Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Recommendations: Three Fabulous UK Authors

Today's guest post is from Amy Ball, an avid mystery reader in Sonoma County, California.

I’m a relatively recent transplant to Sonoma County and after settling in, realized I missed going to my old book club every month.  They always provided great conversation and friendships, and opened my eyes to new authors I loved. I knew I had to find another book club.

It was easy to find one and my local bookstore, Copperfields also known as the “Sonoma County” bookstore.  They have three locations, host a wide range of book clubs and regularly host author events at their stores.  It was on their book club page that I found the Mystery Book Club of Santa Rosa.  

As I had hoped, this book club as help me discover many great writers. Here are three of them who live in the United Kingdom that I recommend. Two came from my wonderful book club, but the first came from my wonderful husband.

1) RAVEN BLACK, by Ann Cleeves – This book was given to me by my husband as a birthday gift.  It was the first book I read by Ann Cleeves, and I was addicted by the end of the first chapter.  The book takes place on the Shetland Islands, and while I have never been there I was felt like I knew the island and residents well by the time I finished. Ann provides a great sense of place in her writing, which really helps you connect with the story. The book opens with a suspicious character, a flock of ravens and a murdered teenage girl.  A new resident Fran Hunter discovers the body, and detective Jimmy Perez tasked with solving the crime.  This is the first of four books that feature these two characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. 

2) THE COMPLAINTS, by Ian Rankin -- This was a book club gem.  Set in Edinburgh Scotland, The Complaints Department is the group of cops that that investigates other cops, so as you can imagine they aren’t the “cool kids”. Malcolm Fox heads the department and while very likable  is not without his own problems.  He struggles with drinking, has a troubled sister he wants to help and a father who lives in an assisted living home.  When he is given a new case to solve, you see his brilliance and feel his pain in an engaging and intriguing read.  This is the first in a series and while I’ve only read the first two, I can’t wait to read them all. 

3) RIVER OF DARKNESS, by Rennie Airth -- RIVER OF DARKNESS is set in a small town in post WWI Britain. The story opens with the brutal murder of a family, seemingly a robbery gone wrong. Scotland Yard sends the damaged Inspector John Madden to investigate. He survived the war, but lost his family, and still struggles with his battlefield experiences. I do like troubled protagonists. Together with local psychiatrist Dr. Helen Blackwell, they work to explain the murder’s behavior and capture the killer before he can strike again. 

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did. If you have any recommendations for me, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.


  1. I haven't read any of these authors. Can't wait to dig in. Thank you for a great post!

  2. Loved the Complaints! Great book, complicated mystery. Thanks for the other suggestions! Go Copperfields and the wonderful members of the Mystery Book Club of Santa Rosa!

  3. This is almost as good as going to a book club event in person! Thanks, Amy, for these recommendations.

  4. Now I want to read all these books!

  5. Well done, Amy! I am adding these three to my "to read" list :-) Can't wait.