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Halcyon

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Sleepyhead (Tom Thorne Novels)
Sleepyhead (Tom Thorne Novels)
by Mark Billingham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully a New Discovery, 27 Dec. 2013
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Being an avid fan of detective novels of all genres and nations, I was pleased to recently discover Mark Billingham and the gritty realism of the Tom Thorne character. The quite shocking and unique crime being committed against innocent women and the parallel story of the poor young woman who survived is an original offering.

The London settings are well described and the potential development of the supporting characters will bring me back for more.


The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case
The Bat: The First Harry Hole Case
by Jo Nesbo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

3.0 out of 5 stars A Tiny Hint of Things to Come, 27 Dec. 2013
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Having read the others in the Harry Hole series, I finally got hold of book 1. The depth of characters and narrative that Nesbo has created in following books are understandably in their infancy in The Bat. When compared to future Hole novels, the maverick and desperate nature of Harry are missing (and missed) and the setting in Australia (where I live) rang rather false. The use of a civilian for entrapment purposes did not ring true at all and there was a predictability to the storyline and the outcome.

Although the story of The Bat and his time in Australia are mentioned in subsequent Hole books, this is not essential reading for existing and new Hole fans.


Beastly Things: (Brunetti 21)
Beastly Things: (Brunetti 21)
by Donna Leon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not a Lot of Sparkle, 27 Dec. 2013
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A body found floating in the waters of Venice sets Brunetti off on his detective quest to find out who and why. All the familiar characters are here but having read all of the Brunetti series, there's a feeling that I have read this story before with elements taken from a number of Leon's previous books.

The rituals and habits of the characters are somewhat tediously replayed from the lunch at home everyday for Brunetti, the reliance on the hacking skills of Elettra to find much needed information for the detectives to the groomed and pompous Patta, there is little new in this novel to create a sense of heightened interest and Brunetti and the story are on a path well trodden by Leon.


Dead of Night (Inspector Ikmen Mystery 14)
Dead of Night (Inspector Ikmen Mystery 14)
by Barbara Nadel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite At Home, 27 Dec. 2013
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Set in Detroit, Ikmen and Suleyman travel to a police conference and become embroilled in a cold murder case involving the son of an old man with Turkish ancestory. The storyline construction is rather clumsy and Nadel (and Ikmen) don't quite feel at home. The backstory on the rise and fall of Detroit and the impact on the society, communities and very fabric of the city is interesting but overall the book seems like too far a departure for the author and her stoic Ikmen. Will be pleased to see them all back in Instabul next time.


Deadline (Inspector Ikmen Mystery 15)
Deadline (Inspector Ikmen Mystery 15)
by Barbara Nadel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Touch of Agatha Christie, 27 Dec. 2013
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Ikmen and Suleyman are invited to fund raising dinner and murder mystery evening at one of Istanbul's premier hotels. The night takes on a sinister twist that puts their detective skills to the test in an Agatha Christie type thriller. Although there is less of the city of Istanbul atmosphere in this book than in previous Nadel offerings, as the action mainly occurs within the hotel, it is still up to the solid standard of many of the Nadel Ikmen detective series.


The Treatment: Jack Caffery series 2
The Treatment: Jack Caffery series 2
by Mo Hayder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling talent, 16 May 2010
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The second in the DI Jack Caffery series (Birdman is the first), I am still somewhat chilled by this writer. The dark undercurrents of the themes, the very believable characterisations, and the threads of things past are cleverly woven into the story. Hayder evokes a great sense of place and location and ties all these elements into a dark, well written police thriller. The main character DI Caffery is troubled, human and a professional and generates sympathy and reader interest. The narrative around the central family and in particular the wife, is excellent and scary.

When thinking back on what happens in the book, she is not here to make it alright in the end for the reader and if you want all the loose ends sweetly tied up and neatly explained, well Hayder expects you to do some of that work for yourself.

If you are looking for some similarities with other writers, there are elements of Ruth Rendell with her take on the human condition, Stuart MacBride with his delight of the macabre and a bit of Rankin with the police procedural and development of the lead character.

Find something 'nice' to read after of just get straight into the next Caffery installment - Ritual. You must read Birdman first otherwise you just won't get it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 21, 2012 10:18 PM BST


Wideacre (The Wideacre Trilogy, Book 1)
Wideacre (The Wideacre Trilogy, Book 1)
by Philippa Gregory
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A publishing con, 24 Jan. 2010
I tried this book three times - yes I am persitent and always ready to revise my point of view. However, the heroine - no I will call her the female lead - is unlikeable, unbelievable and bascially nasty but not in an interesting or provoking way. The storyline which I don't need to repeat here is tedious and the incestuous relationship (that has been portrayed in other books in a sympathetic manner) is simply sordid.

I have enjoyed Gregory's other formulatic books but see no excuse for publishers to put this sort of rubbish on our booksheves just because the author is well known.

Not a review approach I normally like or appreciate by any means, people should be eternally grateful to reviewer bobcat mama who has condensed this nonsense into such a succinct plot expose to save you all time, money and angst. It's a shame there aren't zero ratings available. Enough said.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2010 10:25 PM BST


Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes [DVD]
Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes [DVD]
Price: £5.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As enjoyable as a good book, 24 Jan. 2010
One of the great things I liked about this series are the travel books the Rick has introduced me too. A long time fan of Theroux, Bryson and Eric Newby I have now discovered to my delight Lawrence Durrell, D. H. Lawrence and refound Norman Lewis.

The food of-course is mouth watering although I find some of Rick's meat a bit pink for my taste. The settings speak for themselves and have reinvigorated our plans for a mediterranean style outdoor eating area complete with grape vines, large country table and charcoal Bar-B-Q - well we can in Australia.

Go on - indulge yourself.


Antonio Carluccio's Southern Italian Feast [DVD]
Antonio Carluccio's Southern Italian Feast [DVD]
Dvd ~ Antonio Carluccio
Price: £7.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of my way - I'm going to cook, 23 Jan. 2010
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Well if this DVD doesn't get you wanting to head into the kitchen and cook up something quick and delicious then I despair. It may also have you heading to the travel agents (real or online) to book a ticket to Italy to sample the real thing.

Engaging and approachable Antonio expresses a real, simple love of food set of-course in the most evocative settings that always make me green with envy. It has changed my whole approach to cooking italian - light sauces, a bit of chilli and few ingredients. The pot roast chicken with potatoes (though not an Antonio recipe) is now a family favourite - good food doesn't get much better.

Settle down in front of the telly with a cold glass of white and enjoy.


August Heat (Inspector Montalbano mysteries)
August Heat (Inspector Montalbano mysteries)
by Andrea Camilleri
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hope Montalbano hasn't lost the plot, 23 Jan. 2010
As an avid fan of the Montalbano series I was looking forward to another dose of clever plotting, twisting dialogue, elastic bureaucrats, great scene setting and of-course all served with a lovely dish of pasta and grilled fish.

August Heat is hot - you can feel the sun radiating off the stones and living in Australia as I do, entirely sympathise with the close, hot air of non-air conditioned rooms and that startling hit in the face summer heat as you step outside.

However the depth of plot, the clever word play and Montalbano's ongoing relationship agonies are given a light dusting off and there is a disappointing absence of all the other eccentric characters normally such a feature of Camilleri's books. I guess there were all on summer holidays!! The plot is thin and too predictable - although an element of knowing whodunnit with Montalbano can add to the enjoyment of the books. The 'moral' dilemma he faces (and his response) is only just believable.

These books have been a great source of escapism, fun and food and I missed them all in this offering. However, I remain a fan and look hopefully to the next dish of Montalbano to be served by Camilleri. I am giving it a 3 as I would feel terribly disloyal to do otherwise.


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