20 Books Of Summer 2022 Reading Challenge #20booksofsummer22

20-books-of-summerThis annual challenge is run by my namesake Cathy at 746 Books.  This year it takes place between 1st June and 1st September 2022.  I’ve participated for the past few years but only managed to complete it once, last year in fact.

As (the other) Cathy explains, the rules are simple.  Take the Books of Summer image, pick your own 10, 15 or 20 books you’d like to read and add your link to Cathy’s master post so she knows you’re taking part.

The rules are accommodating as well.  Want to swap a book? Go for it.  Fancy changing your list half way through? No problem.  Deciding to drop your goal from 20 to 15? She’s fine with that too.

I’m aiming for the full 20 once again. This year I’m targeting the paperback books that have been in my TBR pile the longest according to Goodreads. Most are books I bought myself; a few (whisper) are review copies. All have been there an embarrassingly long time. Why just paperbacks? Well, because they’re double-stacked at the moment and it looks untidy! If I enjoy them and think I might want to read them again, they’ll go back on the bookshelf.  If not, they’ll go on the pile for the charity bookshop.

You can find my list below.  Links from the titles will take you to the book description on Goodreads. I’ll update them with links to my reviews when – note, not if – I’ve read them.

The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers (waiting since June 2013)
The Boy Who Saw by Simon Toyne (waiting since October 2016)
The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (waiting since March 2017)
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (waiting since March 2017)
If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio (waiting since April 2017)
Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson (waiting since April 2017)
The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland  (waiting since May 2017)
The House of Birds by Morgan McCarthy (waiting since July 2017)
The Honey Farm on the Hill by Jo Thomas (waiting since August 2017)
Rivals of the Republic by Annelise Freisenbruch (waiting since August 2017)
The Girl from Simon’s Bay by Barbara Mutch (waiting since September 2017)
My Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott (waiting since October 2017)
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz (waiting since October 2017)
Treason by James Jackson (waiting since November 2017)
The Draughtsman by Robert Lautner (waiting since March 2018)
The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark (waiting since March 2018)
The Painter of Souls by Philip Kazan (waiting since April 2018)
Appetite by Philip Kazan (waiting since April 2018)
Ponti by Sharlene Teo (waiting since April 2018)
Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen (waiting since May 2018)

Wish me luck! If you’re taking part too, enjoy your summer of reading.

20 Books of Summer 2022

#BookReview Gallowstree Lane (Collins and Griffiths #3) by Kate London @CorvusBooks

Gallowstree LaneAbout the Book

Please don’t let me die. Please don’t. The final words of teenager Spencer Cardoso as he bleeds out on a London street, his life cut short in a single moment of rage.

Detective Inspector Kieran Shaw’s not interested in the infantry. Shaw likes the proper criminals, the ones who can plan things.  For two years he’s been painstakingly building evidence against an organized network, the Eardsley Bluds. Operation Perseus is about to make its arrests.

So when a low-level Bluds member is stabbed to death on Gallowstree Lane, Shaw’s priority is to protect his operation. An investigation into one of London’s tit-for-tat killings can’t be allowed to derail Perseus and let the master criminals go free.

But there’s a witness to the murder, fifteen-year-old Ryan Kennedy. Already caught up in Perseus and with the Bluds, Ryan’s got his own demons and his own ideas about what’s important. As loyalties collide and priorities clash, a chain of events is triggered that draws in Shaw’s old adversary DI Sarah Collins and threatens everyone with a connection to Gallowstree Lane…

Format: Hardcover (368 pages)         Publisher: Corvus
Publication date: 7th February 2019 Genre: Crime

Find Gallowstree Lane (Collins & Griffiths #3) on Goodreads

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My Review

I haven’t read either of the previous two books in the series – Post Mortem and Death Message – but Gallowstree Lane worked perfectly well as a standalone, although when I get the chance I’d like to go back and read the first two.

Given the series title, I assumed (Sarah) Collins and (Lizzie) Griffiths were a team but in fact it turns out their paths have crossed only briefly in the course of previous cases. However, through different routes they find themselves both involved in finding the murderer of Spencer Cardoso: Sarah as Senior Investigating Officer on the case and Lizzie through the arrest of Spencer’s friend, Ryan, for a seemingly unrelated crime. The trail leads to a gang leader who is the subject of a major organized crime investigation led by Detective Inspector Kieran Shaw.

The book provides a vivid picture of gang culture and how young men, often from deprived backgrounds, can be drawn into drugs, petty crime and violence by manipulative individuals, with often tragic outcomes. Sadly, the latter can just become one more statistic, or a brief mention in a newspaper. As Sarah observes, ‘The specifics of the dead boys did not generally capture the public’s imagination. These were, in the main one-act dramas and not very good ones either; no complication, no twist to make them interesting, no learning for the persons involved.’ In some respects, Detective Inspector Shaw shares this view but only because he is single-mindedly focused on the major operation he is running. ‘His business was to catch the proper bad guys.’

I think it shows the skill of the author to make Ryan, the witness to the murder of his friend, in any way a sympathetic character. He’s a young man traumatised by what he saw and plagued with guilt for running away.  He finds himself in a situation he can’t control and is pitifully loyal to those who view him in reality as no more than a useful tool in their criminal enterprises.

The book contains meticulous detail about police procedure, no doubt gleaned from the author’s time in the Metropolitan Police Service: the extensive paperwork, the often repetitive tasks, the painstaking attention to detail, the frustration when progress is slow, the black humour, and the adrenaline rush of the sudden breakthrough when ‘the trance of assessment and action that every police officer learns’ takes over. I liked the way the book shows the impact of the role on officers’ personal lives, whether that’s the long shifts, the unsocial hours or the traumatic scenes that linger long in the memory. And, as the story progresses we see just how much of a multi-disciplinary effort an investigation can be and what impact the use of modern technology can make (although it may make you more on the look out for CCTV cameras as you stroll down your local street).

I thought Gallowstree Lane was a cracking police procedural. It kept me hooked until the final pages and I’m only sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to reading it.

My thanks to Corvus for my review copy via Readers First. Gallowstree Lane is the final book in my 20 Books of Summer 2021. Phew, made it!

In three words: Gritty, compelling, authentic

Try something similar: Payback (DI Charley Mann #1) by R.C. Bridgestock

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Kate London 1 credit Tim FlachAbout the Author

Kate joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 2006. She finished her career working as part of a Major Investigation Team on the Metropolitan Police Service’s Homicide Command. She now writes full time. (Photo credit: Publisher author page)

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