I’ve been trawling through piles and piles of books lately – oh poor old me. Yes, it’s a very tough life.
My mission has been to prepare my top ten children’s book recommendations for this winter. I’m not going to tell you why right now, but I will eventually. It wasn’t just for fun. Somebody asked me to do it. Somebody important – she has a real job, and everything.
Anyway, before my list is revealed I thought I’d recommend one that hasn’t quite made it onto my top ten, but only because my ‘top ten’ was forced down to a ‘top eight’ at the last minute. I blame the Nazis. (Sidenote: would the Nazis have been more successful if they’d called themselves Naxis? It’s just as punchy, but with 20 per cent less evil. Might have fooled a few people for a bit longer.)
SCAT by Carl Hiaasen
I’ve read a couple of Carl Hiaasen’s adult books and really enjoyed them, but hadn’t checked out his children’s books until now. The one thing that struck me is that the only real difference between them is the lack of a sex scene. Which is to say, Hiaasen brilliantly makes no allowances for the age of the intended audience other than removing the downright unsuitable. His plotting is just as complex and sophisticated, his dialogue just as juicy, and his cast of characters just as engrossing.
All of his books seem to be underpinned by a love for Florida and its natural wilderness, but I’ve come to like that. He doesn’t preach or campaign, he just uses the conflict of development and wilderness as a backdrop for a cracking plot.
My favourite line: There was a pause that got lengthier with each passing second.
The whole book sparkles with lines like that, masterful twists and a pace that zipped things along like a panther through the tall grass.
Meanwhile, in other news…
I’ve finally joined TWITTER. I hope it might somehow improve my life if thousands upon thousands of you sign up to ‘follow’ me, which you can do here: www.twitter.com/joecraiguk
It's like my blog, but in miniature. If this blog is the sprawling epic of the Aeneid, my twitter 'feed' is a haiku. If this blog is the Empire State Building, my twitter is Somerset House. If the blog's a feast, twitter's a morsel of pure delight. If... OK you get the idea. Blog = big. Twitter = the same but littler. Also more often.