Book reading in Lockdown 2021 – Jan/Feb

Writing is going along steadily, but slowly. I’ve written a 5,000 word short story as a prequel to Double Identity which will become exclusive to newsletter subscribers. The draft of my next full-length thriller stands at just over 40,000 words, so about halfway. But in the lockdown I’ve been reading like a demon. That’s a plus as writers need to read a lot – it’s their equivalent of CPD (Continuous Professional Development). It’s also a great way of running away into other worlds…

I really can’t categorise my reading – I’m a complete floozie when it comes to reading in genre. Here are the books I’ve read in January and February this year:

To the Lions by Holly Watt – Contemporary, ballsy investigative journalist and colleagues uncover nasty goings on in London and Africa. Pacy, but implausible in places and trying to be a bit too clever

The Irish Princess by Elizabeth Chadwick – Historical, 12th century, a quality read, vivid and acurate as you would expect from this author

Twilight Empress by Faith L Justice – Late Roman Empire, a skilful job of bringing 5th century Roman empress /political mover to life

Berlin 2 Further Adventures of Bernie Gunther by Philip Kerr – pre and post Second World war, Germany and South America with a German policeman determined to finish his enquiry, with a terrible attitude to authority, but a realist and survivor. Smokes and drinks too much 😉

EO-N by Dave Mason – Dual timeline, Second World War and present, Norway, Canada and UK. Lyrical story of discovery, love, Nazi horror and a mystery wartime mission buried under the ice

The Wall at the Edge of the World by Damion Hunter – Roman, 120s CE, Postumus, a Roman army surgeon with a British mother from the tribes, posted to Hadrian’s Wall; vivid, interwoven and great characterisation.

Westwind by Ian Rankin – A cold war thriller where the US is withdrawing from Europe. Written 20 years ago and re-issued. A bit simplistic and not up to Rebus standard. Okay as an undemanding read.

No Stone Unturned by Pam Lecky – 1880s, London and countryside. A young woman is widowed and becomes enmeshed in conspiracy and deceit at the heart of her family. Well written, good badinage between the characters. 

A Mirror Murder by Helen Hollick – Disclaimer: I know the author well. 1970s cozy mystery, sympathetic characters and bags of period detail

Discovery by Barbara Greig – A real find. A 16/17th century, dual time line absorbing historical,  France, Canada, England. Fascinating insight into a three-way culture clash with deep family secrets.

The Defector by Daniel Silva – Contemporary spy story. I love stories of Gabriel Allon, Israeli spy, and his determined team, his alliances and his pursuit of enemies. A child of Holocaust survivors, he’s not always a ‘nice’ person, but his motives are clear. Full of interesting detail and pacey.

Stasi Child by David Young – East Germany (DDR), 1970s, featuring Oberleutnant Karin Müller of the People’s Police as she follows a string of ‘convenient’ clues while investigating child murder, all the time supervised by Stasi officer Jäger. Great insight into the complexities of the state machine, and a very sympathetic protagonist.


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series. Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers.

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