Peter James — Best Seller!

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Peter James?

Roy Grace?  Brighton?  Twitter Feed?  or the Super Agent — after all, Carol Blake is as big a seller in her own right as many of her authors!

For me, it’s the stand alones.  I came to Peter James in around 2001, a time when I lived alone in a small cottage in the country with a docile non-barking beagle and a broken heart.  Peter James came along and he woke me up — literally, I didn’t sleep for a whole week while I made my way through the Alchemist, Possession and Host.  I loved them.

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Hooked from the word go.  Of course, at the time it wasn’t as easy to get your hands on Peter James books and I remember two of them being brought back from London, which I quickly devoured and raved about them to anyone who’d listen.  For me, it was as much the research around each book that made it special.  It was quite obvious that James spent as much time researching as he did writing.  His plotting is meticulous, but it is his way of drawing out the story that reels you in.   He is the consummate story teller.  As the years have worn on and life is now a lot fuller than it was on those winter nights in my little cottage, my reading time has become far more precious, I pick and choose my books with care.

Roy Grace and his team in Brighton have featured on my books shelves, but I have to admit there is nothing like the old one offs.  There is no doubt that James writes a great crime procedural and heaven knows I’m a big fan of the genre, but for him it seems such a waste, such an easy way out, after all, he has a back list of greats without having to resort to a series.

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The Alchemist, re-released, with a flashy new cover remains a favorite.  It is the story about Montanna Bannerman’s brush with the ‘most caring’ pharmaceutical company in the world.  After Monty’s father agrees to work with Bendix Schere, they begin to question the ethics of the big multi national.  Soon there are dead bodies, questionable ethics, science versus magic and Monty is not sure where to turn.  In a quest for answers, the reader is led down a road with the most unexpected twists and turns.  A real heart stopper in places, a throat tightener, breath holder.  Conspiracy theories and the occult all find room to flit through this assured story.  James throws all of our expectations, beliefs and questions into a  maelstrom of action and conjecture, but expertly pulls us through the story to a satisfying conclusion.

And next…

The House On Cold Hill

A Stand Alone…

Will I be reading the next one?  You bet, I’m looking forward to it already!

So, what are you reading now…

I have a theory, it’s simple really.

If you’re a reader, then you’re a reader.  To the non reading community out there (do they actually exist?)  It comes as a surprise when you say you are reading, not one, not two, but usually three books at a time.  So, I wonder, how many books do other people keep on their night tables at a time.  For me, currently its….

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett.

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I started reading this over breakfast this morning, really enjoying it.  It’s a short book, written in the clipped tones of her majesty with a smattering of the common man thrown in.  Unlikely to last too many days I fear, an early night planned tonight so it could be finished by the morning.

In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward.

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One of my two reading principles of this year is to read at least twelve debuts and this is proving very enjoyable.  Note to self, must review this pretty soon! The other is to read twelve books published by small houses!  (And I’m doing quite nicely on that too, thank you!)

Finally, I’m re-reading;

How to Practise, The Way to a Meaningful Life,

by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

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Like I say, not my first time reading this, and it strikes me sometimes how far I have to go, but occasionally, as you go about the mundane daily stuff, words and intentions come back to you and maybe, just maybe some of the teachings will brush off.  I can only hope and keep trying!