BOOKS & BLOG: April 17, 2023

by | Apr 17, 2023 | 2023, Blog Posts

  • Murder at Haven’s Rock, Kelley Armstrong
  • Slow Horses, Mick Herron
  • Shutter, Ramona Emerson
  • The Ippos King, Grace Draven
  • The Last Party, Clare Macintosh
  • Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone, Benjamin Stevenson
  • Still Life, Louise Penny
  • The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
  • Racing the Light, Robert Crais
  • Bleeding Heart Yard, Elly Griffiths


I’ve read almost all of Kelley Armstrong’s work, and Murder at Haven’s Rock is just as good as all the other Rockton novels. You should read some of the earlier books in this series before you read this one, though. Instead of being set in the original town – where you could find refuge, for a price – this one is set in the new town, where Casey Duncan and Sheriff Eric Dalton hope to provide the same service in a different location.

Mick Herron’s Slow Horses is now a streaming television series. The basic premise: when you screw up as an intelligence agent, Slough House is where you get sent. You’re given pointless make-work, and you have a terrible boss who doesn’t care anything about you. However . . . sometimes you get a chance to redeem yourself.

Shutter is the debut novel of filmmaker Ramona Emerson, and it’s a gem. Forensic photographer Rita Todacheene has seen so much death in Albuquerque, and she’s also noticed some pretty hinky behavior on the part of one or two cops. Her attention to detail and her persistence lead her into great danger, and the consequences may spread to her beloved grandmother. Great tension.

Grace Draven’s The Ippos King continues her Wraith Kings series. Serovek Pangion must return the body of the monk Megiddo to a monkish order for safekeeping, and his much-respected crush, Inhuset, is ordered by her kind to accompany the sad party. Of course, they meet danger at every turn, and the body itself may not be quite as dead as they’d supposed. I always enjoy Draven’s work, and this novel is no exception.

The Last Party is Clare Macintosh’s classic crime novel set in modern England. A vacation resort build has angered the locals and enriched the creator, but who can be surprised when he ends up dead in the water after a party combining town and newcomers?

A book called Everyone in My Family has Killed Someone has a lot to live up to. Benjamin Stevenson makes it happen. Ernie Cunningham, a crime aficionado, is also a member of a crime family. What could go wrong at his family reunion at a snowed-in ski resort?  Just about everything.

I have read several of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache books, but not in order. This time I think I’ve been lucky enough to read the very first one, Still Life. It’s just as great as all the others. If you aren’t a Louise Penny fan now, you should dive into her books.

I am not the only writer who enjoys the idea of people living in cemeteries. Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book is about a human child, Nobody Owens, who is brought up by ghosts and other supernatural creatures. His guardians tell him he must never leave the graveyard, or his enemies will kill him, and there’s a lot of truth in that warning. But Bod wants to experience life on the streets where humans live . . ..

Robert Crais has long been one of my favorite writers, so Racing the Light was a great pleasure to read. Crais has not lost any of his skill with dialog and characterization, and Elvis Cole is as much of a treat as he was many years ago. This time he’s hired to find a missing podcaster, and (as always) the case becomes more complicated and dangerous than he could have foreseen.

Bleeding Heart Yard has one of my favorite characters of Elly Griffths’, Harbinder Kaur, a police officer now based in London. But it’s told from the point of view of Cassie Fitzgerald, also a police officer, who’s attending her high school reunion where her classmate, Garfield Rice, is found dead of an overdose. Cassie has a massive secret, as does her group of school friends. Cassie tries desperately to save her job and her family while still doing her job, but it’s a terrible struggle.


Recently I made the hard decision to discontinue my Forum feature on my website. The site itself is newly designed and updated, and the Forum just wasn’t sustainable on its new platform. It had become a magnet for spambots, and that was keeping Sarah busy constantly putting out virtual fires. No one needs that.

It was a painful wrench to let the Forums go, because for a few years it was very active and diverting. (I’m not going to say it never made me want to tear my hair out, because that wouldn’t be true!)  So many people had so much to say about the Sookie Stackhouse novels, the Forum gave them a place to post those things, both pro and con.

My life and my website are a lot quieter now, and new posts were few and far between.

I want to salute the friendships that were borne on my website, and I want to remember the wonderful readers I met in person after meeting them virtually on Forum.

Sarah Simpson-Weiss is doing most of my on-line work now, and Presley Bumgarner is taking care of Twitter for me. My friend and traveling companion, Paula, will still be my friend, thank God, and will travel with me sometimes. Paula has made my life so much easier for years and years, and I am eternally grateful.

But traveling is not fun anymore, with my arthritis problems. Then, too, I think, “I’ve been in this business for forty-three years, and if people don’t know who I am by now, they simply aren’t interested.” I really enjoy meeting readers, and hearing their thoughts and answering their questions, but I can’t do tours any longer. I just don’t have the stamina. I’ll do events from time to time, because I just enjoy them. This year, I’ve appeared at the Tucson Book Festival (highly recommended!), and I’ll be Thriller Fest in NYC, Bouchercon in San Diego, and (if my passport is renewed on time!) I’ll be in Spain for Celcius 232.

Right now I’m enjoying working on the sixth Gunnie Rose book, plotting what I’ll write next, and having a pleasant and quiet life.

Thanks so much for all your input over the years, readers.

Charlaine Harris