Guess what? Some reviews

Tom Cain’s The Accident Man is reviewed with a twist on Crime Always Pays: the twist is that you can win a copy of the book, if you can answer one of Declan Burke’s fiendishly difficult questions. You have been warned. (For my review of this book, see Euro Crime.)

Kimbofo of Reading Matters reviews Silent in the Grave, Deanna Raybourn’s new, well-received historical crime caper. Or, as Kim puts it: "The effortless writing style, which has a touch of the Jane Austens about it, is littered with cracking one-liners, too, so that I found myself tittering all the way through the book."

Magnificent Octopus has an unusual take on Oliver Twist. Shorten a book, and the reader will only ask for "more".

The Adversary by Michael Walters is just about out in paperback. I highly recommend this excellent book set "at the edge of the world" (aka Mongolia): read The Shadow Walker first, then you will be compelled to go straight to the even better sequel (The Adversary). You’ll thank me for it.

There’s a lovely review of Girls of Tender Age by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, at Material Witness. "As a slice of family life in the ’50s this is incredibly evocative and warm and frames well the attitudes and ethics that dominated the day. But there is a dark heart at the centre of the book…"

Glenn Harper of the superb International Noir Fiction gets to grips with Maxim Jakubowski’s Paris Noir. Should a book entitled Paris Noir contain stories by Parisians or by people who aren’t French but who write about Paris?

I haven’t got around to The Cell yet, but at Crime Fiction Dossier, David Montogmery points to his review of a new Stephen King, Duma Key, which makes me think this is another King "back on form" title.

Stephen Lang reviews Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. Great review. I re-read this short but mesmerising book the summer before last, and am glad I did. Not so sure about the Will Smith remake, though.

If these reviews aren’t enough and you’d like some lists, the loveliest I have seen recently is this one, by Equiano. Or if you prefer crime, you would do well to check out a new (to me) blog, Mack Pitches Up, and check out this list of recent reading.

Frank and Books, Inq. in the news

Sir Galahad of the Blogosphere, aka Frank Wilson, book review editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, has just received not one but two well-deserved accolades. Peter Stothard is Editor of the TLS (and was Editor of The Times). He wrote this on his blog on 20 Jan:
"Numerous calls and emails have accused me of being old-fashioned in resisting the fashion for ‘best this and best that’ lists in newspapers and websites.
So, just to show how courant I really am.
One. The Sunday Times this morning highlights my favourite blog – Books, Inq – as Number Three in its list of ‘websites that will feed your mind rather than your credit-card bill’.
Two. Frank Wilson, main author of Books, Inq at the Philadelphia Inquirer, draws attention to a rather different list – Top Ten Drunk American Writers – on the website ‘Alternative Reel – Quietly Redefining the Internet’."
I heartily concur with the assessment of Peter and Louis Wise of the Sunday Times (and also see Bryan Appleyard’s Thought Experiments blog). Books, Inq. and Light Reading were the first two "blogs about books" that I discovered, before I started Petrona in 2005. They remain among my very favourites, both for their content and for the "impossible to define in one word" character of their delightful authors. As well as my enjoyment of their blogs, both these people have a special place in Petrona’s heart: Jenny Davidson of Light Reading was the first person to comment on Petrona, which was the start of my own personal experience of the interactive, social web (and I have since even met her in person! Of course, at the British Library); and Frank Wilson has encouraged my own writing and built my confidence in that direction, not least by commissioning me to write book reviews for his paper. Wonderful, what can happen with that old Internet.