This year, I’ve managed to read way more than I thought I would – I mean, three books in three months isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it’s much more than I’ve read in a while.
As a result of the dreaded C-word, I’ll be staying indoors likely for the next few weeks, and so just before all non-essential shops closed, I rushed out to Waterstones on my last lunch break and picked up four books to add to my collection and keep me going.
Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd
I’ve been intrigued by this book for a while now and have been meaning to pick this up – so finally, I did.
‘Top forensic pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd has performed over 23,000 autopsies. A detective in his own right, he must solve the mystery of sudden or unexplained deaths: how did this person die?
In pursuit of the truth, he has tackled serial killers, natural disasters, ‘perfect murders’ and freak accidents. His evidence has put killers behind bars, freed the innocent, and turned open-and-shut cases on their heads.
In Unnatural Causes, he tells us the story not only of the bodies and cases that have haunted him most, but also how to live a life steeped in death.’
This book probably isn’t for everyone as the material is likely to be a little graphic or sensitive, but I’m personally pretty interested in this kind of subject matter and have mostly desensitised myself to reading about autopsies thanks to Peter James’ ‘Roy Grace’ series, which features some (although fictional) graphic descriptions of autopsies.
I’ve heard really good things about this book, so I can’t wait to get started on it!
The House on Cold Hill by Peter James
I actually already own the hardback copy of this book, but as much as I love the look of a hardback on a shelf, I hate actually reading them. Paperbacks are a lot more natural to me, and so I had to pick up the paper copy of this book.
‘Moving from the heart of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside is a big undertaking for Ollie and Caro Harcourt and their twelve-year-old daughter Jade. But when they view the Cold Hill House – a huge dilapidated Georgian mansion – Ollie is filled with excitement. Despite the financial strain of the move, he has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child, and he sees Cold Hill House as a paradise for his animal-loving daughter, the perfect base for his web-design business and a terrific long-term investment.
Within days of moving in, it becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren’t the only residents of the house. A friend of Jade’s is the first to see the spectral woman, standing behind her as the girls talk on FaceTime. Then there are more sightings, and as the house seems to turn on the Harcourts, the terrified family discover its dark history, and the horrible truth of what it could mean for all of them…’
I’ve become a huge fan of Peter James this year, and so I know I’m going to love this book. It’s a pretty short read compared to the rest of his books, too, so I’m sure I’ll fly through it.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Now this is a book I have seen all over Bookstagram recently, and the cover is absolutely stunning, so when I saw it in Waterstones I couldn’t resist picking it up. I wasn’t overly struck on the blurb at first, but the comment from the New York Times made me excited to read it: Painfully beautiful…At once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature.
‘For years, rumours of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kyra Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.’
I’m putting all my trust in Bookstagram for this one – and I don’t think I’ll regret it!
The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
This is another one that’s filled my Bookstagram feed recently, and I thought I was going to give it a miss until I picked it up in the shop and read the back.
I am a sucker for a good rom-com, and this concept seems pretty unique, and I think it’s one I’m going to enjoy – or at least, I hope so!
‘Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact they still haven’t met yet, it seems this flatshare is more complicated than expected…’
I’m fairly certain this will be an enjoyable and easy read to get me through the three-week quiet time.
Dead Man’s Footsteps by Peter James
Last but ever so certainly not least is the fourth book in Peter James’ ‘Roy Grace’ series which I have been sailing through so far this year. These books are unbelievably great, and I have no doubt that this one will be too.
‘The skeletal remains of a woman’s body found in a storm drain lead Detective Superintendent Roy Grace on an investigation spanning the globe. Meanwhile, a grim discovery is made in Australia and another woman’s life is in danger on the streets of Brighton.
Years earlier, amid the tragic mayhem of 9/11, failed businessman Ronnie Wilson sees the chance to shed his debts, disappear, and start a new life overseas.
Grace soon finds himself drawn into a desperate race against time to link all these seemingly unconnected events, and to save the next victim from being hunted down…’
I’ve lived near Brighton my whole life and I’ve spent a lot of time wandering its streets, so I absolutely love reading books set somewhere so familiar – I think this book will be interesting as it stretches out worldwide unlike the rest of the series, and I’m definitely intrigued as to how it will all tie together.
With plenty of books to read, I think I’ll be just fine over the next few weeks. If you’d like to stay up to date with how I’m getting on with my TBR list, I’m much more active over on my Bookstagram @longroad.bookclub , so if you’re not following already, be sure to head on over, I’d love to see you there.
Let me know what books are on your TBR list, and how you’re spending your time if you’re on lockdown too.