Monday 29 January 2018

Close To Home By Cara Hunter @CaraHunterBooks #BlogTour @PoppyN @PenguinUKBooks #MyLifeInBooks

The RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB pick everyone is raving about, this pulse-pounding thriller about the search for a missing child is perfect for fans of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR.
'One of the best crime thrillers I have ever read' Kathryn Croft

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything - or at least that's what they're saying.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it's someone the victim knew.
That means someone is lying...
And that Daisy's time is running out.

Introducing DI Fawley and his team of Oxford detectives, and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2018, CLOSE TO HOME is the new crime thriller series to get addicted to.

Close To Home by Cara Hunter was published in paperback by Penguin on 14 December 2017, I am delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today as part of the Blog Tour. She's talking about the books that have inspired her and are special to her in My Life In Books

My Life in Books - Cara Hunter

I cannot imagine a life without books. Kindles are a fantastic invention, but they will never replace the unique physicality of a book that belongs only to you. The smell of it. The notes in the margin from your younger self. The faded price sticker on the back that reminds you exactly where and when it was bought.

We were between houses and renting a couple of years ago and had to put all our hundreds of books into storage. It was the strangest experience - living in a house with nothing on the shelves. I hadn’t realised how many times I returned to those books. Checking a reference for something, looking up a favourite passage, or just pulling off a comfort read. Suffice to say that bookshelves were one of the first things that went up in the new house.

As for choosing just ten books to sum up a life, I’m sure everyone Anne has spoken to for this slot has the same problem: how to stick to only ten. But I’m up for the challenge, so here goes…

No prizes for originality for my first choice, which is The Lord of the Rings. I read it at 12 and it was overwhelming. When you have that sort of experience at that age it really changes you – a book can shape how you see the world. What values you have and what you want to do with your life: it started me on a journey that ended with me reading English at Oxford. So this one will always come top of my list.

Number two is another book I loved as a child and the first that made me genuinely scared – Alan Garner’s The Owl Service. Such a simple but powerful idea and done with such a deft touch.

Next up is a book the whole world adores: Pride and Prejudice. I love Jane Austen, but I’ve chosen this one in particular because it was the first ‘literature’ we read at school. A wonderful introduction to the sheer beauty of well-written prose, and what barbs that elegant surface can conceal. No bad training for a crime writer….

The fourth book is not so well known: The God beneath The Sea by Leon Garfield and Edward Blishen. A superb re-telling of the Greek myths, ostensibly for children but resonant for adults as well. And fabulous illustrations too.

The next book is one I remember reading when it first came out: Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie. It was totally unlike anything I’d read before - a sumptuous torrent of colours, textures, and images. I was in the middle of A levels and I should have been revising but I couldn’t put it down. But I did fine so who knows, perhaps it helped!

Another classic next – Middlemarch, by George Eliot. A wise and insightful writer and one of the most outstanding female novelists the English language has ever produced. The sheer scope and ambition of this book are immense, and like any truly great book, as you grow older with it you find something new at every read.

I seem to be doing ‘M’s at the moment, so here’s another: The Magus by John Fowles. One of the shabbiest paperbacks on my shelves, which is a pretty good indication of how often it gets read. Glorious, clever, intoxicating. Go read.

Some more recent favourites now, the first being Still Life by AS Byatt. It’s the second in her Frederica quartet, but I think by far the best. The writing is dense with thought, and superbly crafted. And it’s one of the very few works of fiction that has made the grown-up me cry.

A slightly unusual one next, perhaps, which is a book of poetry – Christopher Logue’s War Music, one of his series of translations of the Iliad. I’ve never come across any translation that captures the essence of ancient epic in such powerful and muscular contemporary poetry. I remember seeing the late great Alan Howard reading it in a one-man show at the Almeida in the 1980s and it was one of the best performances of anything I’ve ever seen.

And finally, I had to have a crime book – well, you expected that, didn’t you? But which one - a classic like Agatha Christie, or a modern master like Ian Rankin? A psychological thriller or a pure procedural? Safe to say this choice caused me the most angst, but I have finally plumped for The Memory Game, the first (and I think best) by Nicci French.

Cara Hunter - January 2018

Cara Hunter is a writer who lives in Oxford, in a street not unlike those featured in her series of crime books. 

Close to Home is her debut featuring DI Adam Fawley, and her second, In the Dark, is coming soon.

Follow her on Twitter @CaraHunterBooks

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