Hello and welcome to the LJ Ross Book Club!

I created this space for book lovers, to spark positive conversations about our shared love of reading! Here, you can discover my monthly picks of the best classic and new titles (when you’re not reading the latest DCI Ryan, of course!) and look out for monthly competitions, giveaways and live Q & A’s with guest authors. Join in the conversation online, or sign up to the newsletter to find out more. #LJBookClub

This Month’s Picks

Quick Curtain

Alan Melville

About

In this British Library Crime Classic, the show opens at The Grosvenor theatre to a packed house, where the lead actor is shot and another actor is found dead. Initial appearances suggest a straightforward case of murder followed by suicide. Inspector Wilson of Scotland Yard and his son, an enthusiastic young reporter are both in the audience that night and they suspect foul play...

LJ's thoughts

Alan Melville found his audience during the 'Golden Age' of crime fiction but, with the passage of time, his work was gradually forgotten. However, thanks to its revival as part of the series of British Crime Classics, new audiences have been able to discover his accessible, nostalgic storytelling with its humorous flavour. I loved it, and have set one of my own books in London's Theatreland, so I appreciate a dramatic setting..!

Where to find it

Kiss the Girls

James Patterson

About

It’s the second of Patterson's blockbusting novels to feature his main protagonist, Alex Cross, a forensic psychologist and police detective often known as ‘Doctor Detective’. In this outing, he finds himself pitted against two serial killers calling themselves, ‘Casanova’ and ‘The Gentleman Caller’, the former of whom is responsible for abducting Cross’ niece, Naomi, a talented student and musician. Cross travels to North Carolina to investigate personally, and is immediately embroiled in the case.

LJ's thoughts

When you’re a household name like James Patterson, familiarity can sometimes breed contempt. However, picking up Kiss the Girls is a salutary reminder of how Patterson came to find worldwide success: whilst remaining eminently accessible, the book is a finely-crafted thriller, full of pace and tension, and takes good care to orientate the reader in whichever city or country setting Cross happens to be in. The protagonist is likeable — a feat, as any author will tell you, which is not always easy to achieve — and the antagonists deadly, ruthless and compelling, as the best baddies surely ought to be. Though the novel was adapted for the screen during the nineties featuring Morgan Freeman in the title role, this is one of those instances where the book is every bit as cinematic, and turning the pages isn’t far from reading a screenplay. Satisfying reading, for those wintry nights!

Where to find it

Previous Picks

To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

About

First published in 1960, this Pulitzer-prizewinning novel deals with hard-hitting issues of racial inequality and rape, but it’s a novel woven with warmth and humour, told from the perspective of six-year-old Jean Louise Finch - better known as ‘Scout’. She recounts her life in the small, tired town of Maycomb, Alabama, where she and her brother Jeremy (‘Jem’) and her father, local attorney Atticus Finch, live. Through her eyes, we meet their mysterious neighbour, Boo Radley, and watch the story of small-town bigotry unfold when Atticus is appointed to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, who is accused of raping a young white woman.

LJ's thoughts

Sometimes, studying a book at school can have the effect of putting you off it for the rest of your days, but that certainly hasn’t been the case for me when it comes to re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I tend to re-visit this book every couple of years and, although I might already know how the story ends, it’s the nuggets of wisdom and acute observations about the human condition that continue to have meaning. Now, as we continue to weather the storm of a viral pandemic in the ‘real’ world, I find myself picking this book up again to immerse myself in Lee’s fictional world to gather some perspective and, as always, it’s a revelation.

Where to find it

Crossed Skis

Carol Carnac

About

In this British Crime Classic, Inspector Julian Rivers of Scotland Yard finds himself investigating a murder in Bloomsbury. All the evidence points to an expert skier, which takes Rivers to the glittering slopes of snowy Austrian Alps.

LJ's thoughts

This is the perfect book to snuggle up with, because it has it all - an atmospheric setting for a chilly mystery, a group of suspicious characters and even a high-speed chase across the slopes, before the story ends. Perfect escapism!

Where to find it

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