Sunday, May 30, 2004

I've not spoken about the UK bestseller lists for a while. I shall do so now.

Today, (for the 7 day period ending May 22nd) Michael Connelly's The Narrows hits number one. The book didn't quite make it in America, having to put up with the not-at-all-shabby number 2 slot - but hopefully this will be some consolation. Connelly certainly deserves it. The Narrows is very good indeed - although not wise territory for someone new to Connelly, I don't think.

Elsewhere...Michael Marshall's The Lonely Dead drops to number 3. Retitled The Upright Man for the US, it was released as a paperback original there. There's no denying that Marshall is a simply excellent writer, but I've read both his crime books and they both disappointed me. The ending to The Straw Men was quite frankly annoyingly ridiculous, and while The Lonely Dead/Upright Man almost freed itself from the stigma of that ending, he threw in more slices of silliness to spoil it.

Harlan Coben's Just One Look resides at number 5. (Briefly, let me go off on an annoyingly pedantic tangent, for I wish to correct a misapprehension [that is of no great concern to anyone but myself]. Despite some reports to the contrary, there has not been a week when this book was at number one, the bestselling hardback fiction book in Britain. For the 7 day period ending 08/05/04, the book was placed at number 1 for hardback fiction. However, it was not. Hidden away in the same section of the paper, for the first time ever (that I have seen, testament to their status now) a seperate list was compiled: of the bestselling children's novels of the week. At number 1 there was Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky. How many copies had this book sold in the period? 17,130. How many copies had Just One Look sold to reach "number 1"? A mere 3,390. I realise that I'm being a bit silly in bringing this complete irrelevance up, but hey.)

On the paperbacks for this will come as no surprise to discover that The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is still at number one. It even performed the remarkable feat of keeping Ian Rankin's A Question of Blood from the top spot, a place he reaches as a certainty every year. His book now slips down to number 7, and has sold a measly 99,570 copies in comparison to a truly massive (considering the book's only been out for a month and a half) 426,635.

For those interested in the Haddon phenomenon, and anyone bothering to keep track, his unstoppable book has won yet another award. The Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Novel of the year.

A short-story a day keeps the doctor away (or rather, a short-story a day keeps more pressing tasks at bay). With that in mind, here is Jawbone by Boston Teran from 2002. I found it yesterday, while exploring the dark corners of his website. Get your mandibles round that one.