Friday, 31 July 2015

Top Minds Read Top Books: Peter James (part 1/2)

The international best-selling crime thriller novelist has kindly put some time aside to reveal his all-time 5 favourite books.  

My 5 favourite books...

Brighton Rock - Graham Greene
"Quite simply, this is the book that made me want to be a crime writer. Set in my home town, where I set my Roy Grace series of crime novels, Brighton Rock is a wonderfully gripping dark book about the criminal underbelly of Brighton, about religious faith and about human nature. And it has one of the darkest and most poignant endings to a novel I have ever read.  My dream is to, one day, write a novel that comes even remotely close to being as good as this book.


Get Shorty – Elmore Leonard

"They say he is the man and you just have to read him to understand why. Characters, characters, characters. Elmore Leonard’s characters are just so vivid, so engaging, you don’t even need plot. You could have a group of his characters reading the phone directory for three hundred pages and you’d still be gripped. And this is the favourite of his novels."

The Hound Of The Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
I started reading Sherlock Holmes as a teenager, and instantly wanted to be writer of detective novels. Another thing I admired about Conan Doyle was his lifelong interest in the paranormal – something I share. This book exquisitely combines the detective story with the supernatural – or so you think ... Without ever resorting to any deus-ex-machina stunts pulled on the reader, and a brilliant twist at the end.

Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut Jnr

"I first read this book when I was 23, and it changed both my perception of the world, and my perception of the boundaries of the novelist. Paradoxically this insane, insanely funny novel is the default book I return to whenever I feel the world – or my world – has gone mad!"

Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin

"This is the most beautifully written scary novel ever – a gem. It is a masterpiece of spare, economical writing, of characterisation, emotion and quiet understatement. There is no horror on the pages, Levin puts it all straight into your mind."

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Peter James has joined The Pen Factor team as a guest judge for our June 2015 competition. Read Peter's review of our winner's story, The Rock Fortress, here.
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