WHAT BOOK would thriller writer Clare Mackintosh take to a desert island? 

WHAT BOOK would thriller writer Clare Mackintosh take to a desert island?

Clare Mackintosh is currently reading The Giver Of Stars by JoJo MoyesShe would take Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson to a desert islandBritish thriller writer revealed Patricia Highsmith has left her cold

…are you reading now?

Right now, I’m halfway through The Giver Of Stars by JoJo Moyes. I’m listening to the audiobook, and my two dogs are delighted with the extra-long walks they’re getting when I simply have to hear one more chapter.

JoJo’s characterisation is so vivid, I half expect to look up and see the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky riding towards me; and the insight into the gender and race discrimination of the 1930s is truly eye-opening.

I always have three books on the go, including an audiobook, and this one’s a belter. It’s narrated by Julia Whelan, who masters a variety of different Southern voices so skilfully you can’t help but be swept up in the action.

Clare Mackintosh (pictured) revealed that she would take Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson to a desert island. British thriller writer also shared the books that sparked her interest in reading

…would you take to a desert island?

I’ve read Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, three times, and drawn more pleasure from each reading, so it’s the perfect choice to be stranded with. Kate’s astute observations make every page a joy, and it’s a brilliant concept. What would your life be like if you’d only taken a different path, made a different decision?

We can’t find out, but Ursula Todd can — and does, many times over, in this book. Some of her lives are full and fulsome; others tragically short. All are important, and in these difficult times I think it’s useful to consider that our lives all have an impact on someone, or something, even if only in a very small way.

…first gave you the reading bug?

My early years were filled with Enid Blyton (weren’t everyone’s?) followed by an obsession with Just William that continued into adulthood. I was never without a book, and as such can’t pinpoint a ‘shift’ towards reading: it has simply always been part of the fabric of my life.

In my teens, though, the discovery of Monica Dickens (the great-granddaughter of Charles himself) encouraged me to dip my toe into a bigger literary pool.

Monica’s semi-autobiographical trilogy documents her foray into domestic service (One Pair Of Hands), nursing (One Pair Of Feet) and local journalism (My Turn To Make The Tea), and are at once humorous, moving and fascinating pieces of social history.

Clare would take Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson (pictured) to a desert island

Clare would take Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson (pictured) to a desert island

…left you cold?

As a former police officer, self-avowed crime fiction lover, and bestselling author of several psychological thrillers, I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but [*whispers*] I don’t think I like Patricia Highsmith. (Don’t look at me like that — I love Agatha Christie, does that make up for it?)

I read Strangers On A Train last month, for a book club I run on Facebook, and I wasn’t alone in finding it really heavy going. The premise (two men meet by chance on a train, and one proposes they should murder each other’s enemies) is genius, and Bruno is a superb psychopath, but I found the writing so wordy, I was flicking through pages to get to the good bits. Do I have to hand in my crime writer badge, now that I’ve confessed that?

The Donor by Clare Mackintosh is part of Quick Reads 2020, a series of short novels available for £1 (Sphere, 20 February). Find out more by visiting readingagency.org.