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January is turning out to be a notable month and it’s not even over yet. It started right at the beginning when an interview that I was asked to do by Alexandra Amor went live on her podcast – Itsamysterypodcast.com -and YouTube. Seeing myself was strange and unsettling. So many mannerisms! I really must sit on my hands if I ever get asked to do an interview again. However, it was nice to talk about Mike Malone and my books for a change, it’s not something I usually do.

It’s not that I am embarrassed by my books, it’s just that I don’t feel comfortable introducing the topic. How do others do it? If people find out about my books and ask about them, that’s different, but to actually turn around to someone and say – “did you know that I write books?” – I can’t do it. For me to start talking about myself in that manner, I’d feel as if I was showing off. I prefer to sit in the shadows.

The second reason that January is notable – for the first time in many years, I have had to close a novel that I was reading without finishing it and move on to the next. I have always prided myself for being able to read books of all genres. This one defeated me. I found the characters annoying – they didn’t engage me at all – and the story line seemed so predictable; after the first few chapters I could see which direction it was taking. When I started to dread picking it up, that was the time to move on. So why did I choose it? This is my guilty secret. I have followed Richard and Judy’s Book Club ever since it started several years ago. When their reading lists are released, I go out and buy the books and add them to my pile of Nordic Noir and crime thrillers. The books on the list are of all genres and are generally readable; they add a touch of variety to my normal reading diet. Sometimes I even come across real gems – that was how I discovered Jo Nesbo – his book ‘The Snowman’ was on one of their lists. Another novel, ‘Me Before You’ by JoJo Moyses had me work my way through a box of tissues. But, for the first time,  Richard and Judy have let me down; this book, taken off their Autumn list, just didn’t inspire me to finish it. Having just purchased the books on their Spring reading list – I hope that this was just a one-off. I’ll let you know – when I finish the rest of the books on the Autumn list.