Laika, by Nick Abadzis (First Second, 2007)

The story of Laika (AKA Kudryavka), the first dog in space, plus those of her lab tech Yelena and of Soviet space programme chief Korolev. Excellent, touching canine biography, blending fancy and fact in detailed and intricate ways. A love story and one of Cold War pride, balanced with a plea regarding unnecessary animal experimentation. Recommended.

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

Apollo, by Matt Fitch, Chris Baker, Mike Collins and others (SelfMadeHero, 2018)

The Apollo 11 moon mission, retold in graphic novel format. A focus on the insecurities of each astronaut – and then-President Nixon – adds some nuance. Otherwise, this is a good-looking through straightforward account that doesn’t add much new, and is oddly-pitched, requiring some contextual knowledge for full appreciation. For moon mission completists, perhaps.

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

 

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.

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.