Andrew Cartmel - Shastrix Books

Andrew Cartmel

Recently reviewed

Attack and Decay

Attack and Decay

Andrew Cartmel

7th April 2024

Book six sees the Vinyl Detective and ever expanding posse head to Sweden on the trail of a rare special edition album which has totally nothing dangerous about it whatsoever.

It’s a great detective novel, with a bunch of really compelling characters who are essentially going on holiday together and having a laugh.

I don’t feel that the humour is as strong in the earliest novel, but that’s doesn’t get in the way of adding some. One new character in particular feels like she brings a remarkable joke that someone is endearing despite it keep giving more and more material for the book to work with.

I find these novels very comforting to read and am happy to see that Cartmel has another series now started that I can catch up with too.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled Star
Low Action

Low Action

Andrew Cartmel

17th September 2023

The fifth Vinyl Detective novel feels back on form after I found the previous one a little lacking.

I’m not convinced that the humour in the narrative is up to the levels of the earliest novels though, which my memory tells me had me laughing much more.

Instead it’s a light but dangerous plot, as the quite highly expanded cast of regular characters gets together again to try to find a) who is trying to kill one of them, and b) a valuable record.

I raced through this one and enjoyed it all round. Looking forward to more.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
Flip Back

Flip Back

Andrew Cartmel

3rd April 2023

The fourth adventure for the Vinyl Detective sees him trying to track down a rare record for a friend, and visiting the quite wacky band who produced it.

I found that this entry lacked something that I’ve come to expect from the series. The humour felt muted and less laugh-out-loud, and the peril almost felt more real and therefore less escapist.

The plot is outlandish, but I’m not sure it’s not too far, and seems to be a lot driving on coincidence rather than events that are caused by events. I’m still not entirely sure why many of the things in the plot even happened.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
Victory Disc

Victory Disc

Andrew Cartmel

3rd July 2022

The Vinyl Detective’s third adventure is triggered by the discovery of an ancient record from WW2, and the appearance of the daughter of a band member, who hires him to find more.

It’s another really strong tale, hilarious throughout, but especially the opening chapter, which I unusually read aloud and couldn’t get through without giggling.

The plot is a bit complex but keeps moving at a good pace, bringing together familiar characters and new and developing the investigation in a great fun way. I can’t believe nobody’s done a TV version of this series yet as it would work really well.

Love it. Looking forward to more, as I bought books three, four, and five together.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled Star
Body Work

Body Work

Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan & Luis Guerrero

1st June 2022

I’m not typically one for graphic novels - but after reading the latest Rivers of London novel I finally decided that I was missing out on story by not consuming this format too, and so started here at the beginning.

This is the tale of an investigating into haunted cars.

The format remains I think not my favourite. I struggle to recognise the illustrator’s depictions of the characters from the visions I had formed in my head, particularly Nightingale and Molly. And I find that my eyes only really want to focus on the words. There was one place where the experience felt really disjointed, which I think might have been a transition where the issues where split when this was published as comics, and it didn’t really give any explanation of the transition or repetition of some scenes.

However the story itself was good, and I enjoyed filling in some of the gaps in the characters’ lives. I found it interesting that there seems to be more time spent away from Peter, when not tied exclusively to his first person narrative, and seeing particularly more from Nightingale felt like a new take.

I don’t know if I will continue reading these graphic novels - I suspect it will depend on what sort of prices I can find them at.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
Written in Dead Wax

Written in Dead Wax

Andrew Cartmel

4th July 2021

On reading the second book in the series and writing a review, I discovered that I’d somehow missed reviewing this first book when I read it last October. So, based on what’s now a distant memory, here are my thoughts.

I really enjoyed this opening novel, which tells the story of a record collector and seller who is hired to find the rarest of rare records, a project which leads to a bizarre set of circumstances and relationships.

It’s a surprisingly believable, but incredibly fun, detective story with a wide variety of well defined and entertaining characters and locations.

I’m very much planning to now read the whole series.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled Star
The Run Out Groove

The Run Out Groove

Andrew Cartmel

26th June 2021

The second book in the Vinyl Detective series has satisfactorily shifted me out of a bit of a reading rut and back into the groove. In this sequel we’re reunited with the familiar characters and cats from the first novel, as they are drawn into investigating a complex missing persons/records case.

I was slightly dubious that a sequel wouldn’t work - how much more could be got out of this concept, and with the shifts in characters after the events of the first novel - but I needn’t have worried, Cartmel has put together another great plot which all his players fit really nicely into.

As a mystery story, it’s got all the classic elements, but in an entirely new and modern setting which keeps humour flowing alongside plot. I had a few theories as to what was going to be the outcome, but of course Cartmel is far too clever and was tricking me with all the little red herrings or obvious tricks.

I am strongly tempted just to buy the rest of the series now, to have them on my shelf as motivation to keep reading until I feel there’s been a sufficient gap after this book to dive straight in.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star

Other reviewed books

Consequences

Unreviewed books

Death in Fine Condition
Noise Floor

Top books

  1. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled Star
  2. Attack and Decay
  3. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled Star
  4. Written in Dead Wax
  5. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled Star
  6. Victory Disc
  7. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  8. Flip Back
  9. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  10. Consequences
  11. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  12. The Run Out Groove
  13. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  14. Low Action