Monthly Archives: June 2012

Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath – Book Review

I’ve heard of Konrath who blogs prolifically about self publishing, but I’ve not read him before. Whiskey Sour is his debut novel.  I liked this book about a police detective, Jack, tracking down a serial killer. The chapters alternated between Jack’s and the serial killer’s point of view.  The chapters with Jack were very funny with witty dialogue and contrasted with those of the serial killer, which were chilling and gruesome. On the whole this juxtaposition of humour and gore worked for me – I felt the balance was about right. There were a few occasions where this balance was tipping too far into satirical comedy, for example with the FBI agents. Portrayed as a pair of fools and while producing some great laughs, they really weren’t credible. I thought the pace was excellent – short chapters always focused on the plot with few digressions or detailed descriptions. The overall length at 288 pages is just right and I read it in a few hours.  One minor quibble – Jack’s (short for Jacqueline) actions and thoughts sound too much like a man for me. Overall 4 stars.

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Whiskey Sour – Teaser Tuesday

I’ve started reading Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath, my first by this author.  The book has a serial killer/police procedure theme but contains a lot of witty dialogue. For example:

“He may be disfigured or disabled. He might have severe acne scars, or scoliosis.” “That’s curvature of the spine,” Dailey added. “Is that a hunch?” I asked.

In a pool bar: I bought two beers and carried them over. “Are you looking for a game, or do you want to play with youself all night?” I asked.

The Banker has reached a new high in the UK Kindle rankings – #480 or #43 in thrillers.

Upcoming Book Festivals

I’ve just booked myself onto two upcoming book festivals. The first is the Crime Writers Association festival in Harrogate this July. The second is the Edinburgh Book festival in August.  I’ll blog about my impressions of them after I’ve been.

Goodreads Giveaway Over

My latest Goodreads competition has just finished. There were 1273 entrants, more than double February’s competition. Two lucky winners, bith from Canada, have just been sent signed copies of The Banker.

The Banker is improving in the Kindle Store rankings, reaching 572 overall and 53 in thrillers.

A Drink Before the War – Review

This is my first book by Dennis Lehane, which I enjoyed. I thought the plot could be stronger, which for me is a must in a crime or thriller novel, but the book is strong on characters and place. The pace was a bit slow in the first half but picked up nicely once the ‘war’ started. Some of the dialogue is a bit too cliched and I think there is too much detail in places.

It looks like the author had just finished a creative writing course. One thing you learn on such a course is to understand your main characters so well that you know the clothes they wear, the food they eat, the music they like, and so on. But there is no need to give all this detail to your readers. They can deduce this from the clues you give. ‘Show don’t tell’ is  a creative writing maxim that the author didn’t apply in this case.

As it’s a debut work I’ll give it three and a half stars. The author has gone on to greater things such as Mystic River and Shutter Island.

Giveaway Competitions

My Librarything giveaway competition has just ended. 64 members entered and 10 lucky winners will receive an ebook copy of The Banker.

There is still one day left for the Goodreads competition. 2 paperback copies are to be won. See http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/25617-the-banker

Jubilee Weekend

I took a break from reading and writing over the holiday. On Sunday I decided to have a look at the Jubilee Pageant. This was a flotilla of over 1000 boats sailing down the Thames in a spectacle not seen for over 300 years. I had already seen the lead rowing boat, Gloriana, moored in Richmond, and it looked quite exquisite. Unfortunately this was all I would see. I took a train to Waterloo about an hour before the start and the river embankments between Southbank and London Bridge were full to bursting point. Many sections were sealed off by security. There was no way I could get onto Blackfriars Bridge, my preferred viewing point. Near Tate Modern I got to within 20 yards of the river but I couldn’t see the river let alone any boats because of the crowds. In the end I gave up, went home and saw it all on TV.

On Monday and Tuesday I went for a walk on Offa’s Dyke path from Welshpool to Oswestry. I’ve been doing this hike from south to north over 7 years now, just walking in summer with just a day or two’s walk each time. I’ve done about three quarters so it’s not far to finish.