Sunday, August 22, 2021

Chris Nickson

Chris Nickson is the author of Brass Lives and eight previous Tom Harper mysteries, seven highly acclaimed novels in the Richard Nottingham series, and two Simon Westow mysteries. He is also a well-known music journalist. He lives in his beloved Leeds.

Recently I asked Nickson about what he was reading. His reply:
I tend to have a few books on the go at once. As a rule (though not always) it’s non-fiction downstairs, and a novel for bedtime.

Currently, I have Tracy Borman’s biography of Thomas Cromwell on the couch. I’d loved the Hilary Mantel trilogy and the TV series of Wolf Hall. This gives the real man, yet it also emphasizes the difference between fiction and biography: a good novel can take you deeper into the person than most biographies that are shackled by facts. The further you go back in time, the truer that becomes, and with someone like Cromwell, where much of his early life is shadowy…well, he was made for the novelist. Still, it’s a fascinating book and portrait of a man.

I also have Sailor Song by Gerry Smyth, a book of and about sea shanties. I’ve had a fascination with folk song for much of my life, and I’ve used it in books. Shanties come under the folk song umbrella, although I know little about them. Once I’ve read this, I hope I’ll know a little more. On first glance, some great illustrations, too.

Upstairs, it’s re-reading The Cartel by Don Winslow, the second in his Border trilogy. A big, masterful book. With these, he really found his voice, and takes us into a world so few of us know. Once I’ve finished that, next on deck is Love, the new one by Roddy Doyle, one of my favourite novelists. It’s impossible to read his dialogue and not hear it in an Irish accent, which is a remarkable achievement.
Visit Chris Nickson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue