BIDEFORD author makes top 10 crime fiction reads of 2013...
By terricollins | Sunday, October 13, 2013, 11:09
As an avid reader, I came across this from a respected blogger in the literary world. Stella Hayes is a former literary editor and critic and well known in crime fiction circles. 'Stella Reads' is a list of her favourite crime fiction reads of 2013 and includes one by local Bideford author TJ Cooke.
His book 'Defending Elton' has received a number of very positve reviews and this is Stella's take on it...
3 Defending Elton – TJ Cooke
What a year for debuts, here's another, which means that my favourite three reads this last year have all been written by newcomers.
There are a number of elements which make this book so memorable. One, it has a most inventive storyline, which is told with the authority of someone who knows how the criminal justice system works. TJ Cooke sets up the simple yet frighteningly real scenario of a lawyer representing a defendant for a murder he's actually committed himself. Sorry Mr Grisham but you've missed this trick – and it's a clever trick too, which succeeds by morphing the fates of lawyer Jim and his client Elton, thereby drawing on the empathy vicariously.
Some particularly sparkling dialogue, unexpected humour and colourful characters are the other ingredients which make this book shine. Narrator Jim bends the truth with just about every character in the narrative, but he's honest with the reader… about how, in a moment of panic and desperation, he has gone from trying to help Elton, to framing him for murder. I loved how the author forces you to question whether you should or shouldn't be rooting for the protagonist. I also doubt whether many crime fiction novels have references to Dick Dastardly and Basil Brush! Quite different from the crime fiction norm, and I struggle to think of anything similar. Mind you, it's all the better because of it. Ingenious.
It's number 3 in her top 10 and as I've now read it myself I can vouch that's it's a fabulously entertaining crime fiction read. The book is available onlne in either paperback or Kindle form via amazon.co.uk, but as a local resident I'd encourage you to buy it from Walter Henry's bookshop in High Street Bideford, thereby supporting our local bookstore. So, congratulations to local author TJ [Tim] Cooke.