The Outsider by Stephen King

I’m finding this an oddly tough review to write. There were parts of THE OUTSIDER that I really, really enjoyed, and there were parts so unengaging I skim-read them. And I hate it when I skim-read! But what made that lack of attention on my part so particularly annoying, was that the book started out…

The Hunter by Richard Stark

Imagine you’re Donald Westlake in 1961/1962. You’re a struggling writer, churning our four or five novels a year under a variety of names and across a number of genres. Then one day you finish a book named THE HUNTER under the pseudonym Richard Stark. A book about a ruthless, super thief named Parker who finds…

It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

Reading IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE in the time of Trump is a hugely depressing experience. So much of his rise is here in a book written in the 1930s. There’s the nationalism, the populism, the demonization of ‘the other’. There’s the making enemies out of anyone who has the temerity to disagree with him. What…

The Blue Room by Georges Simenon

Apparently, Simenon thought that his Maigret novels were his job, while it was his other crime novels that were his passion. It’s easy to see how as a writer he’d reach that conclusion. Whodunnits, after all, have to follow a template; they don’t really work unless they adhere to that template. However other types of…

Secret by William F. Aicher

You develop a different set of primal fears when you have a child. There’s a constant dread of something bad and terrible maybe happening to your darling babe that’s impossible to totally lose. More than once I’ve run with my heart pounding at the beeping of the monitor, only for everything to turn out fine.…

The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen

A married couple, with some initially undefined trauma hanging over them, move to the husband’s home town to both look after his ailing parents and make a fresh start. But there seems to be something that deeply affects the husband in the house they settle into. Something in the basement which is dark and threatening…

The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper by Robin Jarossi

The Jack the Stripper/Nude Killings case of the early 1960s was a huge deal at the time. Seven murders, hundreds of policemen deployed, masses of press coverage. But it was never solved. And the culprit is the most prolific, never caught serial killer in Britain of the Twentieth Century. Actually, he would seem to be…