A willing victim, by Laura Wilson [audiobook]. Read by Séan Barrett. Oxford: Isis, 2012.
In 1956, DI Ted Stratton is investigating the death of Jeremy Lloyd in London; his enquiries take him to the countryside, to the Foundation for Spiritual Understanding founded by a Mr Roth. There, he's bewildered by a cast of rather strange characters, including an immaculately-conceived child, Michael. When a woman's body is found in nearby woods, Stratton presumes that it's Michael's mother, but events become steadily stranger. Well written and with a twist in the tail.
A blind eye, by GM Ford [audiobook]. Read by Jeff Harding. Whitley Bay: Chivers/BBC, 2006.
Frank Corso and Meg Dougherty are ostensibly heading out for a photography shoot for Corso's latest true crime book; it isn't until a little later that Corso reveals he's skipping town to avoid a grand jury subpoena. They're caught in a blizzard driving between airports, and shelter in a semi-derelict house; when they tear up some floorboards to make a fire, they find the bodies of a family. Minus the wife, who turns out to have a string of aliases. Corso teams up with the local sheriff (an attractive woman) to investigate. Tightly plotted, a lot of humour, and you can't go wrong with a Jeff Harding reading...
Fathomless riches, or, How I went from pop to pulpit, by the Rev Richard Coles. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2014.
This was a lovely book; despite many of the events depicted in it! Richard Coles has written this autobiography and confession telling about the absurdities of 1980s pop-stardom (doing Red Wedge gigs between tours of unimaginable excess), the horror of living in the generation decimated by AIDS, the years between where he was lost and drifting, and his religious reawakening and eventual ordination. He brings wit and extreme honesty to his story, and describes his religious experience with a combination of matter-of-factness, incredulity and joy with which I could really empathise. And it sounds like him speaking, which isn't the case with all autobiographies.
The cruellest month, by Louise Penny [audiobook]. Read by Adam Sims. Oxford: Isis, 2007.
It's Easter; but the egg-hunt isn't the only thing going on in Three Pines. Someone's attempting a resurrection of another kind, holding a séance at the old Hadley House, scene of previous crimes; and the result is another death, a woman apparently frightened to death. Armand Gamache is called in again with his team, but they have more than one worry. Someone is out to discredit and disgrace Gamache; someone very close to him. Another wonderfully written book by Louise Penny, with some excellent three-dimensional characters...
Etape: the untold story of the Tour de France's defining stages, by Richard Moore. London: HarperSport, 2014.
Moore has explored the Tour de France by selecting classic, representational or quite frankly bonkers stages over the last 40 years; and, with only one exception (that of Marco Pantani) interviewed the main players. This book features interviews with Chris Boardman, Mark Cavendish, Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond, Eddy Merckx, David Millar and, controversially, Lance Armstrong (who, as we now know, never won anything at all...) It gives a flavour of the biggest bike race in the world from the point of view of riders, trainers, coaches and administrators, and does it all wonderfully entertainingly. You get the stage, but you also learn about the background, what made this stage so important, and the repercussions; and you're also constantly reminded about the dark, doping days in cycling's history.
Of which, more in the next set of reviews...