After five years of writing blogs the inevitable is finally happening and my blogs are colliding with my work.
We’ve just relaunched the Thumping Good Read Award– a prize that WHSmith ran from 1992-2003 and for the next seven weeks my blogs are going to coincide with the seven featured titles in-store.
It might appear that I’m selling out slightly and becoming a corporate mouthpiece for ‘The Man’ – but the truth is, a few months ago, I spent a lot of time reading a lot of books, and darn it, I’m going to use that for personal gain if I can.
I’m also actually really excited for Thumping, it’s a great prize that will celebrate the best of commercial fiction – and hopefully it’s exciting for the authors too – the winning writer will get £10,000!
You can find out more by visiting the WHSmith blog here
Meanwhile, on this blog, you’ll find my thoughts about each of the books and about the experience of choosing the shortlist.
First up is Capture or Killby Tom Marcus.
What can I say about this book?
Literally, what can I say? When it was first submitted, we didn’t actually receive a copy of the book straight away because MI5 were still going through it and checking to see if they would allow it to be published.
I’m not even sure if I can say that!
Capture or Killis about Matt Logan an MI5 agent who – driven by personal tragedy – leaves behind his life to become part of a deniable unit known only as Blindeye. No rules stand in their way, they can do anything they need to to achieve their mission, but if they’re caught doing what they’re doing, the government will claim they acted alone.
Think 24 when Jack and Chloe go a bit rogue and you’ve about got it.
I loved 24, but this isn’t exactly my normal sort of book. That was a challenge for me during the whole reading process, trying to find brilliant books across multiple genres. What we didn’t want was seven amazing crime titles, or a whole raft of tearjerkers (suspect the collective noun for that is probably a tissue).
The whole point of Thumping Good Read is to showcase a title for everyone. A whole family could buy the lot and everyone would find a different title they loved.
The rest of this year’s shortlist are all brilliant books in their own right, including some thrillers – but Capture or Kill is relentless action from start to finish. But that’s not all.
In a way, the genres that I don’t normally read were the easiest to put forward for the shortlist. They all have great stories that transcend the genre that they’re being presented in, so that even if you’re not necessarily into the heart-pumping action of a spy thriller you can still enjoy it.
And if you DO love heart pumping-action and detailed descriptions of the undercover operations then you’re in for an extra treat, because this has all of that and more.
In short, it’s a Thumping Good Read.