Archive for the ‘Writing Talk’ Category

A few years back when I had a whole lot more time on my hands I used to compile a chart of the best short fiction I’d read during the year (as a reviewer, fellow writer, and avid reader). I kept this going for five years consecutively (you can read about all of them in this blog right here). But two young kids put paid to any ideas I’d do very much reading at all, and I thought ‘The Andy’s’ might have ended back in December 2013, when I published my last Top 20.

But all that changed as 2016 rolled into 2017 and I made a new year’s resolution (which wasn’t, as it possibly should have been, to drink less booze). I decided that by hook or by crook I’d read more this year.

Amazingly, I’ve followed through on this resolution throughout the year (whereas if I’d have said that about the booze I’d have fallen off the wagon halfway through the first week of January). And I’ve kept going and kept going…

NEW FOR 2017

This year’s chart is a little different from my previous charts. Back before kids I wanted to really talk up the short story. I had an ulterior motive for this: I wrote a lot of short stories myself and I wanted to see them, and their authors, getting a a little bit more credit than they usually did. But I’m not reviewing any more (yet), nor am I publishing as many short fictions as I used to and as such I don’t feel like I have my finger on the pulse of the short story scene. Therefore in 2017 I decided to concentrate on novels.

This year I’ve a grand total of 75 novels. Long and short. From all kinds of genres. Most of these books have been released in 2016 and 17, but there are some classics I’ve always wanted to read in there too… And here’s where it gets all kinds of anal – I’ve even put together this graph which shows my readingest months (December’s a bit light as you can see, but we’re not yet all the way through the month, are we?)


Anyway – (drumroll) – this is my TOP TWENTY:

  1. The Circle by Dave Eggers
  2. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
  3. Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay
  4. The Three by Sarah Lotz
  5. The Long Home by William Gay
  6. His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
  7. I’m Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork
  8. The Cormorant by Stephen Gregory
  9. It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
  10. Nod by Adrian Barnes
  11. Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
  12. Moonglow by Michael Chabon
  13. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
  14. Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
  15. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen & Owen King
  16. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
  17. Thin Air by Michelle Paver
  18. The Girls by Emma Cline
  19. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
  20. The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

Honourable mentions to the other books I read this year: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist; Universal Harvester by John Darnielle; The Troop by Nick Cutter; The North Water by Ian McGuire; Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons; Bonfire by Krysten Ritter; Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre; Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto; Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri; The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena; The Fireman by Joe Hill; Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith; Ice Lake by John A Lenahan; Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman; The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry; My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal; Day Four by Sarah Lotz; My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni; Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton; The Wonder by Emma Donoghue; Stickleback by Mark Connors; The River at Night by Erica Ferencik; The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker; The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee; Black Water by Louise Doughty; Absolute Friends by John le Carre; Winter Moon by Dean Koontz; How to Stop Time by Matt Haig; The Searcher by Chris Morgan Jones; The Small Hand by Susan Hill; The Blade Artist by Irvine Welsh; A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin; Into the Water by Paula Hawkins; Give me the Child by Mel McGrath; Night School by Lee Child; Stone Cold by David Baldacci; Zodiac by Sam Wilson; Baby Doll by Hollie Overton; The Murder Road by Stephen Booth; Shadowfires by Dean Koontz; Under the Knife by Tess Gerritsen; Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey; Find Her by Lisa Gardner; The Collector by Fiona Cummins; The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer; Pendulum by Adam Hamdy; The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz; Run by Mandasue Heller; Others by James Herbert; Under a Watchful Eye by Adam Nevill; Relics by Tim Lebbon; Crisis by Frank Gardner; The Breakdown by B A Paris; Strangers by David Moody; An Honest Deceit by Guy Mankowski.





My shiny new short story, ‘X-Marks the Spot’, has been published by Fish Food magazine. All you landlubbers can take a look-see at it by following this link, arrrrrrrrrrr.

Pieces of eight, pieces of eight.



There’s a big-ish piece on my novel The Lost Boys of Prometheus City in this week’s Big Issue in the North, talking about my primary influences for the work. Here’s a clipping:

ajk-word-club3Here’s a couple of pics from my appearance as the HEADLINE ACT at ‘Word Club’ at The Chemic Tavern, Leeds, on Friday 10th February, where I performed a reading from the “bravura” opening chapter of The Lost Boys of Prometheus City. 

If you missed it, the book’s available in ebook and paperback formats from Amazon.

And you can read all about the book here.



I was interviewed about my new novel The Lost Boys of Prometheus City this afternoon on BBC Radio Leeds. In case you missed it, you can listen again by following this link. Thanks to presenter Andrew Edwards and program editor Katy Lambert for letting me loose on the airwaves. Below is a pic of me at the Beeb.

Remember to pre-order your copy of the book here.



As a function of my promotional work for the release of The Lost Boys of Prometheus City, I’m being interviewed on the Andrew Edwards Books show on BBC Radio Leeds tomorrow (15th December). You’ll be able to listen to the show live by going here: After the event, the show will be available on the iPlayer.

PS. Remember to pre-order your copy of the novel from Amazon NOW.

Small Man Syndrome featured in the weekend’s New Writing North bulletin (see pics below). You can find out about New Writing North here and you can find out more about Small Man Syndrome here.

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