The Bomb Maker, by Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press/Grove Atlantic, 2019)

A bomber begins a campaign targeted against the LA police’s bomb disposal squad: a security consultant is drafted in to assist the investigation. While the ending falls a bit flat, this is nevertheless a well-sustained and slick contemporary thriller, with a keen focus on plausible detail throughout. Recommended for the journey if not quite for the destination.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Old Man, by Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press/Grove Atlantic, 2017)

A long-in-hiding former intelligence officer goes on the run when his identity is compromised. Excellent pursuit procedural, strong on plausible detail and on cool rational action throughout. Plenty to appreciate in the approach, and in the confidence on display in both protagonist and author. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

My Last Supper: One Meal, a Lifetime in the Making, by Jay Rayner (Guardian Faber, 2020)

The restaurant critic and journalist ponders mortality through food. A kind of autobiography, structured around assembling a final meal, and with it a playlist. The Desert Island Discs-ish structure works well, making for an episodic but enjoyable set of culinary investigations, observations, and reminiscences.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Final Girl Support Group, by Grady Hendrix (Titan Books, 2021)

A killer is targeting the members of a support group for female survivors of serial murderers. Genre-savvy black comedy horror/thriller hybrid, packed with sneaky and overt references, as well as being a zesty read in its own right. Plenty of fun, basically, with something to say about survivor guilt, online obsessives, and our ongoing fascination with ghoulishness.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

“Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?”, by Harold Schechter & Eric Powell (Albatross Funnybooks, 2021)

An exploration of Ed Gein’s crimes and of the cultural impact of the case. Splendid monochrome graphic novel taking care to present this case history in context, drawing on court records and interviews, while being clear about its telescoping of matters to tell a story. Explains and contextualises without empathising. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Chewing The Fat, by Jay Rayner (Guardian Faber, 2021)

A collection of the journalist and restaurant critic‘s columns for the Observer Food Monthly supplement. And a very decent brisk read this too, with articles taking on topics from Christmas entertaining to what restaurants get wrong. Rayner is funny, good with a comparison, likes decent grub, and adopts the customer’s / home cook’s perspective throughout. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

How to Stunt in Hollywood, by Amy Johnston (Amazon Createspace, 2018)

A series of interviews with Hollywood stunt performers. A stunt performer themselves, Johnston offers both a thematic and a stunt person-by-stunt person pathway through these interviews. Useful in giving insights into stunt folks’ perspectives on career-building, on storytelling through action, on working collaboratively in Hollywood, and on wider motivational and healthy living advice. Niche, perhaps, but informative and accessible.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Billy Summers, by Stephen King (Hodder & Stoughton, 2021)

A professional assassin waiting for the go on a big-paying hit begins to write a novel. A superb entertainment: King’s patent mix of the implausible and the compelling – here very light indeed on the supernatural – riffs on recurring themes (the lot of the novelist, JFK, lower-middle class America) in fun and interesting ways. Plus, constant reader, this time he lands the ending. Recommended.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.