The Book - Rhyming Rings by David Gemmell.
David Gemmell is one of my favourite authors of all time. His iconic first fantasy novel, Legend, would be my Desert Island Discs book (you’d need something eminently readable to break up all that Shakespeare and the Bible). He also died in 2006. So it was with not a little surprise that I saw a new hardback edition of an apparently new David Gemmell book when I opened November’s Book and Brew package. It was found by his wife, Stella, in his papers - a complete and never-before seen crime thriller, which takes in gritty social realism, the supernatural, and good old police procedural.
An ambidextrous killer rampages through South London, murdering and raping women with seemingly no M.O. Journalist Jeremy gets near, but is never allowed to cover the story - instead he’s shuffled off to cover apparently psychic old ladies and paraplegic young people. However, his stories and the murders soon intertwine, and Jeremy finds himself dragged into a dark and dangerous world.
It’s a sparsely written, and gripping enough read. Gemmell is always good at outlining larger-than-life character with precise yet broad brushstrokes, that give you enough to hang on to, but that never get in the way of the story. They generally veer just the right side of archetype. Perhaps that’s why this pales somewhat in comparison to his fantasy output. Fantasy is a genre far better suited to holding archetypes. Crime fiction thrives more on specifics.
This was an early books, presumably written when he was still working as a journalist and as such is not quite as accomplished as his later fantasy works. It’s a little scattershot, jumping here and there, with characters espousing on the state of the nation in a not-too-convincing way. The magical elements - psychics, magical African men - sit uneasily against the social realism that make up the bulk of the story.
Anyway, I enjoyed reading it, it was gripping enough, and even if the dots didn’t quite join up totally, it reminded me why David Gemmell was and is a favourite author of mine.
The Tea - Joe’s Tea Co., Ever-So-English Breakfast.
This is an absolutely delicious tea. Refreshing. Tasty. Simple. Everything you want in an English Breakfast. Nothing more to be said here.