Books Read January 2018

Books Read January 2018 (Plus Pestilence!)

A post with books and pestilence – what a mix! We will get to the pestilence last, but let’s start with a summary of my Books Read January 2018.

January Books

Much to my surprise, my periodic posts about what books I am reading draws a lot of interest, so I have decided to post books read monthly. The result will be more frequency, but much shorter and manageable lists (10 books for January).

Full disclosure – the links in this post are all Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of those links, I receive a small commission from Amazon.

Harlan Coben – Deal Breaker – Based on the other books I read, a reader suggested I try this author. Deal Breaker is the first book in Coben’s series featuring Myron Bolitar (a former collegiate and, briefly, professional basketball player, current sports agent, and guy who solves mysteries) and his enforcer sidekick, Win Lockwood. The protagonists engage in a near constant sarcasm battle, which became tiresome to me, but the story was good. Realizing that this was an early book, I jumped much later in the series for a second book, Home, in February and enjoyed the writing style much more. I will read more Coben.

Dean Koontz – The Silent Corner: A Novel of Suspense – Koontz is one of my favorite horror writers and he didn’t disappoint with this new novel featuring Jane Hawk.

Nevada Barr – Flashback and High Country – My favorite park ranger, Anna Pigeon, (no offense to the real-life park rangers I know) continues to find herself in the midst of murder mysteries, but at a different park for each book. I love the way Barr weaves the flavor of the parks into her books. Flashback tells its story in alternating chapters – present and Civil War past – which didn’t work well for me, but I enjoyed High Country a great deal. If you are a fan of period pieces, you may enjoy Flashback more than I did.

John Grisham – Camino Island – While most people think of Grisham as a writer of legal thrillers, this story demonstrates his breadth of story telling skills. A rare series of manuscripts are stolen in the opening chapters of the book. The insurance company on the hook for a massive insurance claim is desperate to find the loot. Does the bookstore owner on Camino Island know where the manuscripts are? And can anyone find out before the books disappear forever?

Michael Connelly – The Reversal and The Fifth Witness – Both novels follow attorney Micky Haller, of Lincoln Lawyer fame, and mix in other Connelly characters such as Harry Bosch. I enjoy Connelly’s style and pacing, though I still can’t get Matthew McConaughey out of my head as the protagonist.

Lee Child – A Wanted Man and Never Go Back – Jack Reacher. One of the most entertaining fictional characters out there. And unlike how much I thought McConaughey nailed his character in the Lincoln Lawyer, I can’t figure out why Tom Cruise was chosen to portray the physically intimidating Jack Reacher. No knock on Cruise’s acting skills, but he can’t portray the bulk of the protagonist.

David Allen – Getting Things Done – Not a novel, but well known for his non-fiction books on organizing your life and getting things done (thus, the name of the book). In all my years in the business world, I knew many people who referenced his work, but I never read the book itself. This is an updated version but is essentially the same as the original. I am not sure I got a lot out of reading the book since I had already practiced so many of the tactics, but this is a good read for someone who finds they can’t get things done.

February and the rest of 2018

I am already ahead of pace for my 2018 goal of 100 books with 10 read in January and 2 more so far in February. I am reading Lisa Gardner’s Catch Me and she continues her pattern of writing some of the creepiest characters out there.

Pestilence – Journey Through The Woods

Travis Makepeace wakes up cold and sick, the fever that has racked his body for four days abating. As he crawls from his tent deep in the Great Smoky Mountains, he discovers only 13-year-old Cooper Gatley remaining in the campsite. The flu virus had a deadly impact on their camping party, leaving the boys alone and fighting for survival. Why has Travis recovered when the others haven’t? Why hasn’t Cooper been sick? As another winter storm bears down on top of them, can Travis and Cooper complete their Journey from the Woods to the safety of a ranger’s station? And are they truly alone in the vast wilderness?

My original story will be presented as a serial novel right here on the website with the first chapter just days away. Advertiser supported, it will have no cost to you of any sort.

So why am I releasing a serial novel?

In my journey to get a novel published (not Pestilence), I have learned many things. And, I expect, I will learn many more. But let me mention two:

The sheer amount of time and effort it takes to publish a first novel is daunting. Editors, proofreaders, cover designers, layout specialists, marketers – a virtual army of people – are needed to bring a novel to market. My first published novel continues to wind its way toward a publication date and will happen. Soon. I’m determined.

But after all of that effort, the second reality comes crashing in – As hard as it is to get a first novel published; it is harder to get anyone to buy it. Or, at least, enough people to cover the cost of publishing it.

I am as guilty as everyone else. Look at my list of books read in January and you see a pattern – best selling novelist after best selling novelist. Few people will consider plopping down a few dollars to buy a book of an unknown.

So how do you get people to know who you are before you have something already on the market? And how do you get them to buy that book on the market so they will know who you are?

My answer to the conundrum? A serial novel published for free here on the website.

For those of you who have faithfully followed my short stories and anecdotes, you risk only time, not money. And, if you enjoy it, maybe you will share that serial novel with others. And, hopefully, they will share it with still others. Until, in my wildest dreams, a few thousand people are anxiously waiting each week for the latest chapter of the serial novel to be published.

So, yes, someday (soon), I will ask you to put down a few dollars to buy a book. And I hope quite a few more people will be around when that ask comes screaming for your attention.

In the meantime, you get to follow Travis and Cooper in their Journey Through The Woods. I hope you enjoy it.

NOTE: Email subscribers will be the FIRST to be notified of new chapters going live, so make sure you sign up. I absolutely, positively will not sell or share your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time. Take the plunge and subscribe today.

Today’s featured image includes a photo by Roman Kraft which has been used with permission from Unsplash


  1. Ann P. Williams on February 7, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Can’t wait!

  2. Deborah Rolman on February 8, 2018 at 1:25 am

    I really didn’t like the Myron Bolitar books by Harlan Coben when I first started reading them but his stand alone novels are great! I need to catch up on Dean Koontz and Nevada Barr.

    I’m looking forward to the serial novel!

  3. Sylv on February 8, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Hi, I’m not sure if you like science fiction at all, but if you are, please check out Edward W. Robertson, specifically the Breakers and Rebel Star series (the latter is set in the same “timeline” as Breakers, but centuries later). I am currently halfway through the final book, and it hasn’t disappointed!

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