Welcome to the BrizzleLass stop on the Headline Publishing tour of The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth. I am honoured to have a guest post from Colette McBeth herself about her three favourite books which don’t fall into the crime genre!
Title: The Life I Left Behind
Author: Colette McBeth
Genre: Crime / Thriller
Publisher: Headline Review
Publication Date: 1 January 2015 (Paperback 13 August 2015)
Format: eBook / Hardcover / Paperback / Audio
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US Waterstones
‘I’m the only one who knows the secrets her friends have hidden, the mistakes the police have made.
I’m the only one who can warn her she’s still in danger.
I know exactly who attacked her.
He’s the same man who killed me.’
Thrillers make up only a fraction of the novels I read, which is as it should be. I often find that after a run of crime novels I need something to lift me, or take me beyond a world I recognise. The three below have all done that brilliantly, and they’ve stayed with me long after the intricacies of their plots have faded from my mind.
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
If there is any book that left me in total awe of the author, then this is it. Even now, twenty years after I first opened it, my mind boggles at its complex, artful construction. As a student of Latin American Literature, this was the first book I read and devoured in Spanish so I knew it was something special. It also has my favourite opening line;
‘Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.’
The Long Song – Andrea Levy
This is a masterclass in how to tackle a difficult and disturbing story with humour and humility. Set on a Jamaican sugar plantation just before slavery was abolished the subject matter should make it a depressing read. It isn’t. Its main character July has a beguiling wit that makes you love her and laugh with her which in turn makes you feel the injustice more keenly. If you read a great book you want pass it on. I can’t remember how many people I’ve given this one to.
The Faraway Tree Series – Enid Blyton
My seven year old is reading this at the moment otherwise I confess it wouldn’t have made the list. I’d simply forgotten how good it is. I was around my son’s age when I started reading the series and reading it with him has made it all come tumbling back; Joe, Beth and Frannie, Silky and Moonface, The Land of birthdays, the Land of Topsy Turvey, and my personal favourite, the Land of Take What you Want. I can’t think of another book that fired my seven year old imagination more. It makes me all warm inside to know children are still losing themselves in it more than seventy years after it was first published.
Literary Review called it ‘an interesting and original page-turner’, while The Times said ‘McBeth delivers twists and shocks with superb timing’.
The Life I Left Behind is even more assured, showcasing McBeth’s brilliant handling of secretive relationships, twisting and turning narrative structure, and her unique ability to dig to the darkest depths of her characters’ minds.
You think you know people. McBeth tells you what you don’t know…
Colette is a former BBC correspondent and a member of Killer Women.
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