I’m maybe a bit strange in that I give most of my books away to charity shops once I’ve read them. It’s mainly a practical thing since I lost my library space to my daughter. There’s one bookcase in my living room and it contains the books I can’t part with, countless unread ones (one day…) and stuff I may decide to use for research. Basically, it’s a mess that I really should tidy up…
What kind of books will definitely not be found in your bookcase?
It is mainly crime novels, but you’ll find plenty of other stuff on there, too. What you won’t find is science-fiction or horror. It’s never appealed to me.
What author have you discovered and loved recently?
So many! The world of crime fiction is never short of exciting new books. Steve Cavanagh’s debut, “The Defence”, is a great debut.
Where is your favourite place to read?
My daughter is three-years-old, so anywhere quiet without the sound of “Frozen” in the background is a result. Other than that, you can’t beat reading in bed or on a train.
Can books change lives? If so, which one changed yours?
They absolutely can. Like a lot of teenage boys, I stopped reading when everything else in the world suddenly started to look more exciting. I read ‘Fever Pitch’ by Nick Hornby when I was in my late-teens and it gave me the bug again. If I wasn’t a reader, I certainly wouldn’t be a writer.
What’s the book you’d choose as your Desert Island read?
Only one? The complete works of John Steinbeck. He could do everything, but it’s also really thick. Hopefully the rescue party will arrive just as I finish it.
What book did you give last as a present and to whom?
My friend Lynda Hill has written a book about the four concerts The Beatles played in my home city of Hull. It’s a great slice of social history and my mum camped out overnight to get a ticket for one of the shows. I bought it for her in the hope it would bring back some good memories.
What are you reading now?
“Gun Street Girl” by Adrian McKinty. His Duffy series is quickly becoming one of my favourites. Hugely entertaining, but it also raises interesting and important questions about Ireland in the 1980s.
What are your top ten books?
It could change at any moment, but in no particular order…
- “The Grapes of Wrath” (John Steinbeck)
- “Catch 22” (Joseph Heller)
- “Black and Blue” (Ian Rankin)
- “Best and Edwards” (Gordon Burn)
- “Revolutions in the Head” (Iain MacDonald)
- “Freaky Deaky” (Elmore Leonard)
- “Huckleberry Finn” (Mark Twain)
- “The Long Goodbye” (Raymond Chandler)
- “Hard Rain” (George Pelecanos)
- “The Poet” (Michael Connelly)
What’s your most treasured book on your bookcase?
“The Collected Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan-Doyle, a book I received as a child and one that introduced me to crime writing.
“The Crooked Beat” by Nick Quantrill is published by Caffeine Nights.