didn’t agree, it didn't seem to offer anything new. Maybe it’s just me, because yesterday there was an announcement that it has been nominated for Crime & thriller of the Year in the UK.

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)
I'm not a fan of fantasy and have only read the first Harry Potter novel (at the urging of my daughter) so I was intrigued when I heard that this acclaimed debut mystery was actually by JK Rowling. It was available in the local library so I thought had nothing to lose by giving it a go, and I'm glad I did. There was a little too much description (every character, no matter how small a role, was described in detail), but the plot was intriguing and the main characters believable and likeable enough to root for. I'd definitely read a sequel to this series! 

The Black Box – Michael Connelly
First, I should probably admit that Harry Bosch is my number one favorite character. I’ve been hooked since I read The Last Coyote, my first introduction to him, and have since read every book in the series at least once. Bosch has been around for twenty years, but it seems with every book we learn something new about him, sometimes positive, sometimes not so much so, but Connelly continues to create a character who you can believe in and The Black Box lives up to those expectations.

The above books are all by traditionally published authors, but I’ve also been delving into the world of indie authors and next week I’ll write about some of the gems I have found amongst them.

I’m always on the look-out for new-to-me authors so if, after reading the above, you have any suggestions, especially with regard to mystery/suspense or contemporary fiction, I’d love to hear them.


  1. Tami Hoag is great. I've been reading her for years. For some reason, I associate her with Tess Gerritsen. I'm not sure if that's because I think they have similar styles or they both got their start in romantic suspense. But if you haven't read Gerritsen, you may want to check her out. I didn't enjoy her more recent books as much but in general I prefer standalone novels and Gerritsen now only puts out books in her long-running series. I thought her older, standalone medical thrillers like BLOODSTREAM and GRAVITY were fantastic. And I have to mention one of my favorite authors, Joy Fielding, since I don't think she's as popular as she should be. She writes humorous women-in-peril books. I've been reading more indie books too recently, so I'll chime in with some of the ones I enjoyed when you post next week.

  2. Hi Marla, Thanks for the recommendations. For some reason I've never read either Tess Gerritsen's or Joy Fielding's books even though I have heard of both of them. I shall certainly check them out.