Right then. Better get started blogging about all these books I've acquired recently. And we'll kick off with the ones bought in Bookworms of Shoreham, which is a strange old shop on Shoreham seafront on the south coast of England. We'd driven past it once or twice previously, on our way to or from somewhere else, so naturally I was interested in checking it out. Turns out it's not great for fiction (it seemed more history and military inclined) – or rather, for first editions; there are plenty of paperbacks in there, but not really anything collectible. But while I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to visit the place, I still managed to bag three fairly cheap books there – two of them thrillers published by Faber in 1996, nestling next to each other on a shelf with a scant few other hardbacks. First up:
That's a UK first edition of British writer Reg Gadney's The Achilles Heel, published by Faber in 1996. I'd never heard of either of the authors of the two Faber thrillers I bought (I don't think I was doing an awful lot of reading in 1996...), but I've now discovered The Achilles Heel is the second of Gadney's series starring Alan Rosslyn, an officer in HM Customs & Excise. Usually I steer away from the countless fiction series featuring police officers or detectives – I'd rather follow quirkier series about criminals (stand up, Parker) or reporters (take a bow, Fletch) – but Customs & Excise is an unusual environment to set a thriller in, and this book pits Rosslyn against child pornographers, which again is a bit different.
Gadney has written either eleven or thirteen novels – depending on who you believe on the web – plus a few non-fiction titles. Interestingly, he doesn't have a Wikipedia entry. I know Wikipedia's an unreliable source of info at the best of times, but it's usually a good start and can lead to more reliable sources. Not in Mr. Gadney's case though. Hmm.
And the other Faber thriller was this:
A first UK edition of Walking Back the Cat by Robert Littell, published by Faber in 1996. Again, I'd never come across Littell before, but he's a US writer with sixteen novels to his name, plus one non-fiction title and one somewhere-in-between title (called If Israel Lost the War, which posits an alternative outcome of the Six Day War, a conflict I coincidentally know at least a little about, having read Jeremy Bowen's excellent Six Days). Many of his novels are espionage-themed, and Walking Back the Cat seems to lean in that direction too, focusing, as it does, on the battle of wills and wits between a deep cover KGB agent and a Gulf War I veteran on a Native American reservation.
Oh, and the jacket design on both of these is by Pentagram. I'm assuming that's not the heavy metal band. As for the third book I bought in Bookworms... see the next post.