Billionaires: The Lives of the Rich and Powerful, by Darryl Cunningham (Myriad Editions, 2019)

Three case studies of extreme wealth and power: Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos. A confident blend of biography and polemic, clearly making the argument that power corrupts, and that money distorts. Lots to ponder on here, rendered in a  chirpy and accessible graphic format. Recommended.

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

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, by Hallie Rubenhold (Transworld, 2019)

Biographies of five women united by their links to an infamous series of killings. Enthralling corrective to a century-plus of sensationalist coverage dismissive of the victims. Some lapses into journalese and guesswork at times, but this is nevertheless an accessible, necessary and fascinating book rightly giving those murdered due to their lives.

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

An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, by Georges Perec [trans. Marc Lowenthal] (Wakefield Press, 2010)

Three days of observations of the same Paris street. A mesmerising, poetic, futile and charming go at capturing everything that happens – more or less – in a single place over a short space of time. Makes you want to have a crack at the same thing yourself, which can only be a recommendation.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England. But if you like the idea of this book, then chances are that you’ll like Benches of Louth

With Child: Lee Child and the Readers of Jack Reacher, by Andy Martin (Polity Press, 2019)

A sequel/companion to Martin’s Reacher Said Nothing; a year with Lee Child in the aftermath of writing Make Me (documented in the first book). This time the emphasis is less on process than on the contexts of bestselling fiction: publicity, signings, readerships, filming, travel. As before (!), a unique insight into writing life, being funny, deft but erudite, and engaging throughout. Recommended.

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