David Walliams’ Slime has oozed to the top of the UK book charts with Lee Child’s Blue Moon at number 2. Blue Moonis the 24th Jack Reacher thriller which has just been published in paper-back. This is another lone-wolf thriller about dirty money and even dirtier secrets, An elderly couple in peril set the hero on a collision course with a rogue’s gallery of hoodlums and heavies – a good one to take you mind off the current situation
Anne Tyler’s Redhead by the Side of the Road at 177 pages is described as a novella. Reviewers have said ‘beautifully crafted’, ‘extraordinary’, ‘supremely sophisticated’ and Julie Myerson wrote ‘best novel in some time – slender, unassuming, almost cautious in places, yet so finely and energetically tuned’.
For some more wonderful escapism a very well reviewed novel set on the island of Hydra in the 1960s is A Theatre of Dreams by Polly Samson. It has been described as ‘a blissful piece of escapism and a powerful meditation on art and sexuality’. Erica, 18 arrives on Hydra with her boyfriend and brother to search out her mother’s old friend Charmian Clift. This is a coming-of-age story with the backdrop of the hippie expats living on the island including Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne.
I would like to recommend a new book from Peter Swanson, Rules for Perfect Murders, recently published by Faber & Faber. Malcolm Kershaw runs a bookstore in Boston specializing in mystery fiction. He is contacted by an FBI agent who believes someone is using fictional ‘perfect’ murders to murder a host of real victims. The fictional murders include Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Stranger’s on a Train and Donna Tartt’s Secret History. I am enjoying it.
A non-fiction recommendation is Brian Dumaine’s Bezonomics. In the Sunday Times, John Aldridge praised Dumaine as he “shines a light on the man who has made Amazon such a success.” In the Scotsman, Emma Newlands called the work “an addictive read – one of the most compelling business books I’ve ever read.” She added, “it never veers too far into dry details and is written engagingly, with the occasional, welcome wry comment.” In the Times, Bezonomics was Hugo Rifkind’s Book of the Week, who called it an “eye opening” work which is ultimately a “crash course on how Jeff Bezos has turned Amazon into the world’s lockdown necessity.”
There have been a lot of book lists in the news under a whole range of headings. Best books to read under lock-down – this has some lovely classics including Cold Comfort Farm, I Capture the Castle, Cider with Rosie, plus Miss Garnet’s Angel and A Gentleman in Moscow.
The Times Best Thrillers of the Decade is headed by ‘our’ Mick Herron with Slow Horses, the first in the brilliant Slough House spy series. I have become addicted to this series as have quite a number of my friends – do have a go.