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

What I’m Reading (Dec 2014)

Another Christmas season done and dusted with even a bit of time for reading, watching, and writing. 2015 looks to have some exciting books coming and I am eager for their release.


Book of the Month: A Mysterious Something in the Light: The Life of Raymond Chandler by Tom Williams. For maybe the second time in 2014, a non-fiction book tops the list. Chandler is known for the detective character he created, Philip Marlowe, and the books about him. Chandler wrote some of the first crime novels I read and he played an influential part in my wanting to write crime novels. This is the second biography I’ve read of Chandler and the author provides a thorough and entertaining biography of the writer. Born in the US, reared in England, and Chandler returned to the US in his twenties and settled in Los Angeles just as the city’s boom started. He worked as a bookkeeper for years and never appeared to express interest in writing crime stories until he lost his job. He started out writing for the pulp magazines and a couple of years later, at age 51, he published the first Philip Marlowe novel. Chandler’s books never sold great, but Hollywood recognized his skill and he found work as a screenwriter. A lifelong battle with alcohol proved to be his undoing, and his problem increased after the death of his wife. Fascinating life and a good biography.

The World of Raymond Chandler by Barry Day (his life in words) attempts to tell the life of Chandler through his letters and excerpts from his books.

I read the biography of another crime writer, Dashiel Hammett: Man of Mystery by Sally Cline. Chandler, Hammet, and James Cain were recognized as the three preeminent crime writers of the pulp era. Whereas Chandler’s books didn’t sell great until later, Hammett’s books were an immediate success. He only produced five novels and published nothing over the last half of his life. Like Chandler, Hammett suffered from an addiction to alcohol along with a number of other maladies. Also, a thorough and fascinating biography.

Last month, I raved about Allan Guthrie and this month I completed my reading of his novels. Bad Men is great and Savage Night is superb- both are dark, crime novels. In Savage Night, when you think it can’t get any worse for the characters or any darker, it does. Hilda’s Day Out is a collection of short stories and contains some real gems. I’m awaiting Guthrie’s next release.

Pantani: Debunking the Murder Myth by Andrea Rossini (translated by Matt Rendell) is an intriguing account of the death of Marco Pantani, the great Italian cyclist. The police concluded he died of a cocaine overdose, but recently people have sought to re-open the case, believing Pantani was murdered. The author recounts Pantini’s last days and reviews the evidence, which he concludes points to a cocaine overdose.

I also read Saturday’s Child and Sucker Punch by Ray Banks (the Cal Innes series), The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (a fascinating fable), and Hold the Dark by William Giraldi


Many have highlighted The Honourable Woman, a spy-thriller set in the Middle East, and produced by the BBC. It is superb. Highly recommended. Available on Netflix.

I made the annual trek to the movie theater, this time for The Hobbit (Part 3). The best part of the movie- my son enjoyed it. Me, not so much.

It seems as though I watched another movie, but I can’t recall what it was, so it must not have been that great.


I am polishing up the draft five of my latest book, They Took Me Granted, and then it’s off to a couple of trusted readers for comments. A year ago, I couldn’t make heads or tails of the story and wanted to dump it and start over. While looking out a window, I had an idea. With that idea, I’ve dove back into the book and have worked on it all year long. This might be the hardest I’ve worked on a story.

I held out hopes of publishing it in 2014, but that didn’t happen. Obviously. After publishing 2 books in 2012, and 1 in 2013, I wanted to keep the streak alive, but it didn’t happen. Not for lack of effort.

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