I have had pops at, and sometimes defended Jon Gaunt,the former TalkSport presenter who is now ex-presenter after offending the PC thought police. This time I am thanking him.
It must be nearly two years now since I heard him singing the praises of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander books. He droned on about them so much that I had to go out and try one. Within weeks I had read the lot and am eternally grateful to Jon Gaunt for the introduction.
Previously I could take or leave crime books but I am now hooked, especially on Scandinavian crime writers. They really do fill their books with the darkness of Scandinavian winters and the characters, especially the central characters, are never the stylised perfect human beings of much crime fiction, but are flawed and human in a strangely refreshing, not to say reassuring way.
From Mankell I have gone on to try Ake Edwardson, who is another superb Swedish writer, but have now struck gold again as I did with Mankell. If you are wondering what to get somebody for Christmas then look no further than Jo Nesbo and his Harry Hole books.
Harry is a detective in Oslo and is an even more fragile being than Wallander. The book I am reading now, 'The Redbreast', is one I can't put down and is a fascinating mix of crime, political thriller and historical novel with the themes intertwined.
I'm on a long train journey tomorrow and can't wait to have four hours just sat devouring my Nesbo book. And if you do buy it and don't like it, or he/she doesn't like it, you can blame me!