Books of the month: September 2016

Pick of the month

adeadlycambodiancrimespree2308_fWith my reading get back to something like normal during September the choice for book of the month was very difficult. Half of the 10 books I finished this month are worthy of the title but I’m opting for Shamini Flint’s A DEADLY CAMBODIAN CRIME SPREE because it encompasses so much of what I look for in crime fiction yet didn’t leave me feeling suicidal. As I said in my review “I don’t know what else you could possibly want from a novel than an evocative setting, a genuinely thought provoking narrative and characters who worm their way into your heart. Even those who haven’t read earlier instalments of this series need not worry: this is a novel that stands entirely on its own.

The rest, in reading order 

  • Tania Chandler DEAD IN THE WATER (an Australian novel with review to come closer to the publishing date)
  • Dorothy L. Sayers STRONG POISON (I enjoyed my second Sayers more than my first for a 1930 book but can’t imagine the insufferable Lord Peter Wimsey ever being a firm favourite)
  • Val McDermid OUT OF BOUNDS (McDermid is in top form with both her writing and social commentary in this cold case novel)
  • Meg and Tom Keneally THE SOLDIER’S CURSE (I thoroughly enjoyed the first instalment of historical fiction set in a colonia penal settlement from this father/daughter writing team)
  • Todd Borg TAHOE DEATH FALL (Was glad to find a non-Vegas story for the Nevada leg of my Reading USA Fiction challenge and really enjoyed the secret-laden mystery and meeting Spot, a Great Dane with heart)
  • Belinda Bauer’s THE SHUT EYE (One of the few authors who could get me to read a novel dripping with ‘woo woo’ elements, this novel is all heart)
  • Georges Simenon PIETR THE LATVIAN (I decided to visit 1930 a second time and found lots to enjoy in the characters and setting, even though the story itself did not grab me entirely)
  • Zygmunt Miloszweski RAGE (this Polish novel that views domestic violence from multiple angles and features a fabulously well-rounded lead character in prosecutor Teodor Szacki is a brilliant read)
  • Sue Williams DEAD MEN DON’T ORDER FLAKE (a light, fun-filled romp through a small Victorian town in which everyone knows everyone else’s business and murderers hide in plain sight)

The only book I didn’t think much of this month was one I didn’t bother to finish so I can happily recommend all of the above titles.

Progress Towards 2016’s Bookish Goals

Challenge Goal Progress
Australian Women Writers Challenge Read 25 eligible books, review at least 20 of them Read 13.5 and reviewed 12.5 books (the 0.5 is due to a male/female writing team)
Reading US Fiction Challenge Read 6 books by new to me authors set in different states of the US  5/6 achieved
Reduce TBR Have a TBR of 100 or less by the end of 2016 (starting point 145) TBR = 147 at end of month
Buy Australian Buy no physical or eBooks from non-Australian stores 0 this month, 3 in total this year
Read older books too Participate in at least 6 of the monthly Crimes of the Century challenges hosted at Past Offences  9/6 achieved
No Girl books Read no books with the word Girl in the title. Because meh.  0/0 achieved

It still looks like I’ll only achieve 2 or 3 of my bookish goals for the year but I’m not too disappointed. I know, for example, that I’d have bought a lot more cheap books from Amazon and elsewhere if I didn’t have my ‘buy Australian’ goal in mind all the time. Each of the three times I’ve bought from non-Australian stores I’ve had sound (to me) reasons and overall I still feel pretty good about supporting local booksellers as much as possible.

Speaking of which I went on a bit of a book-buying spree during September, something I haven’t done for ages and really enjoyed. Here’s what my new haul, all from local bookshops, looks like in my cataloguing app (I use Collectorz).


What about you? Did you have a great read during September? Anything good coming up for October? 

This entry was posted in Belinda Bauer, books of the month, Dorothy L. Sayers, George Pelecanos, Meg Keneally (Aus), Shamini Flint, Sue Williams (Aus), Tania Chandler (Aus), Todd Borg, Tom Keneally (Aus), Val McDermid, Zygmunt Miloszewski. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Books of the month: September 2016

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Very glad you had a good reading month, Bernadette. I’m not surprised in the least that you chose The Shamini Flint as your top read; she’s really talented, and I do like her Inspector Singh very much. I really like the look of the new books you’ve got, too. Should be a good last quarter for you!


  2. Deborah says:

    I tend to just use Goodreads to catalogue / list my reading but I like the pic of the bookshelves, so wonder if the App does that?

    You’re doing well on all of your challenges. I had a few good reads in Sept and I enjoyed McDermid’s Out of Bounds as well!


  3. kathy d. says:

    A lot of good reads there, it appears. I’ll try out some of them.
    Last month I read a few non-mysteries, although one won the Theakston Peculiar Crime award this year: The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. it is a zany, unusual book, which isn’t a mystery, but has criminal acts in it. It also won the Bailey Women Writers’ Prize. The author is new at novels; this is her first book, but she can write characters and sentences very well. Fascinated by her writing. It’s set in the underbelly of Cork, Ireland, and it is rife with Irish wit.
    Another good book is set in North Dakota in 1964 on the plains during the cold War. Marjorie Tremaine is a determined, feisty farmer who encounters some murders in her town. She gets involved in solving them. The title is See Also Deception, the second book in the series.
    The third will be set in New York City, not new to me, but I want to see what he character does here. Author is Larry Sweazy.


  4. kathy d. says:

    Oh, I must add also Patti Abbott’s Shot in Detroit, an unusual story with an unusual protagonist. It did not go over my boundaries, and I thought the main character interesting in her eccentricities, and funny.
    I also read Sarah Hilary’s Someone Else’s Skin. Although I ran through several psychological suspense and women-in-peril light books over the summer and in September, I found Hilary’s writing to be better than many writers. The main character is complicated. My only reluctance to read more by here is the level of brutality and descriptions of past and present gore. It went past my boundaries a few times. But she writes this type of book well. I wanted to read her next book, but saw it’s about violence against children, which I think is out of my radar.


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