Friday, 30 December 2011
Thursday, 15 December 2011
This is a large book, bordering on 666 pages (!), it is fast paced and witty. Unusually for this type of book it is also erudite. I love a book in which I learn alot and am entertained!
The glossary is also helpful as it answers all the in jokes/ entendres concerning the names of significant characters!
So, this book is mainly set in Moldovia and Romania, but ties up the threads of Nostradamus in France and the Mayan Codex from Mexico. I cannot say too much without spoilers but I can share that as Adam Sabir, Calcque and the intrepid gypsies rush to the climax, chased by the Corpus ( the wicked De Bale family - did I say my maiden name was Bale?) we find out not only who is the Third Antichrist but also who is the Second Coming!
If you like fast paced, mystery or conspiracy type thriller this is the book for you! Just the thing to curl up with at this time of year.............
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Another cracking novel in the Bryant and May series. This time Christopher turns his hand to the locked room mystery. Add to that the fact that the murder may have been committed by Punch from Punch and Judy, then you have the scene set for another delicious blend of mayhem, mystery and murder.
These books just keep on getting better. If you want to know more about the history of London and all its quirks, these books will entertain. Add to this the great duo of Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit and you have a really special quality read. Although these books do stand alone, the story arc of the Peculiar Crimes Unit is great to follow, do I detect a slight softening towards Raymond Land?
These books are also well written and I love an author that plays with words and teaches me new ones.
I am very worried about this new condition I am sure I have abrakophilia !
Christopher has a great BLOG too follow the links on this page!
Saturday, 12 November 2011
Friday, 4 November 2011
I found I had to read this book very slowly reserving time to read one story a day. They are haunting, terrifying, and very clever, they also stay with you, hence the desire not to overload the synapses.
I should say that next time I take the tube in London I am going to pay very close attention to everything, and be very afraid. I found it absolutely fascinating but not surprising to see how different author's imaginations run when given such a suitable topic. Am I the only person that has always been slightly uneasy on a tube platform?
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
In October we had the excellent Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival. As part of this there was the interestingly named Horrorlitic events. Bournemouth has a wealth of literary connections,the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley is buried here, as is the heart of her husband! Robert Louis Stevenson wrote The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde while living here, and the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker used to come here on holiday!
Friday, 30 September 2011
This is the same book, so do not be fooled! The publisher clearly thought the original title had to be simplified. Certainly the new cover fits in with those of his later books.
Once again we have a murder mystery/thriller. This time it is set in Long Island, USA in 1947. Having read this book last in the series, I was impressed as to how deep and structured it was. All the elements I have come to recognise in my fest were there. Once again we are immersed into a rich, complex and textured community, that at the same time is finite in the sense that we have a small cast from which to find our murderer. I loved the character of Hollis the detective. There were all the elements of classic film noir that added to the atmospere.
It was also very clever how we were drip fed details of Conrad through out the book, so that we were never quite sure what his next move might be. It was not until quite some way into the book that I realised his age!
Again there is much here that would make it an excellent reading group book but also an entertaining read that will keep you pleasurably lost in another world.
Keep writing Mark as I have now run out!
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Saturday, 3 September 2011
I read this on holiday and have only just got round to reviewing it. Dan Waddell is an expert on genaeology, He wrote the Best Selling ' Who Do You Think You are?' to accompany the TV series. This is his first novel.
It really is a great idea and fairly unique I would have thought in crime. Here we have an expert in genealogy helping the police solve crime in the present by researching family and local history.
Here we have a serial killer in Victorian London and another in present day London. There appears to be a link can our genealogist, Nigel Barnes, find the link?
For those of you fascinated by family history or in researching your house, or street, this has a wealth of ideas tucked in among the fiction. It works really well as a Crime Novel and I look forward to the rest of the series.
On a personal level, I particularly liked the setting in Ladbroke Grove. I lived there years ago and several times people knocked on our door looking for Rillington Place, as yes I lived in Wesley Square........
I throoughly recommend this. It would make a good reading group read and I think it would also be enjoyed by a local history/ family history group as well.
Friday, 2 September 2011
Another wonderful offering from David in his Nic Costa series set in Rome. I am completely hooked on these.
This is an intriguing puzzle and as usual it kept me guessing to the end.
Nic has a potential new love interest ( I do hope so he deserves a little bit of happiness!), whilst out meeting with her they hear screaming, running to the scene they see a young g irl bent over her dead father who apparently has fallen from a balcony that is under repair. Is it an accident? Of course it isn't, but the intricacies of their lives will keep you guessing.
As usual I learnt so much more about Rome and in particular the story of Beatrice Cenci, a sixteenth century noblewoman still honoured by women today.
I shall tell you no more as it would contain spoilers!
Thursday, 25 August 2011
Another all nighter or so it seemed, well wee hours anyway. I just had to finish this. It was really exciting, kept you guessing and maintained the tension throughout.
This is the fourth in the Vera Stanhope series. The only trouble is that after the TV series Vera, I firmly have Brenda Blethyn in my head now but the plus side is that as a Southener I can now hear the voices as I read.
An interesting book, I love the touches of humour, the Health Club was acutely observed, as I too swim before work. I must say I did look around the steam room this morning!
I thought the plot was good, very topical, the murder victim being a a social worker who had worked on a high profile case where a child was killed.
I think because of the subject matter it would make a good Reading Group book especially for a Crime Reading Group.
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
The book is about the growing up of a sister and brother. A rite of passage novel if you will but, it also brings in the global triumphs and tragedies as a commentary on their lives, on our own lives.
Again an absolute must for Reading Groups. It even helpfully has reading group notes in the back.
This book will have you laughing out loud, in the scene with the nativity play I nearly fell out of bed - and then she delivers the punch line that brilliant sentence that sums up the world as it really is.
Her characters are well drawn and by the end of the book you really feel you know them. I could go on for pages but better still pick up a copy at your local library and be prepared to read something really special.
Is the book realistic, probably not but as a social commentary it is priceless.
Monday, 22 August 2011
This is a fantastic book and would make an excellent reading group book. There is a lot here to discuss.
This is basically a dual time mystery novel set in France. I cannot say too much about the plot as I would give it away. What I can say is that this was one of those books that had me reading into the small hours of the morning to find out what happened.
This book is also full of relationships, and the psychology that drives them.
What I also found interesting is that this book is about French protagonists and it fascinating to get behind the psyche of a different race.
I thoroughly recommend it.
Monday, 15 August 2011
Oh I am just so jealous. Natasha writes like a dream she is fantastic. I loved her previous novel, Mr Rosenblaum's List. This book is set during the Second World War in Austria and Dorset, UK.
It is the story of Elise, a middle class Jewish Girl, born into the glamorous world of her opera singer mother and writer father. They send her to England before the outbreak of the war on a domestic ticket. This girl who has never had to lift a finger before, who speaks little English arriving from the bustling Austrian city of Vienna coming to rural Dorset as a servant. A village in Dorset that is going to be requisitioned by the army.( This really happened, a village still sits there on the coast, bombed out for target practise, a village of ghosts)
This is a novel of many genres, historical, coming of age, romantic, sad and above all brilliant. Again this book is as much about, what is the essence of being English as it is about being a refugee.
It would make an excellent reading group novel, there is a wealth of discussion points to delve!
Saturday, 30 July 2011
This is a debut novel and has been nominated for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger 2011.
I picked it up as reaaders of my Blog will know that I devour Italian crime novels. This one is set in Rome. It is gritty, complex and as usual cynical as to the Roman Underworld/police force.
I did not warm to our detective Alec Blume. I think it may be the Americanisms, he seemed neither one nor the other, however it may be a useful story arc for the future. It was well plotted and uses Rome to full advantage. I found that after I had got about halfway I could not put it down a sure sign that the dramatic tension is right. It also made me look up Cane Corso's so I learnt something too.
I await the next book in the series to see how this series will progress. This is a competative field and there are some masters to challenge ( Dibdin, Hewson, Leon et al), this is not quite there yet but has massive potential.
Friday, 29 July 2011
Another excellent book in the Jackson Brodie series. The vision of Jason Isaacs has now superceeded any visions I had of Jackson in my head - I had not imagined him quite so buff!)
I absolutely love how Kate takes three apparently disparate threads and then inexorably weaves them in and out until they come to the climax of the book. It is a fascinating web that she weaves and I am hooked.
I hope he finds his thieving ex-wife and she gets her comuppance. I hope he gets some closure over his sister's murder and I also wish Tracy Waterhouse all the best in her new life!
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
This is the twentieth book in this marvellous series. All the wonderful ingrediaents are there. Mystery, murder and of course wonderful Venice. In this book we look at the problems with someone who believes in complete honesty, not everyone wants to know the truth or have it revealed. It starts with the death of an elderly woman, touches on battered wifeas and as usual we delight to the trumping of Vice Questore Patta.
Once again it is all resolved due to the superior mind of Guido and the infomation gathering skills of Signorina Elettra.
This is unmissable for her fans.
I am so grateful for Donna Leon for introducing me to modern Venice I cannot wait until I go there for the fifth time in the Autumn!
Sunday, 24 July 2011
I am not sure what readership this book is aimed at really. It is not deep enough for hard core fantasy fans. It might be aimed at teens as it is an easy read and non challenging ( other than the gore of course). I read it in a day.
The only surprise is that he kills the goose that lays the golden egg. Have Aiden or his editor never heard of a series? Or is this a one off, cashing in on the current all things zombie craze?
There is certainly nothing here for a reading group. On thought though was why and how was the electricity still working after 25 years? Not likely I would have thought, I am afraid this is the sort of things that really bugs post apocalyptic aficionados mad.
Read The Passage it is so much better. (see below) Or read the Walking Dead graphic novels on which the TV series is based.
This is also another of those irritating books without punctuation. Is this an affectation or laziness?
Friday, 22 July 2011
Sometimes one comes across a book where superlatives seem trite. This is just such a book, you find yourself reading slowly, savouring the words, and at the end you are left bereft as you do not want it to end, you want to know more.
This book republished to coincide with the TV Series Mad Men, was a novel written in 1958, set in 1952 to appeal to the 'modern woman'. To attempt to give them a 'voice'. If this book wasn't read by the creator of Sex in the City, I would be very surprised.
This is the story of 4 girls who came to New York to work, they all start at the Fabian Publishing House. This novel tells their story. It is compelling, beautifully written and I loved it!
It would make a superb reading group choice, there is just so much material here, a great deal to talk about. Has the world changed that much for women since then? Is it better or worse? I encourage you to read it and you decide.
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Another of our stars from the Bournemouth Libraries Crime Festival. This is a debut novel from a very experienced script writer.
This book is set over one weekend in Brighton in 1964. We follow the investigations of Detective Vince Treadwell, sent down to Brighton whilst recovering from a head injury, to investigate a murder. However, Vince knows Brighton well, he grew up there, he knows the players. A tee total, honest cop, he has to tread warily through the morass of underground crime and police corruption ( sound familiar - no tabloids though).
This is the sixties we have, miniskirts, sex and drugs, pornography, oh, and mods and rockers fighting on the beach.
This is a fast paced, edge of your seat ride. I read the book over a couple of days, you can appreciate the skills of the script writer here, the prose is sparse, edgy and gripping. I challenge you to put it down for long!
There are some exciting events coming up. On 8th September at Westbourne LIbrary we have Crime Author Graham Hurley. Then a month later we have Horolitic. A horror lit fest, a return to real horror perhaps? Featuring Graham Masterton, Stephen laws, Ramsey Campbell and Christopher Fowler, and Who Deliberately Tried To Run Over Stephen King?
Friday, 3 June 2011
This book is full of mystery, atmosphere and wonderful writing. I really felt I was there, immersed in the period. Not a nice time but very interesting. I enjoyed the twists and turns, skillful plotting and suspense.
This would make an excellent reading group book with so much to discuss.
A brilliant idea is that the story is narrated by the mandrake!
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
This is the first book and a gripping novel ,no doubt blurring fact and fiction as we may well find out on Saturday.
This book skilfully blends a number of threads. We have a serial rapist targeting young single mothers in Plymouth. We also have a famous painter setting a riddle of the 'Death Pictures' before he dies of cancer. However he is then murdered. Are the cases linked? Why kill someone shortly before they will die of natural causes. What are the clues to the riddle of the Death Pictures and can we solve them. All the answers are in the book, and kept me gripped to the end. I have now ordered the next 4 books and can't wait to read them. This would make an excellent reading group book as there would be much to discuss, especially about the media, the press, and death.........
Thursday, 5 May 2011
This is one of those fabulous books that occassionally comes a long that just hits the spot for you as a reader, I loved it. I am very excited that it is "Act one" and so I am eagerly awaiting the next "Acts" to follow!
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
There is much to empathise with here, no matter what your age, as we follow Alice, her husband, their four children their various partners and children through the ups and downs that lead to the great event. ( the high powered business woman daughter, the born again teacher and his dissatisfied and guilt ridden wife, the hopelessly romantic hippy daughter, and of course the all round good egg of a son with step daughters, oh and a tempted husband!) I just couldn't put it down and ended up reading it in a day. I also love books set in Dorset!
It would make an excellent holiday read.
Monday, 18 April 2011
Sunday, 17 April 2011
Saturday, 16 April 2011
Thursday, 7 April 2011
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Saturday, 26 February 2011
This is part of a trilogy and I am looking forward to the next instalment. Only criticism, it is set in New York and there seems to be an assumption that everyone knows New York and its landmarks etc. For those of us in Europe it would make it very much more interesting if we understood some of the references and it might help tourism!
Friday, 11 February 2011
Tuesday, 4 January 2011
Another excellent series, these just get better. Michele is a bestselling author in Italy. This book takes place in New York and in Calabria. Murders in NewYork lead to a team visiting Calabria to find the key to these events. Michele Ferrara is now Chief Superintendant of the Anti-Mafia Investigation Department, and is tasked to help the New York detectives all he can. This book involves a type of Mafia called the 'Ndrangheta situated in the remote and beautiful area of italy called Calabria, it was absolutely fascinating, and an exciting read. I particularly like the authors notes at the end tying this up with real cases and history. I eagerly look forward to his next offering.