I got this after some research as I was hankering for something along the same lines and, crucially, as good as The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. 

While this was good, it didn’t reach the heights of the aforementioned. It feels as if it needed a few more rounds of editing. The details seem a bit chaotic and muddled at points and it wasn’t quite as clever as the cover and testimonials might suggest. It betrays the author’s legal background as well. It is written from the perspective of one character but the direction of much of the dialogue contrives to fall back on quite detailed legal theory in situations where it simply wouldn’t happen in reality. Which does break the fourth wall somewhat. 

Still, perhaps I’m being a bit harsh. It was a fun read and certainly not the worst book I’ve ever read. While it didn’t quite hit the mark that propels it into the same league as Stuart Turton’s first novel, it’s still worth a read. 


This book is rather unique. It’s origin was in the woodprint images made by the author on the subject of British mythology. Her writing around the various stories makes up the content of this book. Where extra detail is needed, she embellishes with descriptive prose and it all makes for a rather slick project. While it is not always clear where fact and mythology begin and end, that rather misses the point I suspect.

A pleasant read.

Long Players

Nice short book consisting of very short accounts of what various authors see as their most cherished albums. It can be read in an afternoon. While I actually found the content from the authors a bit cliched and pretentious in places, the introduction from the editor was actually the best bit and echoed a lot of what I have recently been writing about. 

If you have an interest in music, worth a look. 

Murder: The Biography

This was bought on a whim and with a suspicion that it would be a bit of a bargain bin type book. The cover and quality of the binding had a lot to do with this. 

A shame as the content is much more sophisticated. It turns out this is a scholarly and more to the point, a hugely interesting and entertaining account of various murders throughout British history, all of which have shaped law in some way. 

Packed with interesting factoids and titbits, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read. I’d recommend it. 

Dreams From My Father

I read this at around the same time that Donald Trump was being indicted. Two figures more polarised one will not find. It is an account of Obama’s early life ending just before he sets off for law school and was written when he was a senator I believe, so quite an old book now. This book is slick, sophisticated, intelligent, wise, well considered, and has a deeply reflective moral centre. All things that one would expect from a leader and particularly from the president of a country. That Donald Trump ever became president is inexplicable enough but the fact that even now, people are questioning as to whether his indictment might strengthen his chances of being re-elected would be laughable if not so tragic. Trump is the opposite of all of the above and anyone that fails to notice this obvious reality is an utter fool. In fact that’s an understatement. So far fetched are these events that I do wonder sometimes where the hidden cameras are. 

That aside, this is an interesting a deeply personal book, more so than I had anticipated. Race is the overriding theme, which, though of course important, I did find a little overpowering and didn’t allow much room for anything else. Either way, as one might expect, very well written and scholarly. 

The only other criticism I would have is the cover. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have him wearing a green/blue shirt on a blue background?

Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine

Lovely book this. It takes the reader through a couple of millennia of medicine and the way it was practised in a concise and well written way. The illustrations add to the effect and it’s as good a book one might find on the subject. Really enjoyed it. 

Inherent Vice

This was a gift so not one I would usually have bought for myself. If I’m honest, it was a real slog. The writing style was difficult to follow. It jumps around and I wouldn’t be surprised if certain narcotics were involved in the writing process. Clunky dialogue, weighed down with indecipherable slang, a plot that jumps around aimlessly and descriptions of characters that are admittedly in places very good but in others, non-existent.  It’s just a bit of a mess. And a long one at that.

Apparently there’s a film. Go figure.