52 pick up: June update!

I’m massively ahead with my reading, but the real winner this month is Hard Case Crime.  I read three of their publications in June, which brings me to a total of eight so far for the year.  Well done, Hard Case Crime, for making me read so many of your books.

26. Lemons Never Lie by Richard Stark


The last of the Grofield novels and for me this was easily the best of the bunch.  The others are much more experiemental and I think sometimes suffered for that.  Donald Westlake (Richard Stark) is back on familiar ground with this heist story; it’s what he does best.  Lemons Never Lie is good as some of his Parker books, which is high praise indeed.

27. Baby Moll by John Farris


There was an element of mystery to Baby Moll which I liked, but it was a bit too predictable.  Fairly standard pulp fiction, but entertaining nonetheless.

28. The Castle Of Otranto by Horace Walpole


Often referred to as the first gothic novel, The Castle Of Otranto was a strange reading experience.  For a start, Walpole’s grammar is worse than Hubert Selby Jr’s.  It’s almost like reading a poorly formatted play at times, although the essential elements of gothic fiction are all pretty much there.  It was interesting, although the Penguin edition I read was bogged down by the appendices.

29. Joyland by Stephen King


I was super excited to read this book and it didn’t disappoint. I’ve never been the biggest Stephen King fan, but this was a massive page turner and made me want to read more of his stuff.

Joyland is typical Stephen King.  Although it can be described as crime fiction at a push, it’s at heart a ghost story.  There’s also a hefty dose of extrasensory perception à la The Shining.  I can understand why Hard Case Crime would be keen to add a Stephen King title to their output, though. Especially one as good as this.

30. Elric by Michael Moorcock


This weighty Fantasy Masterwork is actually a collection of short stories and a novelette.  I haven’t always enjoyed MIchael Moorcock’s work, but this was great.  Pure flights of fantasy that became gradually more insane.  Saturated with wild ideas.


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