Book recommendation: Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks

On a small island off the south coast of France, Robert Hendricks, an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer, is forced to confront the events that made up his life. His host, and antagonist, is Alexander Pereira, a man whose time is running out, but who seems to know more about his guest than Hendricks himself does. The search for sanity takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally – unforgettably – back into the trenches of the Western Front. The recurring themes of Sebastian Faulks’s fiction are brought together with a new stylistic brilliance as the novel casts a long, baleful light over the century we have left behind but may never fully understand. Daring, ambitious and in the end profoundly moving, this is Faulks’s most remarkable book yet. Available from Amazon.


Book recommendation: Squeezing the Orange by Henry Blofeld

The quintessentially English cricket commentator, writer, oenophile, bon viveur, collector and national treasure, fondly known as “Blowers”, tells his riveting life story. Born in Norfolk and educated at Eton and Cambridge, Henry Calthorpe Blofeld OBE, nicknamed “Blowers” by the late Brian Johnston, is best known as a cricket commentator for Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. His distinctively rich, cut glass voice and his vividly eccentric observations of life on and off the pitch, have made him a household name, not only in Britain but around the world, wherever cricket is played. Blowers has been close the the heart of the game for over fifty years and his career has taken him to the far corners of the earth. This autobiography, stuffed to the gunwhales with delicious anecdotes, brings his astonishingly colourful story bang up to date. Available from Amazon.


Book recommendation: Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

I'm not a typical lawyer. I don't maintain a pretty office filled with mahogany and leather. I don't belong to a big firm, prestigious or otherwise. I don't do good works through the bar association. I'm a lone gunman, a rogue who fights bad systems and hates injustice . . . Sebastian Rudd takes the cases no one else wants to take: the drug-addled punk accused of murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner who shot at a SWAT team. Rudd believes that every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial - even if he has to cheat to get one. He antagonises people from both sides of the law: his last office was firebombed, either by drug dealers or cops. He doesn't know or care which. But things are about to get even more complicated for Sebastian. Arch Swanger is the prime suspect in the abduction and presumed murder of 21-year-old Jiliana Kemp, the daughter of the assistant chief of police. When Swanger asks Sebastian to represent him, he lets Sebastian in on a terrible secret . . . one that will threaten everything Sebastian holds dear. Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer is the master of the legal thriller at his very best. Available from Amazon.


Book recommendation: The Anti-social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole by John Mortimer

The Anti-social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole - a delightful novel starring John Mortimer's iconic character. ASBOs may be the pride and joy of New Labour, but they don't cut much ice with Horace Rumpole - he takes the old-fashioned view that if anyone is going to be threatened with a restriction of their liberty then some form of legal proceeding ought to be gone through first. Not that Hilda agrees, of course, but she's too busy completing her memoirs to dissuade him from taking an interest when one of the Timson children is given an ASBO for playing football in the street. And pretty soon he realises something fishy is going on. Why are the residents pursuing their vendetta against the Timson boy quite so strongly? Could they have a sinister reason for not wanting him on their street? John Mortimer's hilarious Rumpole novel, which fans of Sherlock Holmes and P.G. Wodehouse will love, sees the magician of the Old Bailey at his unpredictable and brilliant best. Available from Amazon.


Book recommendation: Make Me: (Jack Reacher 20) by Lee Child

Jack Reacher has no place to go, and all the time in the world to get there, so a remote railroad stop on the prairie with the curious name of Mother's Rest seems perfect for an aimless one-day stopover. He expects to find a lonely pioneer tombstone in a sea of nearly-ripe wheat ... but instead there is a woman waiting for a missing colleague, a cryptic note about two hundred deaths, and a small town full of silent, watchful people. Reacher’s one-day stopover becomes an open-ended quest...into the heart of darkness. Prepare to be nailed to your seat by another hair-raising, heart-pounding adventure from the kick ass master of the thriller genre! Available from Amazon.