As you know, because I have told you often enough, the purveyers of books and manuscripts to the gentry in the counties of Dorset and Somerset are not only pleased but proud that I bestow my patronage upon them from time to time. Such fine old established book retailers as The Hospice Shop, the OXFAM shop, the Heart Foundation Shop, amongst many others - well, these days there are only charity shops left in our High Streets - always greet me with a smile, at least, I think it's a smile as I sidle in and proceed to elbow any recalcitrant old age pensioners out of the space in front of the second-hand book shelves. Sometimes they dare to raise their voices to me in protest until one of the volunteer shop assistants whispers to them the fact that I'm a bad-tempered old git an old-established customer.
Anyway, here's a couple of 'corkers' I have just finished reading. Tonight I Said Goodbye by Michael Koryta, an excellent, straightforward - well, fairly straightforward - thriller featuring his regular 'hero', Lincoln Perry. In this yarn he's up against a Russian mob so that provides Mr. Koryta with the opportunity to invent some real monsters. A good holiday read!
The second 'corker' is Down River by John Hart and this is more like a novel with murders in it rather than a straightforward thriller. It is nicely complex with a rich web of family connections which stretch back into time. The quality of the writing is high and Mr. Hart has mastered the art of leading his 'hero' (and thereby his readers) up various cul-de-sacs until the very end when all is explained. An ideal book for the beach - or for hospital waiting-rooms where I'll be spending a bit of time in the near future!
Incidentally, charity shops are superb for picking up books you never see in the main bookshops and because their supply is somewhat limited it only takes me about a minute and half to run my finger along the shelves and pick something that jumps out at me. Also, at, say, a £1 a book I don't care if it turns out to be a stinker. I don't know why I'm telling you all this because you'll all be shooting down there and nicking the good books - ungrateful bastards!