Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a lovely one despite the goings on in the world around us!
So with Christmas, comes presents and for bookworms like myself; this normally entails a lot of books! Books that I definitely don’t have room for! Anyway, I thought I’d share my bookish Christmas haul with you all!
John Grisham – Sycamore Row
He will make them pay . . .
Jake Brigance has never met Seth Hubbard, or even heard of him, until the old man’s suicide note names him attorney for his estate. The will is dynamite. Seth has left ninety per cent of his vast, secret fortune to his housemaid.
The vultures are circling even before the body is cold: the only subject more incendiary than money in Ford County is race, and this case has both.
AS the relatives contest the will, and unscrupulous lawyers hasten to benefit, Jake searches for answers to the many questions left by Seth Hubbard’s death:
What made him write that last-minute will leaving everything to a poor black woman named Lettie Lang?
Why did he choose to kill himself on the desolate piece of land known as Sycamore Row?
And what was it that Seth and his brother witnessed as children that, in his words, ‘no human should ever see’?
John Grisham – A Time for Mercy
CAN A KILLER EVER BE ABOVE THE LAW?
Deputy Stuart Kofer is a protected man. Though he’s turned his drunken rages on his girlfriend, Josie, and her children many times before, the police code of silence has always shielded him.
But one night he goes too far, leaving Josie for dead on the floor before passing out. Her son, sixteen-year-old Drew, knows he only has this one chance to save them. He picks up a gun and takes the law into his own hands.
In Clanton, Mississippi, there is no one more hated than a cop killer – but a cop killer’s defence lawyer comes close. Jake Brigance doesn’t want this impossible case but he’s the only one with enough experience to defend the boy.
As the trial begins, it seems there is only one outcome: the gas chamber for Drew. But, as the town of Clanton discovers once again, when Jake Brigance takes on an impossible case, anything is possible …
So these two books I’ve grouped together as they are the second and third books in the A Time to Kill series. Now until recently, I literally had no idea that A Time to Kill was part of a trilogy so once I found this out, OF COURSE I had to find the names of the other two! I’m excited to see the journey and development of Jake Brigance’s character after that defining court case.
Troy – Stephen Fry
‘Troy. The most marvellous kingdom in all the world. The Jewel of the Aegean. Glittering Ilion, the city that rose and fell not once but twice . . .’
The story of Troy speaks to all of us – the kidnapping of Helen, a queen celebrated for her beauty, sees the Greeks launch a thousand ships against that great city, to which they will lay siege for ten whole and very bloody years.
It is Zeus, the king of the gods, who triggers war when he asks the Trojan prince Paris to judge the fairest goddess of them all. Aphrodite bribes Paris with the heart of Helen, wife of King Menelaus of the Greeks, and naturally, nature takes its course.
It is a terrible, brutal war with casualties on all sides. The Greeks cannot defeat the Trojans – since Achilles, the Greek’s boldest warrior, is consumed with jealousy over an ally’s choice of lover, the Trojan slave Briseis, and will not fight . . .
The stage is set for the oldest and greatest story ever told, where monstrous passions meet the highest ideals and the lowest cunning.
In Troy you will find heroism and hatred, love and loss, revenge and regret, desire and despair. It is these human passions, written bloodily in the sands of a distant shore, that still speak to us today.
Troy is a myth in which we seek the truth about ourselves, which Stephen Fry brings breathtakingly to life for our modern age.
Stephen Fry – Mythos
No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly or brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses.
In Stephen Fry’s vivid retelling, we gaze in wonder as wise Athena is born from the cracking open of the great head of Zeus and follow doomed Persephone into the dark and lonely realm of the Underworld. We shiver in fear when Pandora opens her jar of evil torments and watch with joy as the legendary love affair between Eros and Psyche unfolds.
Mythos captures these extraordinary myths for our modern age – in all their dazzling and deeply human relevance.
It may come as a surprise to you all, but I am a nerd and proud. I love ancient history, in particular that of Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt. The two above books aren’t in a series, but they are linked by Ancient Greek history. Troy is the modern retelling of a city that rose and fell. Mythos brings to life the myths of Ancient Greece and more importantly, the gods and goddesses that live on Mount Olympus.
Brian Masters – Killing for Company: The Case of Dennis Nilsen
Dennis Nilsen, who died in May 2018, admitted to killing at least 15 people before his arrest in 1983. This ground-breaking criminal study of his killings was written with Nilsen’s full cooperation, resulting in a fascinating – and horrifying – portrait of the man who worshipped death.
In February 1983, residents of Muswell Hill had been plagued by blocked drains. When a plumber was called to investigate, he discovered a large blockage of biological material. To his horror, it appeared to be formed of human flesh and bones.
The next day, local resident Dennis Nilsen was arrested.
‘Are we talking about one body or two?’ a detective asked. Nilsen replied ‘Fifteen or sixteen, since 1978. I’ll tell you everything.’
Within days he had confessed to fifteen gruesome murders over a period of four years. His victims, mostly young gay men at a time when society cared little for them, had been overlooked. Killing for Company is a unique study of a murderer’s mind, essential reading for true crime aficionados.
If you are a UK resident, you may recall a tv series on ITV called Des starring David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen. I watched that series and was absolutely hooked from start to finish so I wanted to read the book that it was based on, for myself.
Alex Pavesi – Eight Detectives
All murder mysteries follow a simple set of rules.
Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out.
But that was thirty years ago. Now he’s living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island – until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories.
An author, hiding from his past, and an editor, probing inside it.
But as she reads the stories, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are parts that don’t make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder.
One that’s remained unsolved for thirty years . . .
If Julia wants answers, she must triumph in a battle of wits with a dangerously clever adversary.
But she must tread carefully: she knows there’s a mystery, but she doesn’t yet realise there’s already been a murder . . .
Now this book was recommended to me by my instagram followers and after reading the blurb, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it.
Russ Thomas – Firewatching
One wrong move will ignite the city . . .
A body is found bricked into a wall of the Old Vicarage. From the state of the hands, it’s clear the dead man was buried alive. When the man is connected to an old missing person’s case, Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler is called.
After an ‘incident’, Tyler needs this case to go well in order to prove himself and get his career back on track. But he soon discovers that he has a connection to the case that hopelessly compromises him. He makes the snap decision not to tell his superiors, certain that he is the only one that can solve the crime. Now Tyler must move carefully to find out the truth, without destroying the case or himself.
Meanwhile, someone in the city knows exactly what happened to the body. Someone who is watching Tyler closely. Someone with an unhealthy obsession with fire . . .
A taut investigative thriller bursting with character and tension, introducing an enigmatic, fresh lead detective unlike any you have met before.
This book took over my instagram feed in what felt like overnight and obviously had to see what all the fuss was about. After reading the blurb, this sounded like a book that was right up my street!
Liz Braswell – Unbirthday
Eighteen-year-old Alice is very different to the other ladies in Kexford. She enjoys spending afternoons with her trusty camera, ignoring pressure from her sister to become a ‘respectable’ member of society.
But when the familiar faces of the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter and the Caterpillar begin appearing in her photographs, Alice finds herself returning to the place of nonsense from her childhood to stop the Queen’s tyrannical rule before the End of Time.
After my reviews of Cinder and Wicked, you could probably tell that I love a good retelling of a fairytale! I already have all of The Twisted Tales series from Liz Braswell (although I am yet to read any of them) and this is the latest in the series. Any other readers have the need to complete book series? I know I do!
In the Shadow of Man – Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall’s classic account of primate research provides an impressively detailed and absorbing account of the early years of her field study of, and adventures with, chimpanzees in Tanzania, Africa. It is a landmark for everyone to enjoy.
Now this book I left till last because this wasn’t a book I was aware of or even asked for. Instead, this book was gifted to me by someone very close and very special to me. A month or so ago we were having a conversation about people we’d like to have round a dinner table – dead or alive. One of my choices was Jane Goodall and so this book appeared in my present pile on Christmas morning. It was such a personal present and I love that I was listened too and I can’t wait to read it! So thank you, Raggedy Man.
So there you have it! My Christmas bookish haul! How did you all do? What books did you get? I’d love to know and get more ideas to add to my ever growing TBR list!
Until next time,