Home > Uncategorized > What I’m Reading (May 2014)

What I’m Reading (May 2014)

Early in May, I finished a book I felt certain would be the best book I read this month, All The Wild Children by Josh Stallings. I didn’t think anything would come close, but later in the month, while driving to work and listening to a podcast, mysterypod, Steve Usery interviewed Jedadiah Ayers. Before they talked about his books, they mentioned an author I’d never heard of, Jake Hinkson, and his book, Hell on Church Street. Between that book and Stallings, I can’t decide which one I liked more, as if it really matters.  What I have found are two writers who are definite must reads going forward- Josh Stallings and Jake Hinkson.

Books of the month: My first introduction to Josh Stallings came in the form of his first novel, Beautiful, Naked, and Dead, which is rather good. Moses McGuire is quite the protagonist. While checking out his website, I noticed Stallings had written a memoir entitled, All The Wild Children. Ken Bruen called it ‘stunning.’ Ken Bruen!! Let me digress here: Bruen is my number one favorite writer, and I’ll read anything he writes. It was Bruen’s book that gave me a glimpse of what crime and noire writing could be. He sets the bar that I aim for in my own writing. If he said this book was stunning, then I had to give it a try.

Stunning was an understatement.

After reading All The Wild Children I can no longer say my childhood was crazy. Comparing mine and his, well, my upbringing looks like an afternoon floating around in the kiddie pool. And I hadn’t even gotten to his adult years yet. The last third of book floored me. Outstanding.

In addition to All The Wild Children, I read all three of his novels, Beautiful, Naked, and Dead, Out There Bad, and One More Body. They are violent, bloody, and wildly entertaining. Can’t wait for the next one.

Like I said, I didn’t expect anything to top Josh Stalling this month, but then I heard about Hell on Church Street. I read this book in one sitting. Hinkson is Southern noir at its best. I don’t think I’ve come across a writer so able to accurately describe the religion of the south. In the book, a young man takes a job as a youth minister, not for his love of God and religion, but because church people have to love you and the job is pretty easy. Things go downhill quickly at this Southern Baptist church when he becomes involved with the pastor’s teenage daughter. Oh, and he narrates the story while being held up by a robber. Fantastic book.

I enjoyed Hell on Church Street so much, I also read The Posthumous Man which was a gripping, suspenseful book. I’ve started Saint Homicide.

I did read some other books this month, and some of them weren’t mystery or noir. The Son by Jo Nesbo (Another excellent thriller. This one is a stand-alone book, instead of another in the Harry Hole series), Running Away by Robert Andrew Powell (a memoir about the writer’s attempt to turn his life around by qualifying for the Boston Marathon as his Dad had at the same age), Walking Home from Mongolia by Rob Lilwall (a travel journey where two men walk across China), The Noble Hustle by Colson Whitehead (the writer takes part in the World Series of Poker), My Bright Abyss by Christian Wyman (the author ponders God, life, and meaning while dealing with cancer), and Reckless: The Life and Times of Luis Ocana by William Fotheringham (you knew there had to be a cycling book- this is a biography of a rider from the late sixties and early seventies, known for his explosive temperament).

****

As for my follow-up novel to Secrets To Keep, the book is coming along well. I’ve made some serious progress in the last few weeks on the third draft. I’ve been in one of those phases where everything seems to be clicking with the story. Let’s hope it continues. I don’t have a title yet, and even if I did, I’d probably change it before it before completion.

Thank you to everyone who reads my books and shares them with others. Each of them continue to sell every month, not in large numbers, but they sell, and that is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

 

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