First You Write a Sentence, by Joe Moran (Penguin Books, 2018)

A book about writing, focusing on the sentence as a unit of construction. Once you settle into it, this is a very useful little book – geared towards non-fiction rather than fiction writing, so bear that in mind – that’ll offer not only some hard-won advice but sneak in a little grammar teaching and learning in too.

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

Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights: A Journey Deeper into Dining Hell, by Jay Rayner (Guardian Faber, 2018)

A collection of restaurant reviews: Observer critic Jay Rayner’s bleakest dining experiences of the 2010s. Fun quick read, in which Rayner pursues his pet hates: the over-priced, the over-ambitious, the shoddy, the rude, the misbegotten. Punching up throughout with some verve. All he wants is decent grub at fair prices, after all.

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

Coal Town, by Mik Critchlow (Bluecoat Press, 2019)

A documentary record in photographs of mining communities in 1980s Northumberland. Epic and elegiac without being sentimental, the end of an era, an industry and to some extent a community captured in these compelling black-and-white images. A storming social history neither glamorizing nor criticising its subjects. Hugely recommended.

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

The Hero, by Lee Child (TLS Books, 2019)

A writer‘s perspective on what the concept of the hero signifies to them. A smart, clear monograph on different aspects of what a hero might be, on the origins of the word and its meanings, and its relationships to thriller fiction. Hints of autobiography and writing philosophy, plus a love of words, meanings, and implications.

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

The Reddening, by Adam LG Nevill (Ritual Limited, 2019)

Two sets of investigations into people lost along a remote stretch of Devon coast coincide. Once it settles down, this delivers in terms of cults, sacrifices, hippy rock stars gone feral, and some effective images. More Cthuloid than folk in its horror, and possibly offputtingly-overwritten; some ripe red glee to be had nevertheless.

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