TBR Thursday 161…

Episode 161…

Despite tennis season having got well and truly underway, the TBR has taken a cool little tumble this week – down 1 to 219…

Here are a few to fill in the gaps between matches…

True Crime

Courtesy of riverrun via Amazon Vine UK. I thoroughly enjoyed French’s previous true crime book, Midnight in Peking, so am looking forward to this one very much. And it will take me to Shanghai for my Around the World tour…

The Blurb says: 1930s Shanghai could give Chicago a run for its money. In the years before the Japanese invaded, the city was a haven for outlaws from all over the world: a place where pasts could be forgotten, fascism and communism outrun, names invented, fortunes made – and lost.
‘Lucky’ Jack Riley was the most notorious of those outlaws. An ex-Navy boxing champion, he escaped from prison in the States, spotted a craze for gambling and rose to become the Slot King of Shanghai. Ruler of the clubs in that day was ‘Dapper’ Joe Farren – a Jewish boy who fled Vienna’s ghetto with a dream of dance halls. His chorus lines rivalled Ziegfeld’s and his name was in lights above the city’s biggest casino.

In 1940 they bestrode the Shanghai Badlands like kings, while all around the Solitary Island was poverty, starvation and genocide. They thought they ruled Shanghai; but the city had other ideas. This is the story of their rise to power, their downfall, and the trail of destruction they left in their wake. Shanghai was their playground for a flickering few years, a city where for a fleeting moment even the wildest dreams seemed possible.

In the vein of true crime books whose real brilliance is the recreation of a time and place, this is an impeccably researched narrative non-fiction told with superb energy and brio, as if James Ellroy had stumbled into a Shanghai cathouse.

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Courtesy of Eyewear Publishing. I first saw a glowing review of this one from the lovely Ann Marie at Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine. Brindisi in Puglia is one of the spots on the “compulsory” section of my Around the World tour and you have no idea how hard it is to find any books set there and still in print! So since Ann Marie thinks this one gives a great sense of the place, I jumped aboard… and doesn’t it sound like a perfect summer read?

The Blurb says: Tommaso has escaped discovery for thirty years but a young private investigator, Will, has tracked him down. Tommaso asks him to pretend never to have found him. To persuade Will, Tommaso recounts the story of his life and his great love. In the process, he comes to recognise his true role in the events which unfolded, and the legacy of unresolved grief. Now he’s being presented with a second chance – but is he ready to pay the price it exacts? That Summer In Puglia is a tale of love, loss, the perils of self-deception and the power of compassion. Puglia offers an ideal setting: its layers of history are integral to the story, itself an excavation of a man’s past; Tommaso’s increasingly vivid memories of its sensuous colours, aromas and tastes, and of how it felt to love and be loved, eventually transform the discomforting tone with which he at first tries to keep Will and painful truths at a distance. This remarkable debut combines a gripping plot and perceptive insights into human nature with delicate lyricism.

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Courtesy of Bloodhound Books via NetGalley. I can’t remember if I saw a review for this or just selected it for the title and blurb, but it’s another one that sounds like it will fit into my desire for lighter reads over the summer. Dartmoor and murder? A classic combination…

The Blurb says: Life is good for DI Dan Hellier until the discovery of two headless, handless bodies buried in a bog on Dartmoor. But how can he identify the victims when nobody has reported them missing?

The tension mounts when the death of a young man plunges Hellier into the murky world of the Garrett family. Could the peaceful, family-run Animal Rescue Centre really be a cover for murder and other criminal activity?

Hellier is about to learn just how far people will go to get what they want. And this investigation will challenge Hellier’s decisions as he races to catch another murderer before it’s too late.

*** Death On Dartmoor was previously published as Death and The Good Son by B.A. Steadman***

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Classic Science Fiction

And staying with lighter reads, a re-read for my Classics Club list. I love John Wyndham, so am looking forward to this one…

The Blurb says: Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.

But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.

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NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads or Amazon UK.

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So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?

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51 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 161…

  1. I particularly like the look of the Paul Finch book after reading Midnight in Peking on your recommendation last year. The other two crime novels look good too but I’ll pass on Day of The Triffids!


  2. You’ve got some good ‘uns there, FictionFan. I’m especially drawn to the French, particularly its setting and context. Sometimes, true-crime stories can really be excellent. Not sure about the Triffads, though, if I’m being honest…


    • City of Devils looks great from the blurb, and I thoroughly enjoyed his writing style in his last book, so I have high hopes! Ah, I can see I’m going to have to work hard to sell the Triffids to all you doubters… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, all of them are tempting! I saw the movie adaptation of The Day of the Triffids ages ago, so I’ll be interested in your review of the book. Also, I’ve been to Shanghai, so the first book roused my curiosity.


    • I’m not sure if I’ve seen the whole movie or just loads of clips, but I’m going to watch it after I re-read the book. Ooh, have you? I’d have loved to have gone to Shanghai – though maybe not at this period when it seems to have been all gangsters… 😉


  4. Only a true crime novel lover could call a book that describes ‘headless, handless bodies’ as a ‘light’ read for summer. Ha! So, of course, Death on Dartmoor appeals to me as well.


  5. I’m so enamored over watching Rafa slip and catch his racquet that I find it hard to read these blurbs, FF — don’t fault me, okay? He really has skills, you know! Okay, if I need to pick one, I’m going with the headless, handless bodies!


    • Haha – I was toying with giving up reading books and just spending my time watching Rafa gifs from now on… 😉 The headless bodies seem to be the popular choice! What a bloodthirsty lot you all are! 😇


  6. I read Day of the Triffids years ago – after watching a TV version if I remember correctly. I think I enjoyed it 🙂

    Death on Dartmoor – with two headless, handless bodies and a murderous Animal Rescue Centre – sounds like a very dangerous place. But That Summer in Puglia sounds more appealing to me.


    • It’s years since I read it too, but I love Wyndham’s writing so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this re-read! And then I’ll watch the film…

      Haha – and yet oddly Death on Dartmoor sounds as if it might be at the cosy-ish end of crime fiction too! 😉 I like the sound of That Summer in Puglia too – and a lovely place to “visit” over the summer…


  7. I’ve been looking forward to your science fiction reviews, lately. You tend to read them much more smartly than other people, especially considering the way you see the book speaking to its contemporary audience and readers today.


    • Aw, thank you! 😀 I must admit I think classic sci-fi was much better at that than a lot of the contemporary stuff, though it’s unfair of me to say that really, since I don’t read much of the new stuff. But these classics always shed light on what people were thinking and worrying about in their time…


    • Re-reading is always good fun – you know in advance you’ll like the book! 🙂

      Haha – he’s undoubtedly the coolest person on the planet. And eleven-times French Open Champion! 😀 🏆🎾

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Death on Dartmoor reminds me of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, mainly because ‘bogs’ seem to be a key environment for suspicious activity. I’ll be interested to see how that one turns out for you!


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