What David’s reading

David Pipe, author, writer novelist, Sacrificing Starlight, Henry's Tale - UK, Germany

‘ A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.’
– William Styron

There are storytellers, good storytellers, great storytellers and then there’s Catherine McCarthy.

My top shelf, books to be buried with, is seeded with Hemingway, Cormac McCarthy, Garcia Marquez, William Styron, Ian McEwan, Murakami, Ishiguro.

Crime and suspense is taken care of by Lee Child, Stephen King, Thomas Harris, John Le Carré, Stieg Larsson.

They are now joined by Catherine McCarthy.


Intrigued by Door; I still desperately need to know what would happen if I went through; And then came the absorbing collection of ten supernatural stories, Mists and Megaliths. Immortelle, followed by A Moonlit Path Of Madness, which left me numb, fearing the answers to all the questions Catherine McCarthy raised and a never-ending wish that it might just have been possible for Grace to have found another solution. I had to shelve all of my plans to find the time to finish this masterpiece. I simply had to know how it ended.

The brilliant The Wolf and the Favour where Catherine invites you into the mind and soul of the wonderful Hannah; ten years old with Down Syndrome and the courage of a lion.

Storytelling at its finest

My latest read from this wonderful storyteller, The House At The End of Lacelean Street, in which Catherine descends into the deep and dark frailties of the human condition. Taking a path most of us fear to tread she accompanies her compelling characters on their chilling search for answers to questions we would normally prefer to supress, with an awesome understanding of the mysteries of love and regret.

Does the yellow bus take us to the end of the line or is there a future for us after the lessons we learn in The House At The End of Lacelean Street?

This book is, as are the others, a monumental success.


Klara and The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara’s Conundrum. A fascinating exercise exploring the possibility that machines can be conscious. Klara asks more questions than she answers and leaves us with the conundrum of defining our own subjective view of consciousness. Is the belief that we have consciousness enough or are we being manipulated by layers of illusions created by our control centres? And how will we know?


DOOR and other twisted tales by Catherine McCarthy

I dare you to open this Door…

Just don’t, otherwise you may not find out what is lurking in the mine or what fried Raoul in the cave and whether the captain’s baby daughter will survive wearing the gold bracelet. If you reach the Bunker you will have done well. Make sure you choose the right point to stop. The End could be anywhere.


A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro

Sometimes we all need to look back; to reflect, review, maybe to cleanse our souls.
A beautiful story.


Posted in the Past by Helen Baggott

Slip into a Corona-free time. True stories written on a postcard.
Fascinating insights into another world from postcards posted more than a hundred years ago.The first social media phenomen of the 20th century.
Posted in 1912: ‘Dear sister you have to pluck up this week and come down. Martha and all our lasses are going to Blackburn on Sat afternoon so pluck up and go with them and bring a fiver with you to have a beano. Don’t fail. From brother Jim.’


Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith

Taught and powerful prose with the dust of Mississippi in your mouth and the heat on your neck from the first page. Where violence and revenge know no limits, poverty amplifies the desperation and the duality of justice and the law is put to the test; victims one and all especially poor Annalee. This is Cormac McCarthy in the Deep South. A magnificent read.


An Armful of Animals by Malcolm Welshman

Malcolm Welshman has a mega-talent, with his joyful and charismatic style, for captivating his readers in a web of fascinating reality which transports them through attacks by soldier ants, major surgery on a parrot, a lame camel, a cow stuck in a tree to the wonderful almost heartbreaking relationship with his loyal and brave bush dog, Poucher. This is storytelling at its absolute best. Allow yourself to drift into his enchanting world.


Understanding Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome by Stacey Firth

CECS is a debilitating disease which should not exist. This disease affects mainly Border terriers. Following the first attack suffered by her Border terrier, Lucy, in 2007, Stacey Firth undertook a training programme and private research to try to understand how she could help Lucy and other Border terriers afflicted by CECS. This book details the results of her work and provides important insights into the management of the episodes. This is essential reading for all Border terrier owners, not only those with pets suffering from CECS. For more information check http://handsandpaws.co.uk/


The Black Orchestra by JJ Toner

Touched a Nerve

The Black Orchestra kept me awake at night. Having lived half my life in Germany I almost started looking over my shoulder as he described the workings of the various security service systems and the undercurrent of xenophobia which, during this period, exploded onto the world stage with such a horrendous force. With an array of major and minor plot lines JJ Toner has described the tensions within the national identity which may not have changed very much over the last seventy five years. Credible descriptions of the social and political thought of the day packaged in a well paced spy story.


The Shame of Innocence by Nikki Copleston

This is a long story. Just when I thought I’d got a grip on all of the characters a few more came along. And that was good. This is a story about what is happening everyday; and it shouldn’t be. The large number of characters serve to make clear just how widespread the network of child abusers is in a wide range of social and business environments. With amazing expertise the author unfolds the crimes and unmasks the perpetrators like peeling layers from an onion. Quite breathtaking. And I never once lost the thread. She teased me along to the quite unexpected climax. A very good read.


Moscow Bound by Adrian Churchward

Old Game; New Players – A Great Read.

If you’ve lived in a country where a knock on the door late at night can only be an unwelcome guest your nerves will be tingling after Scott Mitchell’s first interrogation by FSB’s Colonel Yakovlev. In my case it was South Africa in the seventies. If not, you’ll slide into a sheath of uncertainty which will soon have you looking over your shoulder when you are out on the street.

Fast forward to Moscow at the beginning of the 21st century. Post Glasnost. Post Cold War. The fear is tangible whether the strings are being manipulated by the FSB or GRU. Wasn’t it once the KGB? Plus ça change…

Having set up this chilling framework Adrian Churchward unfolds a political thriller in which you expect the main characters to disappear without trace at any moment. But they don’t. They weave a tale of intrigue and distrust which holds you spellbound until the last page. We see the puppets. But where are the puppet masters?


Ghost and Ragman Roll by Pete Adams.

Masterclass in Crime and Comedy

From the opening in Honfleur I was captivated by the colourful characters and, not having read the previous three, surfed through the fourth book in the series on the crest of a wave of bellicose humour woven into the multifarious storylines. Having chuckled my misspent youth through P.G. Wodehouse’s witty tales of his hapless hero I slipped easily into the world of DCI Jack (Jane) Austin who, having exchanged Wodehouse’s Edwardian slang for his cockney brand, became my wide boy Bertie Wooster. Ghost and Ragman Roll was exactly the right companion with whom I laughed away a(nother) rainy weekend.


Dear Reflection I Never meant to be a Rebel: Jessica Bell

Life on a knife edge

Jessica Bell’s dialogue with her reflection is a brilliant way of describing an internal therapeutic process which enabled her to resolve the chilling personal crisis which threatened to bury her before she had a chance to realise what an amazing future she could have.

While many young people drink too much, stumble into their first sexual experiences and struggle to find their identity in this period of hormonal induced chaos complicated by the parallel requirements of psychosocial maturation, the additional insecurity imposed by a severely dysfunctional family background stack the odds against survival so high that the reader is left wondering where the strength and resilience came from that enabled the author to develop into the successful, multitalented author, singer, songwriter, designer she has become.

Although a memoir, the narrative style is in the tradition of the finest storytellers.

Read this book if you are struggling or have struggled with your own demons. It will give you courage.

If your path through the torments of adolescence was easier this book will help you understand those who lived on a knife edge.

Respect! And respect for the family for agreeing to it being published.