Later, by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime, 2021)

A young boy has the ability to see and to speak with the recently-deceased. As he grows, this leads to conflict with both the living and the dead. A pacy yarn from the master, balancing crime-related thrills with the paranormal in line with much of his recent output. Won’t win any converts, but again emphasises that King is a supremely confident storyteller. Recommended.

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

Based On A True Story (Not A Memoir), by Norm Macdonald (Random House, 2016)

Challenged to write a memoir, a stand-up comedian instead hires a ghostwriter. A meta spin on the celebrity autobiography, As with much of his career, the impression here is that Macdonald’s prime audience is himself: that’s a good thing, as this is funny, challenging in places, and wholly dishonest throughout. I loved it.

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

The Trouble With Sunbathers, by Magnus Mills (Quoqs Publishing, 2020)

After Britain’s sale to another country, two men guard a gate designed by the new president’s son-in-law. Another of Mills‘ blank-faced absurdist satires and studies of entropy, this time with an eye on the era of Brexit and Trump. Glorious stuff if you’re a fan of this modern master, though maybe not an entry point for others. Recommended, nevertheless.

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

The Forensic Records Society, by Magnus Mills (Bloomsbury, 2017)

A pub backroom hosts a weekly record listening session; rival groups soon emerge. Another of Mills’s deadpan absurdist satires/studies of entropy, this takes a sitcom setup (blokes in a pub) and weaves it into a parable about extremism, political infighting, the limits of faith and ideological purity. Highly recommended while also being for Mills fans only.

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

 

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard – the Early Years, by Joe R Lansdale (Tachyon Publications, 2020)

Five stories featuring the young Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. Perhaps for completists and series fans only, but this is still great stuff. Tall tales of East Texas rambunctiousness and formative experiences, delivered in Lansdale’s effortless economic style. The book even features a few recipes from the yarns, contributed (in character) by Lansdale’s daughter Kasey. Recommended.

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