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Reviews Written by
Huck Flynn "huckleberry" (northern ireland)
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Faithful Ruslan (Neversink)
Faithful Ruslan (Neversink)
by Georgiĭ Vladimov
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful and moving, 8 July 2016
This is an intense, powerful and incredibly poignant masterpiece - brilliant analogy of post Stalinist society, but relevant to many political regimes in decline. I re-read it recently and it still has the power to affect and inspire. One of those books I think everyone should read. Works on several levels and not difficult.


The Ways of the Dead (Sully Carter 1)
The Ways of the Dead (Sully Carter 1)
by Neely Tucker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Same old ....., 8 July 2016
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The book has a few twists but suffers from a lack of originality in terms of plot and character - another tough guy with problems committing to a relationship, with convenient contacts in unlikely places, both sides of the law. The trouble is the actual solution falls rather easily intio carter's hands at each step and there is actually not a lot of suspense. An easy enough read but didn't get me craving for more by the same author. Some way behind Michael Connelly, Tim Weaver or Jo Nesbo.


The Other Side of the River
The Other Side of the River
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Midstream Terry Reid - just go with the flow, 1 Jun. 2016
Given Terry's career record it's probably a miracle that this stuff ever surfaced but, Hallelujah !
Firstly I can say that the sound quality is superb. Secondly the material is generally excellent, if unfinished and untrimmed. That said it has a wonderful relaxed live vibe - a sort of let's just keep the tape rolling and see what comes out feeling.
Some of this stuff could have sat quite easily on the official River release, style and musicians similar and terry in great voice (what else?). The alternative takes are superb - it can only have been a toss of the coin which made it - each has a subtly different mood/rhythm to the LP version. reid and lindley guitars are fantastic and rhythms are infectious. It is also a great perspective into terry's creative process and sheer musicality. I suppose it's a 4 and a half star album although much of the material is easy 5 star. And it's great to have new reid material. Now if they just do the same for Seed of Memory !!!


Guilt: Department Q 4
Guilt: Department Q 4
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Guilty Pleasure, 15 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Guilt: Department Q 4 (Paperback)
Adler-Olsen's Dept Q books are never less than entertaining and Guilt is no exception although he treads the fine line between comedy and grim reality with his quirky characters. This one threatens rather too often to descend into farce and slapstick with Carl's complicated love life, a rather OTT super-villain in Curt Wad, a macabre house party in a sealed room and some rather fortuitous and intuitive guesswork by our wacky team of danish detectives. Rather too much skipping back and forward between Nete's story and the present day. However, there are many twists in this reasonably gripping tale with a serious theme (was it based on true life?) and I was genuinely interested enough in the characters to keep turning the pages. Not as procedurally strong or realistic as as few of the earlier ones but worth a look. Adler-Olsen is another rather unique crime writer worth cherishing like Fred Vargas.


The Harvest
The Harvest
Price: £13.32

5.0 out of 5 stars One of my desert island discs, 28 Jan. 2016
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This review is from: The Harvest (Audio CD)
Over the years this CD has given me so much pleasure and I listen to it on a regular basis. ironically it was bought in error - mistakenly thinking it was by Cheryl Wheeler (another fine songwriter but not related). I'm a bluegrass fan but this isn't bluegrass although it has several top bluegrass style musicians (Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, darryl Anger and Todd Phillips). Erica is a folk artist and writes lovely personal experience and story songs that are affecting without being mawkishly sentimental. She has a lovely light clear voice and distinctive fingerpicking style that drives most of the songs with the delightful accompaniment of fiddle, mandolin, double bass and piano. Every song is a winner and Erica manages to demonstrate a wide range of styles from folkie ballads like Harvest, Maryland County Road or Colorado Town to intimate confessional pieces like the poignant Arrowheads (one of my all time favourite songs)m Mystery and Goodnight Mom. Then tghere's the zippy bluegrass of Spirit Lake, a capella Quiet Hills, rock-bluesy Hot and the funny Sober Harely Guys - about the wild bunch growing old gracefully. Just listing them makes me want to play it again. I loved the CD so much i once emailed the conatct address on Erica's website and was amazed to get a personal email back from her almost immediately to say she appreciated my feedback. Wow ! Anyway - a wonderful album and thoroughly recommended.


Heartbreaker
Heartbreaker
Offered by onepeecd
Price: £12.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Free bow out on a high, 29 May 2015
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This review is from: Heartbreaker (Audio CD)
It is sad that this was the last Free album - it could have been the beginning of a great new era and lineup - instead we got Bad Company which was never in the same league. Heartbreaker is a consistently strong offering with well written and performed rock songs and the old free vocals/guitar/bass/drums mix augmented brilliantly by Rabbit Bundrick's keyboards which gives the band sound more depth and layers without ever stealing the show. Wishing Well is a classic but Heartbreaker, Come Together in the Morning and Common Mortal Man are all classic Free. The loss of Fraser (RIP) proved not too serious - the album doesn' thave his funk influence but Rodgers and Bundrick more than filled the songwriting gap. This remains my favourite Free studio album, Free Live is a super example of them on stage. I think even Koss could have been replaced but after this album things fell apart and the members dispersed. Pity.


The Dinosaur Hunters: A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery of the Prehistoric World
The Dinosaur Hunters: A True Story of Scientific Rivalry and the Discovery of the Prehistoric World
by Deborah Cadbury
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survival of the fittest fossil hunter, 23 Feb. 2015
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At University i studied History and Philosophy of Science as a minor subject and fascinating it was, particularly evolution. So i knew many of the famous names in this - Cuvier, Lamarck, Darwin and others but amazingly the 3 stars of this marvellous book i'd never heard of - Anning, Mantell and Owens. I wish i'd read the book then because it peoples the story of the search for evidence and puts real flesh on the bones of the topic like no text book can. Thus it becomes a rivetting read on many levels - scientific, moral, political and, not least, personal. The lives and struggles of these people were incredible and the competitive nature of the hunt for the best fossil quite thrilling, not just for the insights into the geology and dinosaurs but the religious beliefs being undermined by science. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this book. It has made me want to delve further into all of the related topics again - darwin etc. First class writing, research and characterisation by the author. Easy 5 stars.


Alibi
Alibi
by Joseph Kanon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Gondola With The Wind, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Alibi (Paperback)
Take Macbeth directed by Hiitchcock, add a touch of Talented Mr Ripley, a dash of The Third Man and add a shot of Casablanca with Bogart as Marlowe and you get an idea of this complex thriller set in post WWII Venice. There is a Shakespearean type tragedy with a cynical modern twist to this tense psychological murder story populated by nazi collaborators, partisans, communists, allied peace keepers and war criminal hunters mixing with Venice's high society. Almost all of the characters have darker sides but are the more realistic for it. US ex-soldier Adam is drawn into a obsessive investigation when his jewish girlfriend is implicated in the murder of a family friend while visiting his widowed ex-pat mother in Venice. Layers of moral dilemma are peeled back as the hunt reveals the true actions and motives of the key italian families and revive still-raw vendettas between them and uncovers a few family skeletons. The lavish backdrop plays an important role (perhaps a bit James Bond at times) and the plot gets a little too complicated and over-wrought for its own good. However still a gripping and compelling page turner where the reader's sympathies are constantly challenged. Another strong book by Kanon.


W1A - Series 1-2 [DVD] [2014]
W1A - Series 1-2 [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Hugh Bonneville
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumph Bonneville, 7 Jan. 2015
Well done BBC. I'm convinced there is more than a little accuracy in the depictions of political correctness, PR, HR, career building, jealousy, mind numbing bureaucracy, and creative and cultural confusion that goes on within the Corporation. That it can still laugh at itself is a refreshing relief. Bonneville is absolutely brilliant, even better that the TwentyTwelve series which was hilarious but often excessively ridiculous. We share his frustration at the absurdities or corporate culture with its trendy buzzwords and incompetent colleagues with ridiculous meaningless job titles and the pointlessly unproductive meetings. I'm glad the series was short as i think it would strain itself to extend to many more shows but it will be a long time until i forget the sight of Alan Yentob and Salman Rushdie arm wrestling. Top rate so that's all good then !
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2015 9:09 PM GMT


The Children's Crusade
The Children's Crusade
by Elliott Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but confused, 12 Nov. 2014
This review is from: The Children's Crusade (Paperback)
This tries to be too clever but never really decides what it wants to be - post apocalypitic vision, futuristic global political analysis, gulf war buddy aadventure, jason bourne revenge thriller, mystical lord of the flies and a number of other genre cliches. As a unifying hero Strange is just too good and too tough to be true, believeable or even sympathetic. His confused ethical crusade is riddled by contradiction and his relationships, particularly with the mythical Edith (if i remember her name) are just macho cameos. As a post 9/11 warning about the direction of east/west, middle east, christian/islam conflicts it is muddled and incoherent. Maybe i made the mistake of not starting at book 1 of the trilogy but i'm not really tempted to go back based on what i've read. Blaed Runner's themes (film and book) resonated profoundly and as a character Strange can't keep company with Marlowe and Spade unless he signs up with a better author. It's OK but over-sold.


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