Lovesey, Peter. The Headhunters.

NY: Soho Press, 2008.

This is the second in a spinoff series from the adventures of Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond, in this case featuring DCI “Hen” Mallin of Chichester. The Diamond stories are told entirely from his own POV but these are different, with multiple narrative points of view.


Published in: on 28 September 2015 at 6:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Utley, Steven. The 400-Million-Year Itch: Silurian Tales, Vol. 1.

Greenwood, Western Australia: Ticonderoga Publications, 2012.

Steve, who died recently at a shockingly young age, was one of the best of the handful of first-rate science fiction authors whom Texas produced in the 1970s and ’80s, and whom hardly anyone except their avid fans has ever heard of. I take that back: Most of the leading literary lights of science fiction themselves had a very high regard for Mr. Utley’s work. They recognized quality when they saw it.


Lovesey, Peter. Skeleton Hill.

NY: Soho Press, 2009.

The author lives (or used to) in the Roman-founded spa city of Bath, which is mostly why his Detective Superintendent Diamond series is set there, and it makes a nice change from London and Yorkshire.


Published in: on 22 September 2015 at 6:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hickman, Jonathan. Pax Romana.

Berkeley, CA: Image Comics, 2013.

This is an alternate history story in graphic novel form, and it’s quite inventive. Suppose a couple of physicists fifty years from now discover a method of time travel — actual physical transport back to the past. But these physicists work for the Vatican Observatory, so they keep their work quiet and take it directly to the pope.


Hill, Reginald. A Clubbable Woman.

Woodstock, VT: Countryman Press, 1984.

The author began his detective series featuring Detective Superintendent “Fat Andy” Dalziel and his sidekick, Peter Pascoe, in 1970 and there have been nearly two dozen installments in the forty years since, but somehow I never got around to reading them until recently. (And I wonder why it took fourteen years for this first book to be published in the U.S., when a number of subsequent volumes had already appeared here.)


Published in: on 16 September 2015 at 9:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lovesey, Peter. The Secret Hangman.

NY: Soho Press, 2007.

It’s been three years since the wife of Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond was murdered in Bath’s Victoria Park, and he thought he had come to grips with his loss, but being called out to view the body of another woman in the same park early one morning is very unsettling. This one is hanging by the neck from a piece of playground equipment, but what was at first assumed to be a suicide quickly proves (of course) to be murder.


Published in: on 13 September 2015 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Block, Lawrence. Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf.

Burton, MI: Subterranean Press, 2014.

Block has been writing — and publishing — fiction for an amazing number of decades, most of it crime-related, though he attempted many other forms when he was starting out. In the late 1970s, he began a series of short stories, all but one of which appeared in Ellery Queen, featuring a defense attorney who worked on contingency: If he didn’t get you off, you didn’t pay.


Published in: on 10 September 2015 at 7:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Davis, Graeme. Vikings in America.

Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2009.

Half a century ago, in They All Discovered America, Michael Boland identified what he called the “NEBC Principle” — “No Europeans Before Columbus.” This is the general attitude of most professional academic historians and they tend to condemn any contrary discussion without even considering the alternatives.


Published in: on 8 September 2015 at 8:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Forester, C. S. Commodore Hornblower.

Boston: Little, Brown, 1945.

It’s 1812 and Captain Sir Horatio Hornblower has been ashore for six months. He’s the new squire of Smallbridge and that life is beginning to chafe. Then he’s called to the Admiralty and offered a commodore’s job — first-class with a broad pennant, like a temporary, small-scale admiral. Napoleon is contemplating an invasion of Russia but the Czar wants to avoid a fight.


Graves, Ralph. The Lost Eagles.

NY: Knopf, 1955.

Graves was primarily a print journalist — eventually editorial director and managing editor of both Life and Time magazines — but he also wrote a few novels along the way, most of them now forgotten. This was his second book and his only historical, set in the Rome of Augustus and Tiberius, and featuring Severus Varus, cousin of the unfortunate Quinctilius Varus, who lost three entire legions at Teutoberg Forest in 9 AD.