Halloween Bingo Update: No Plan Survives First Contact With The Enemy


no plan survives first contact.001Halloween Bingo just got real. I need to choose the first book to read (in advance of any square being called).

I could just follow my heart but that would be way too easy so I did what my consultant training demanded and built a spreadsheet to compare the books and track progress – yeah, I know – you’re wondering if I straighten cutlery on restaurant tables or have all the cans in my cupboard with the labels aligned – and I finally realised that I DON’T HAVE TIME to read all the books I’ve selected.

Duh! NOW I do this? I was supposed to have a plan. Turns out I had a wishlist.

Anyway, as some Prussian general is alleged to have said, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”

In my case, this means the two longest books on my list didn’t survive either.

magpie murders

I’d selected “The Magpie Murders” for my “Modern Noir” square. I’d had some doubts about it anyway but when I saw it was 15 hours 47 minutes long, I took it off the list



“Fellside”, which I’d selected for “Genre: Horror” is a book I really want to read but I don’t think I’m going to have 15 hours 33 minutes to spend on it, so it’s gone too.



The good news is that my TBR pile offered me two great replacements of a much more acceptable length.

The Ice beneath her“Modern Noir” now gets a Scandi-noir offering: “The Ice Beneath Her”by Camilla Grebe. Set in winter in Stockholm (I’ve worked there in winter – cold doesn’t cover it) we start with:

“An unidentified woman lies beheaded in a posh suburban home—a brutal crime made all the more disturbing by its uncanny resemblance to an unsolved killing ten years earlier. But this time there’s a suspect: the charismatic and controversial chain-store CEO Jesper Orre, who owns the home but is nowhere to be found.” 

Then we get a retired profiler, two detectives and CEO’s lover involved in the case and end with:

“… a chilling dance of obsession, vengeance, madness, and love gone hellishly wrong.”


What Haunts MeFor “Genre: Horror”, I’m now going with “What Haunts Me” by Margaret Millmore. The title calls to me, as does the oxymoronic concept of a ghost killer.

The summary is:

“The ghosts that wander among the living do not haunt in the traditional sense; instead, they plague the innocent with disease, deformity and addiction. And once a ghost finds its victim, it will haunt them for a lifetime… or kill them quickly.

After George gets ill, the dreams begin. Suppressed memories are triggered, allowing him to see ghosts, and a deeply buried instinct emerges. George finds out he can kill these monsters, and heal their victims. The ability to save lives is something George cannot ignore, but it soon becomes an obsession and begins to eat away at his sanity.

His quest for understanding leads him to new friends and allies, and exposes him to enemies he could have never imagined. In the end, can you really ever kill something that’s already dead?”



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