Friday 29 May 2020

The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith @evecsmith #TheWaitingRooms @OrendaBooks #BookReview

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith is published by Orenda Books; ebook 9 April 2020, and paperback on 9 July 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

“Antimicrobial resistance is an invisible pandemic.”
— Mariangela Simao, The World Health Organisation

It may not be the best time to read The Waiting Rooms, or it could be the most perfect time. For this is a novel that will chill any reader right to the bone. What may have been merely a speculative fiction read just a few months ago has become, what really could be, a story of our time.

Before the COVID19 pandemic hit, I received my pre-publication proof of The Waiting Rooms and was instantly intrigued. I'm a fan of the most darkest and dystopian fiction; Margaret Atwood is one of my all-time writing heroes and The Handmaid's Tale is probably the best book I ever read, and Eve Smith and The Waiting Rooms really do challenge that long-held crown, for me.

Set in London, and featuring lead character Kate, the story opens twenty years post-Crisis. What was the Crisis you may ask, and how has it changed the world?

The Crisis was a global pandemic, millions died and life as it was known is merely a shadow in the past. Antibiotic resistance means that nobody over the age of seventy is ever offered antibiotics, and the older we get, the more prone we are to infection. A scratch from your much-loved cat can kill you. A chest infection spells the end. Of course, there are many people who oppose this, and there are regular demonstrations, and as generally healthy people get nearer and nearer to what is really a cut-off age, their fear increases.

Kate is a nurse. Every day she wears personal protective equipment and showers before entering certain areas of the hospital where she assists people to die. These people have signed to say that they agree that they must die, and in the hospital where Kate works, it's all very calm and very civil. 

Kate was adopted as a baby.  Her adoptive mother has recently died and she's decided that it is time to track down her birth mother. Not an easy decision, and she's going to uncover far far more than she expected. 

Also central to the plot is Lily who is nearing seventy and lives in one of the better 'retirement' homes. She's a character with a history, and this clever author goes back, way before the Crisis and allows the readers to learn so much about her, about what shaped her and also so much more about the beginnings of the Crisis itself.

Throughout this darkest of stories, with such an horrific and terrifying premise, the author writes with a beauty and skill that is quite breathtaking. Her characters are perfectly formed, and the reader feels a real empathy for them, although there are doubts cast along the way which only adds to the feeling of tension that increases chapter by chapter. 

The Waiting Rooms is frighteningly plausible, it really could be our reality, especially at the moment when we have no idea just how the current pandemic will shape our future. The author takes us into the world of drug development and experimentation and touches on areas of exploitation that could generate many conspiracy theories, yet could also be the truth, but not as we know it.

This novel is shockingly brilliant, and I devoured it. It is thought provoking yet written with such an exquisite touch and is a devastating yet eye-opening story of how humanity and science merge.

So very powerful, and comes very highly recommended by me.

Eve Smith's debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Eve writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills.
Eve's flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.
Eve's previous job as COO of an environmental charity took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places. A Modern Languages graduate from Oxford, she returned to Oxfordshire fifteen years ago to set up home with her husband.
When she's not writing, she's chasing across fields after her dog, attempting to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.
Follow Eve: @evecsmith &

A Testament Of Character by Sulari Gentill #RandomThingsTours @SulariGentill @CrimeMystClub #GuestReview @jaustenrulesok

In fear for his life, American millionaire Daniel Cartwright changes his will, appointing his old friend Rowland Sinclair as his executor. Soon murder proves that fear well founded. When Rowland receives word of Cartwright's death, he sets out immediately for Boston, Massachusetts, to bury his friend and honour his last wishes. He is met with the outrage and anguish of Cartwright's family, who have been spurned in favour of a man they claim does not exist. Artists and gangsters, movie stars and tycoons all gather to the fray as elite society closes in to protect its own, and family secrets haunt the living. Rowland Sinclair must confront a world in which insanity is relative, greed is understood, and love is dictated; where the only people he can truly trust are an artist, a poet and a passionate sculptress.

A Testament Of Character by Sulari Gentill was published as an ebook on on 21 May 2020 by The Crime & Mystery Club, the paperback will be released in October this year.

I'm delighted to welcome guest reviewer Louise Wykes to Random Things today, sharing her review of the book for the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

You can find Louise on Twitter @jaustenrulesok

Louise's Review of 'A Testament of Character'

A Testament of Character by Sulari Gentill was published by The Crime & Mystery Club Limited on 21st May 2020.  I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to review and to Anne Cater for hosting my review on her blog.

 After reading the blurb of this book I knew I simply had to read it.  It promised a tale of Golden Age crime and mystery which is an era I love reading about.  I was also intrigued by the premise of the amateur detective being a painter, Rowland Sinclair (Rowly to his friends) who is originally from Australia, who spends a large amount of his time with his three dear friends, Edna, a sculptress, Milton, a poet and another painter called Clyde.

 At the beginning of the book we discover that Rowland has been named as the executor in a will of one his dear friends from his student days in Oxford.   Rowland decides immediately to travel to Boston, America with his three close friends especially as it means he can avoid a trip back home to his brother.  As a first-time reader of this series (this is book number 10) I am not familiar with Rowland’s family situation but there are hints throughout this book that point to troubled relationships.

 This is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read in ages.  The writing is sublime and completely captures the tone and feel of 1930s America and I really enjoyed how the author introduces real historical characters into the story, in fact F Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, play quite an important and pivotal role in the mystery element of the novel.  I also enjoyed the little snippets that the author includes at the beginning of each chapter which highlight particular themes that will be addressed in each chapter.  As a fan of historical fact and fiction, I loved how the little snippets piqued my interest and have given me a reading list of other parts of history that I am unfamiliar with.  That’s one of the joys of reading a great book, it not only provides enjoyment in its own pages, but it can lead a reader to other adventures that they may not have thought of.

 This book has it all: a beautifully conflicted, complicated main character who the reader roots for from the beginning, an honest portrayal of the joys and pains of close friendships, humour and a baffling mystery that the reader tries to solve but, in my case,, failed to do so!

 I am so glad that this is book 10 in the series because I have the exquisite enjoyment of being able to go back and start reading the series from the beginning and knowing I have at least 9 more books to read and hopefully more in the future.

 I highly recommend this engaging, elegant and accomplished book for any readers who wish to escape into another world for a couple of hours.  Just utterly brilliant.


'A sparkling crime series... Evelyn Waugh meets Agatha Christie' - The Age 'An engrossing, easy-read mystery novel' - Daily Telegraph

'I must confess I've become rather fond of artist Roland Sinclair and his bohemian friends who divide their time globetrotting, solving murder mysteries' - Herald Sun

'Gentill has written an absorbing story about a crucial but underwritten slice of Australian history' - Courier Mail

'Sulari has delivered a spectacular story again. High stakes in many ways, but also, at times, sedate enough to allow the heroes to breathe' - The Book Muse

Sulari Gentill is the author of the award-winning and best-selling Rowland Sinclair Mysteries, the Greek mythology adventure series The Hero Trilogy, and winner of the Best Crime award at the 2018 Ned Kelly Awards, Crossing the Lines. 
She set out to study astrophysics, graduated in law, and then abandoned her legal career to write books instead of contracts. 

Born in Sri Lanka, Sulari learned to speak English in Zambia, grew up in Brisbane and now lives in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of NSW.

Twitter @SulariGentill

Wednesday 27 May 2020

He Started It by Samantha Downing BLOG TOUR @smariedowning @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks #HeStartedIt @sriya__v

No-one knows you better than your family.
They know the little things that make you smile. Your proudest achievements. Your darkest secrets.
Sure, you haven't always been best friends.
But if it seemed as though someone was after you, that you might be in danger, then you'd be on each other's side.
So gripping you won't stop reading.
So twisty that you won't know who to trust.
And so dark that you'll realise something truly chilling:
No-one is more dangerous than the ones who know you best.

He Started It by Samantha Downing was published by Michael Joseph / Penguin on 30 April 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and invited me to be part of this Blog Tour.

I guess, like most people, it's a long time since I took a long car journey. Lockdown during the COVID19 crisis has certainly changed our world, and jumping into the car to discover new places has always been something that I've taken for granted.

When I read the blurb of He Started It, I thought it would be perfect to have a little escapism; to imagine myself driving hundreds of miles, discovering new towns and cities, along with the characters in this story.

Well, I certainly did that, but this road trip was unlike anything that I've done myself, and to be honest, it's not the greatest advertisement for either a long car journey, or for travelling with your family!

Siblings Eddie, Beth and Portia last made this very trip when they were just children. They accompanied their Grandpa as he drove them through US states, showing them unusual landmarks and taking them to strange museums. It's clear that trip had a lasting effect on the family, it changed them beyond recognition, yet they've rarely spoken about it since. 

Now, they are taking the exact same trip all over again. All these years later, they have to travel together and re-trace that journey. Their Grandpa has recently died and the terms of his will say that until they've done exactly that, they won't get their hands on their inheritance. It's a lot of money, and each one of them could really do with that money. So, off they set, accompanied this time by Beth's husband and Eddie's new wife ... this is going to be another trip to remember.

What I really loved about this story was the author's skill in creating a sense of place. I've never been to the US, but have seen those isolated gas stations and down-at-heel motels on many TV shows and films; her descriptions of these locations were wonderfully drawn. The reader can almost be there themselves; sitting on the cracked faux leather seats at roadside diners, with plates of burgers and fries in front of them.

This is a complex plot that takes the reader on an incredibly twisted journey. Nothing is quite as it seems and not only do we learn about the family as they are today, we are given snapshots into their feelings during their previous trip. 
None of the characters are particularly likeable, but I really don't think they are supposed to be, and this only adds to the tension and the increasing suspense for the reader. As the miles pass, we begin to ask more questions, and the answers are slowly drip fed to us; cleverly and slowly, but always giving a punch to the gut.

He Started It is a dark, dark story and I enjoyed it immensely. It was never what I thought it would be, and I like that. I love a complete surprise and that's what I got here. There's something really addictive about this author's writing; despite the unease of the reader, and the unpredictability of her characters, I found myself turning the pages really quickly as their journey got closer to the final destination.

The ending is a cracker. It totally threw me, I had no inkling whatsoever of how this would end and it's one of those final chapters that you really need to read twice, just to make sure you've really understand just how clever this author has been. I've been thinking about how well put together this was for days since I finished it; trying to spot flaws in the plot, but unable to find any!

A riveting read. Clever, devilishly complex characters and a final twist that I really admired.

Samantha Downing was born in the Bay Area, and currently lives in New Orleans, where she is furiously typing away on her next psychological thriller. 

Her debut novel, My Lovely Wife, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and a Sunday Times bestseller, and has been published in twenty-three languages.

Instagram @smariedowning
Author Page on Facebook

Thursday 21 May 2020

I Made A Mistake by Jane Corry BLOG TOUR @JaneCorryAuthor @PenguinUKBooks #IMadeAMistake #BookReview

In Poppy Page's mind, there are two types of women in this world: those who are faithful to their husbands, and those who are not. Until now, Poppy has never questioned which she was.
But when handsome, charming Matthew Gordon walks back into her life after almost two decades, that changes. Poppy makes a single mistake - and that mistake will be far more dangerous than she could imagine.
Someone is going to pay for it with their life . . .

I Made A Mistake by Jane Corry is published by Penguin in paperback on 28 May 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who asked me to take part on this blog tour.

Lockdown has enabled me to change my reading habits and I've been putting aside some afternoons to concentrate purely on books. I Made A Mistake was a fabulous way to spend a day, it's a story that grabs you on page one with an opening scene set in Waterloo Station that is intriguing and compelling.

Split into two parts, this is a story that is full of tension and suspense, and delves deep into family relationships and how the treatment of others, and by others can leave a very long lasting effect.

Poppy Page runs an agency for extras, she once dreamt of becoming an actress herself but those dreams were dashed by many things; most of which are covered much later in the story. Her husband is a dentist, often writing research papers and presenting at conferences. They live in their dream house with their two teenage daughters.

The reader is aware that Poppy is being interrogated in a court room, and its clear that this is something to do with the opening scenes, however we don't know who the victim is, nor do we know who is in the dock. It's a clever way to tell the story and I was gripped from the outset.

Alongside Poppy's story of her marriage, and her recent meeting with her old flame Matthew, there's Betty's story, told in the form of a letter written to Poppy. Betty is her mother-in-law, the salt of the earth, a widow and living with Poppy and her family since the death of her husband Jock. I loved Betty's story. it was written so well, with such insight into marriage in the 1970s, and how things have changed for women since then.

So, in a nutshell, this is a murder story. There's a victim, there's a defendant. but there's a whole lot more too. It's an excellent peek into how people can often live the life they think they want, putting on a face to the world, yet secretly yearning for what could have been.

It took me a while to warm to Poppy, I felt at times that she was too impulsive, too greedy and quite self centred, but as I learnt more about her, and that mysterious first love, I began to understand her, and her actions.

I adored Betty; she's the sort of woman that I've seen so many times. Growing up in the 1970s, I witnessed many families who were just like Betty and Jock; where the man was in charge and the woman did as was expected, regardless of her own dreams and desires.

A great crime thriller, with a real depth and packs an emotional punch. Great ending too, and I certainly didn't see it coming.

Jane Corry is a writer and journalist (Daily Telegraph and women's magazines) who worked for three years as the writer in residence of a high security prison for men. 
This experience helped inspire her Sunday Times bestsellers 'My Husband's Wife', 'Blood Sisters' and 'The Dead Ex'. 
She also writes short stories as well as a weekly digital column about being a granny for My Weekly. 
Jane speaks at literary festivals all over the world. 
Many of her ideas strike during morning dog-jogs along the beach followed by a dip in the sea - no matter how cold it is!

Instagram @janecorry
Author Page on Facebook

Tuesday 19 May 2020

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman BLOG TOUR @CharityNorman1 #RandomThingsTours #TheSecretsOfStrangers @AllenAndUnwin

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London cafĂ© - their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Another tense, multi-dimensional drama from the writer of the Richard & Judy bestseller AFTER THE FALL.

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman was published in paperback on 7 May 2020 by Allen and Unwin.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour

I am a huge fan of this author and have reviewed a couple of her earlier novels here on Random Things. I really must get around to reviewing her first three books too.

Lockdown has enabled me to change my reading rituals. No longer do I snatch a chapter or two as I grab a coffee between work chores. Instead, I've put aside one day per weekend to read, and I finished this amazing story in just one day. It's an ironic read for lockdown, but actually puts our situation into a little perspective. We are not prisoners; we may be struggling, but we still have the freedom to walk out of our door, and to speak to, if not actually see, our loved ones. 

What excites me most about Charity Norman's stories is that she is not afraid to delve into some dark and often very emotionally trying issues. She writes with an empathy for character that shines through the stories; her development of each and every person in her stories is beautifully and carefully done. The reader often changing their opinion as more is revealed about each one.

The Secrets of Strangers is the perfect title for this complex and incredibly taut novel. Each of the characters begin as strangers but by the final pages they are as connected to each other as they are to their family and their oldest friends. In fact, they probably reveal far more about themselves during that long day trapped within the walls of Tuckbox; a fairly ordinary cafe on a London street. 

Tuckbox is a busy cafe, populated by regulars and owned by cheerful and friendly Robert. The customers this morning include a street sleeper, a barrister and a carer, among others. Ordinary folk going about their regular business. Meeting family, trying to keep warm or on their way to an important court case. Also visiting Tuckbox that morning is Sam. Sam is an angry, troubled man who isn't there for the coffee; he's there to see Robert, and to get back what is rightfully his.

As Sam and Robert argue and Sam storms out of the cafe, the regulars look on, then settle down again. Just one of those spats, you see them every day, now to get on with their own business. However, Sam returns quickly, with a gun, and the customer's lives will never be the same again.

The customers of Tuckbox are in for the long haul and this very clever author allows her readers to get to know each one of them intimately. There's such a tension that builds throughout the story, as Sam shows how unstable he is; downing pills and veering between hyper active and morose; there is no predictability to his behaviour at all.

By revealing the most personal details of each of the character's lives, the author also deals with some hard hitting and incredibly powerful issues including infertility, addiction, genocide and child neglect and abuse. She makes her readers see all sides of these people, including Sam who does not let go of his shotgun at all throughout the day. 

Once more Charity Norman has produced an outstanding story that had me gripped throughout. The tension is almost unbearable at times, and the absolute heartbreak of some of the character's stories almost broke my heart. 

A novel that looks at perception and belief. A story that is so powerfully moving, from an author who really is at the top of her game.  Highly recommended.

Charity Norman was born in Uganda and brought up in successive draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. 
After several years' travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and family law. 
In 2002, realising that her three children had barely met her, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to New Zealand. 
THE SECRETS OF STRANGERS is her sixth novel.
Author Page on Facebook

Monday 18 May 2020

Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald BLOG TOUR @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks #AshMountain #BookReview

Single-mother Fran returns to her sleepy hometown to care for her dying father when a devastating bush fire breaks out. A devastating, disaster-noir thriller from the author of The Cry.

Fran hates Ash Mountain, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.

She returns to her hometown to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer.

As old friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…

Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…

Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald is published by Orenda Books (ebook 14 March, paperback 20 August 2020).
I was delighted to be able to buy an early paperback release at one of the Orenda Roadshow events earlier this year, and my copy was signed by the author.

Here's my thoughts, as part of the Blog Tour

Helen Fitzgerald is an author who cannot be categorized. In Ash Mountain, just as in her previous book, Worst Case Scenario, she brings us a story that is populated by the most hideously real characters, and a plot that races along at a pace that can be both meandering, yet exhilarating at times.

Ash Mountain is an apt title for this story; it is not only the name of the small Australian town where the action takes place, it is also a perfect description of how the effects of discoveries made and memories realised can reduce people, and a place to, metaphorically speaking, a pile of dust. 

Lead character Fran is in her forties; a single mother of two. She's returned to Ash Mountain, the town where she grew up, to nurse her father. Fran's personal history is colourful and complicated. Her first child; Dante, was born when she was just fifteen, and still living at home with her widowed father. Her teenage daughter Vonny is a the result of her most recent relationship, with Vincent. Whilst she and Vincent remain friends, he's now moved on to a newer model and they share parenting of Vonny.

The story begins and ends on the day that Ash Mountain is consumed by the raging bush fires that have devastated large swathes of Australia. The opening scenes have a sense of despair and destruction that is hard to shake, even as this talented author takes her readers back through Fran's earlier life. We learn about three specific eras of Fran's life; thirty years ago when she was the same age as her daughter Vonny is now, moving to just a few days before the fire, and then to that awful day as the skies turn black, and then red and the heat and flames consume everything in its path.

Fran is a complex character; often sharp-tongued, with a humour that is as dark as night. As her story unfolds, the reader begins to realise that Ash Mountain is not just her home town, it is a place that has formed her future life. There are passages of discovery that are breathtaking, that will reduce even the hardest reader to tears, and are so beautifully depicted, yet starkly told. The writing is genius.

A story that encapsulates the realisms of small-town life, of how memories can be repressed and secrets known,  yet hidden. There's new love, there's the rediscovery of old attraction.

As the fire gets closer, the author does not hide anything from the reader. The pure horror and utter destruction is described in such detail, creating horrific images that almost sear into the brain. I found some of the final scenes very difficult to shake off. 

Tense, absorbing and very very clever. The characters and the town are brilliantly drawn. This is a compulsive yet moving story that I found very difficult to put down and will remember for a very long time.

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. 
Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst Case Scenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph. 
Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. 
She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband
Twitter @FitzHelen

The Goodbye Man by Jeffery Deaver BLOG TOUR @JefferyDeaver @fictionpubteam #RandomThingsTours #TheGoodbyeMan @HarperCollinsUK #MyLifeInBooks

Say goodbye to your problems
In pursuit of two armed fugitives in the wilderness of Washington State, unique investigator Colter Shaw witnesses a shocking suicide. This leads him to the Foundation - a cult that promises to transform peoples lives. But is there more to it than meets the eye?

Say goodbye to your freedom
Shaw goes undercover to expose the Foundation's real purpose. Before long he meets the charismatic leader Master Eli, a man who commands terrifying loyalty from his followers.

Say goodbye to your life
Something truly dark is going on beneath the surface of the idyllic community. And as Shaw peels back the layers of truth, he begins to see there is only one way to escape the Foundation... and the price for that freedom might well be your very life.

The Goodbye Man by Jeffery Deaver was published in hardback by HarperCollins on 14 May 2020.

As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to welcome the author to Random Things today. He's talking about the books that are special to him in My Life In Books.

My Life in Books - Jeffery Deaver

Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh. This book is singularly British in many ways, of course, but resonates universally in its themes of family, class culture and religion. The book was popular in America even before the stellar TV show.

Broken, Don Winslow. The author writes forcefully of the cartel trade, corruption, American politics and, wait for it… surfing. This sticks to his favorite themes here but does so in the form of six novellas.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John le CarrĂ©. I love all of the author’s writing but this is both an edge-of-the-seat thriller and a piercing look at the machinations of intelligence and, more broadly, government and politics, featuring one of smartest and most understated heroes of all time, George Smiley.

Watership Down, Richard Adams. A charming (and harrowing) novel that falls into the narrow category of post-apocalyptic-quest-fiction-starring-rabbits.

From Russia, With Love, Ian Fleming. My favorite of the author’s works. It’s got everything: mad assassins, cipher machines, the Orient Express train a beautiful defector with grit and smarts, and, of course, Bond. James Bond.

I, Claudius, Robert Graves. As a student of Latin, and officer in my school’s Latin Club (mirabile dictu!), I loved all things Roman. This fact-fiction work is a brilliant look at the Augustine dynasty, which makes present-day politics look, uhm, not so bad. Also, a great British TV series.

Razor Girl, Carl Hiaasen. Writing a funny book without being self-consciously jokey is one of the hardest missions in fiction. This novel, which dissects much of the South Floridian (and American) culture, had me laughing out loud at least once a chapter.

Humboldt’s Gift, Saul Bellow. My favorite literary writer, Bellow has written a compelling tale of three lives that intersect: the protagonist, a playwright; his deceased mentor, a famed poet, and an unstable Mafioso. Written in Bellow’s pyrotechnic literary style.

© Jeffery Deaver - May 2020 - Random Things Through My Letterbox

Jeffery Deaver is the No.1 international bestselling author of more than thirty novels, three collections of short stories, and a nonfiction law book. 
His first novel featuring Lincoln Rhyme, The Bone Collector, was made into a major motion picture starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. 
He's received or been shortlisted for a number of awards around the world. 
A former journalist, folksinger, and attorney, he was born outside of Chicago and has a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University. 

You can visit his website at
Twitter @JefferyDeaver