High Heat: Lee Child

Just think. A sixteen-year-old Reacher in New York City, alone, looking for good music and a chance to get lucky. Just think. New York in the middle of the blackout in a heat wave and Son of Sam stalking Reacher and his date as his luck plays out. Just think. Reacher’s sense of chivalry putting him between a tainted FBI agent and the mob leader she’s trying to bring down. Just think. A preternaturally mature Reacher bringing his finely honed sense of honour and inborn confrontation skills into play well before he becomes the man we know form the series. Just think. High Heat. Sucky ending, though.

Moondogs: Alexander Yates

It has become so commonplace to plot a novel by following seemingly unrelated characters along individual plot lines until they all merge together into some seemingly fated event as to be cliche. Unless you’re Alexander Yates. Then, it works. A stunning debut novel, almost as magical as the bruho who populate it. The difference is that each thread could be an actual novel in itself, not just a device to tie it all together. The finale wraps up not as we expect it, or as we think it should, or even how Yates thinks it should; it ends the way it must.

Winterland: Alan Glyn

Starts out slow … then gets slower. Populated by characters acting completely out of character … which is understandable given the completely improbable plot they’ve been given to act out. This novel should be infused with the sight, sounds, flavours, rhythms, smells and feel of Ireland. Instead, all we get area few drops of seasoning dashed over the hash the author has made out of the novel.