Friday, 24 January 2014

What I read last year

With everything else on, I didn't get the chance to blog about everything I read last year. With a deadline on a new book and a day job, something had to give and I'm afraid it was blog entries!

However, I did manage to keep up with my reading, and thanks to Goodreads' handy My Year in Books collation page, I know that I read 33 books last year, including a fair chunk of the original Bond books.

Not all of the books I read were thrillers, but I thought it would be fun to catch up by giving them each a micro-review, picking up where I left off  after my last review back in May.

  • Raylan by Elmore Leonard  |  Predictably great crime novel from the master, which is actually more of a short story collection connected by its titular hero. Little did I know as I was reading it that it would be the final Elmore Leonard book to be published in his lifetime.

  • The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly  |  One of the early Harry Bosch novels, but the character and style is already fully formed. Interesting reading Harry before his history and supporting cast expanded, and fascinating to note the cultural and technological shift between the early nineties and now - remember VHS?

  • Absolute Power by David Baldacci  |  A really great example of the kind of thriller that sells a bazillion copies because it's unputdownable. Extremely polished for a debut novel: memorable characters, a plot that keeps you turning the pages, and most of all, an absolutely fantastic hook: what if you witnessed the president committing a murder?

What I learned from these books:

Elmore Leonard once again reminded me that great dialogue is the best way to build characters (if only anyone else could do it as well). Connelly's fully-formed Bosch demonstrates the staying power of a good character. Baldacci's primary hook is enough to get anyone started reading, but it's important to give your reader no choice but to stick around.

Up next: Fleming, Black and Kernick...

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