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The Narrow Bed: Culver Valley Crime Book 10
The Narrow Bed: Culver Valley Crime Book 10
by Sophie Hannah
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Silly Billy, 16 April 2016
After reading the reviews and after the author's recent slump in form with the disappointingly dull Poirot revival and the rather ridiculous A Game for All the Family, I was not expecting too much from this latest volume in the Culver Valley series. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. Unlike those of Sophie Hannah's works which are dominated by a single, usually unsympathetic, neurotic/hysterical middle-class female protagonist, this series offers a broad range of interesting characters -- from the over-eager-to-please Sam, the blunt, chauvinistic Sellers, and the scowling Snowman to the competitive Zailer sisters and the boy genius Simon. Ms. Hannah is not the easiest of authors, though, and once more we need to "suspend our disbelief". Her strength is her breathtaking inventiveness and originality. There's also a lot of humour and the usual stylistic dexterity (possibly to the point of showboating at times). I just wish she would stop being a silly billy (she could end up with no mates or at least no fans) in that she keeps churning out volume after volume of varying quality (even eBooks, which seems slightly ironic in this case), probably to please her publisher and bank manager. Instead, she should think of her literary reputation. She needs to pause, take a break, enjoy her money, relax and slowly produce the masterpiece of which she is capable. Quality instead of quantity!


Back To Black
Back To Black
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic superstar, 7 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Back To Black (Audio CD)
It's a wonderful CD. Great songs, fabulous arrangements, fantastic voice. A sad loss. What a waste!


The Girl in the Spider's Web  (Millennium Series)
The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium Series)
by David Lagercrantz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Pale Imitation, 23 Dec. 2015
In recent times, it has become popular to resurrect successful dead authors with modern versions of literary classics or contemporary sequels: Val McDermid's dire, teenage revamp of Northanger Abbey (all zits and diet coke), Sophie Hannah's unconvincing The Monogram Murders (more Miss Marple than Poirot) and Anthony Horowitz's disappointing Moriarty (although his earlier, superior The House of Silk proved successful). Here, Lagercrantz is far too reverential towards his original, totally lacking Larsson's boldness and excitement. A ponderous translation also doesn't help. Lagercrantz has done his research reviving many of Larsson's themes -- the autism, the computer nerds, the domestic abuse, the gang violence -- but nothing is really developed apart from the cliche of the evil twin sister. As a result, we're fobbed off with a timid, plodding, second-rate imitation desperately in need of some magic and sparkle.


Wolves Eat Dogs
Wolves Eat Dogs
by Martin Cruz Smith
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, 7 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Wolves Eat Dogs (Paperback)
Martin Cruz Smith is a very original author who has the knack of making quirky, off-beat material interesting. Who else could get away with a thriller set on a Russian factory fishing boat (Polar Star) or a gloomy, post-Russian-aid Cuba in Havana Bay? This time he has chosen the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear explosion and the abandoned, radioactive Exclusion Zone. Many of the writer's trade mark characteristics are featured here: convincing detailed research, a plausible, authentic atmosphere and some delicious dry black humour. I love Renko's brooding cynicism, his refusal to follow the trends and sell out in order to become a corrupt, materialistic, selfish New Russian. Maybe it doesn't attain the stellar heights of the majestic Gorky Park but it's still much better than most crime books around. His only novel which didn't work for me was the recent, less convincing Tatiana (2013).


Birds Of Fire
Birds Of Fire
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL, 20 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Birds Of Fire (Audio CD)
This is one of my all-time favourite LPs. The guitar playing and the band are fantastic. It's enough to turn you religious. Even though it was recorded about 40 years ago, it still sounds cutting edge. Fabulous musicianship.


Elegant Traditional Art Deco Floral Design Titania Tiffany Uplighter Floor Lamp
Elegant Traditional Art Deco Floral Design Titania Tiffany Uplighter Floor Lamp
Offered by The Light Factory
Price: £89.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely, 20 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's lovely. I like the fact that the shade is real glass, not plastic. The stand is a slightly different colour than I expected. Online it looks chrome but it's more a dark olive green which actually matches my decor better. I'm very pleased with it. And it arrived without anything being broken.


The Fire Witness
The Fire Witness
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars best one so far, 1 Aug. 2015
This review is from: The Fire Witness (Kindle Edition)
The first two books (The Hypnotist and The Nightmare) by the Swedish writing couple Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril (using the pseudonym Lars Kepler) disappointed me. I was irritated by the use of the present tense and found the all-action style shallow. The Hypnotist seemed uneven and unbalanced; The Nightmare mindless and puerile. But this third volume proves much better. It's a novel in the style of The Bourne Trilogy with fast, furious action to the point of exhaustion and little time for discussion or philosophising. Short, sharp chapters create a frantic, frenetic pace (195 chapters!). Plenty of plot twists kept me gripped right to the end. So, to my surprise, I found myself enjoying The Fire Witness. Still, they can't be hyped as the next Stieg Larsson as their style is too different. They are much closer to Jo Nesbo.


The Memory Game
The Memory Game
by Nicci French
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars False Memories, 7 April 2015
This review is from: The Memory Game (Paperback)
Sometimes, it's interesting to read a first work after several later ones because you can then see clearly how a writer has developed as typical features and themes emerge. Here we discover many familiar aspects: the "I" female protagonist; the strong female perspective (I still don't understand the male contribution to the writing partnership); the enjoyment of smoking, cooking and walking; the self obsession; the over-wordy, meandering, unfocussed style, the prosperous bourgeois milieu (architects, authors, book illustrators, TV producers, directors, therapists). At first, the novel seems to favour the recovery of repressed memories through psychotherapy (as in cases of child abuse or psychological trauma) but in the end these prove unreliable and the book serves as a warning against false memories. One or two weaknesses cannot be ignored. The characterisation is not particularly plausible, especially the improbable reactions of the family to the discovery of the body of the long lost daughter (OK, let's get back to the wine and the lovely mushrooms we picked this morning). A number of reviewers have praised the stunning twist at the end but it comes across as pretty feeble to me in that the killer could just as easily have been any one of three or four others.


The Skeleton Road
The Skeleton Road
Price: £5.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too predictable, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Skeleton Road (Kindle Edition)
Although I have enjoyed most of the author's works (apart from The Vanishing Point which turned out unconvincing and convoluted), this one does not quite gel. It may be well researched, informative and authoritative, telling me a lot I didn't know about the Balkan Wars (it managed to confirm something that I did know -- that the Serbs were murderous bastards) but it all falls rather flat.The characters don't really grip. They are the usual mix of power females and lesbians. Of the few sympathetic men, one is killed off and another turns out to be a mass murderer! The tension which I like in the Tony Hill books is missing, especially when we are fobbed off with a predictable, cop-out ending.


Djibouti
Djibouti
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rough film script, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Djibouti (Kindle Edition)
This has a certain cinematic quality, like the rough draft of a Tarantino script, with larger than life comic book characters, superficial surface reality and compressed, colloquial dialogue. The author uses a lazy, unpolished style of writing which displays a dislike for relative clauses and conjunctions. This dislocated style makes our understanding of what the characters are trying to say extremely difficult. It is also irritating when two different characters speak in exactly the same way. You get the feeling that the author has just churned this out without caring too much for his craft. The only consolation is that it's slightly better than my previous Elmore Leonard work, Raylan, which read like a second-rate TV script.


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