October Round-Up and Raven’s Book of the Month

_DSC0185 (Common Raven)

It was wonderful to host an exclusive Q&A with Dwayne Alexander Smith and to take part in the blog tour for the release of Luca Veste’s The Dying Place, but a month of total frustration reading-wise which saw my normal list of 10 or more severely curtailed! Due to the time pressures of reading and reviewing, I now have ‘the 40 page rule’.  So if a book has not piqued my interest, be it with characterisation, location, the writing style or other random points of interest that I look for, it gets consigned to the slush pile. Some people have questioned me on the wisdom of this, but having seen other reviews of books I’ve abandoned, some people have suffered excruciating mental torment in their dogged determination to read to the end. Sadly, the axe fell on six books this month which didn’t make the grade in terms of what hooks me in- a well-crafted writing style, a-smack-between-the-eyes plotline, or an endearing or likeably dislikeable protagonist. It also means that I have more time now to unearth some real gems, and as I am participating in Crime Fiction Lover.com  New Talent November features, (see next post) a chance to discover some cracking new authors. Fear not though, I have already read three incredibly strong books for release in November, and looking at the to-be-read pile they will have good company I’m sure…

Raven reviewed:

Val McDermid- Forensics: The Anatomy Of Crime

Ryan David Jahn- The Gentle Assassin

Steffen Jacobsen- Trophy

Marco Malvaldi- Three Card Monte (www.crimefictionlover.com)

Luca Veste- The Dying Place


Book of the Month

jahnRyan David Jahn- The Gentle Assassin:

Seems a tad unfair to only have 5 to choose from this month, but having waited a good while for a new one from the exceptionally talented Mr Jahn, I could not award this to anyone else. Once again, Jahn lifts the ordinary crime thriller to join the ranks of the best contemporary American fiction writers, with this thoughtful, emotional and genuinely engaging novel. With its careful interweaving of two timelines, and two central characters that effortlessly carry the emotional weight of this compelling thriller, this may well feature in my end of year Top 5. Watch this space…


Happy reading everyone!


  1. Raven – I think you have a good idea about the 40-Page limit. Perhaps that may mean that you miss out on some books you’d otherwise have enjoyed. But there are so many books out there, it’s impossible to read them all. And as you say, to soldier all the way through a book that has nothing to ‘catch’ you as a reader is sometimes a real effort. There are some books I’ve read that were far better at the end than I thought they’d be, but still…

    • Sometimes I read past 40 pages, willing the writer to make me excited and have ended up reading whole books, like you say, seeking the ‘golden moment’. Strangely, some of the books I enjoy most are ones where nothing really happens, but it’s such a beautiful journey getting to this conclusion 🙂

  2. I have a similar rule on novels, the length of the limit depends on the length of the book. Fifty pages for a standard book, 100 for the doorstops, which usually take little more time getting started. I’ll have to check out Jahn. Sounds interesting.

    • Thanks for stopping by! I think if I read solely for pleasure I may have a different mindset but as a reviewer time is precious. You are quite right about doorstops- they need closer attention 🙂 Please check out Jahn- my favourite is Acts of Violence.

  3. I’ve entered this on Pick of the Month Raven -http://paradise-mysteries.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/crime-fiction-pick-of-month-october-2014.html

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