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Boot-Boy (Gloucestershire)
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Blown: The Incredible Story of John Goldsmith, Racehorse Trainer, Gambler and Wartime Secret Agent
Blown: The Incredible Story of John Goldsmith, Racehorse Trainer, Gambler and Wartime Secret Agent
by Jamie Reid
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown Away..., 18 Sept. 2015
In the wrong hands history can be a dry old thing, but when the history in question has to do with horse-racing and Buchanesque derring-do exploits in the Second World War, there can be no finer nor more eloquent chronicler than Jamie Reid. Worthy winner of the 2013 William Hill Sports Book of the Year for his last outing ‘Doped’, Reid has managed to produce an even more gripping tale of racetrack shenanigans and undercover war-time intrigue in his follow-up ‘Blown’. This stirring, nerve-shredding story of John Goldsmith, a horse-dealer’s son brought up in Paris in the 1920s and later recruited as an undercover operative for the Special Operations Executive in World War Two, grips from the very first paragraph. After his specialist SOE training in the Home Counties and in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands, Goldsmith is sent three times behind enemy lines to organise resistance movements in the South of France, to secure the escape of a French Air Force General across the Pyrenees, and to unite the various disparate elements of the French Maquis in the lead-up to the Allied Invasion of France. In his numerous undercover adventures, the wily Goldsmith employs a shrewd blend of racetrack spivvery, gentlemanly elegance and downright nerve to secure his objectives and complete his missions. It is a riveting tale of war-time heroism and peace-time bravado that provides nothing short of edge-of-the seat drama and breathless excitement. In ‘Doped’ and now in ‘Blown’, Reid has proved himself a master storyteller, bringing the lightest of touches to what must have been extensive research, relying instead on the style, courage, and panache of his main character, and on his own undoubted skills as writer and narrator to bring off a very remarkable piece of work. Hat’s off, sir. This is another winner by many, many lengths…


Octopussy & The Living Daylights and Other Stories
Octopussy & The Living Daylights and Other Stories
by Ian Fleming
Edition: Audio CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Voice..., 8 Sept. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must have ordered five or six of the '007 Reloaded' series, and I've loved them all. But this collection of short stories - Octopussy, The Living Daylights, The Property of a Lady, and 007 in New York - is by far the best thanks to the hauntingly powerful voice of Tom Hiddleston in the first three of the collection. Smooth, suave and seductive, Hiddleston is the closest any of the 'Reloaded' readers have come to the real Bond, the real Fleming. The fourth story - 007 in New York - is read by Lucy Fleming and while her voice may lack the special timbre of Hiddleston, she makes a fine job of it. All in all an absolutely marvellous listening experience. 4 CDs with a running time just under four hours.


The Girl in the Spider's Web  (Millennium Series)
The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium Series)
by David Lagercrantz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Ride..., 7 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Blomqvist's back, Salander too. And it's good. Very good. A serious read that draws you in, that demands your attention... Well done, Mr Lagercrantz, Stieg will be very happy. More please. Soon!


Oceans Apart
Oceans Apart
by L B Baxter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nemo For Grown-Ups…,, 10 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Oceans Apart (Paperback)
To be honest I’m not quite sure what to make of this story – part 'Matrix', part 'Nemo', part 'The Beach' – but I did enjoy it, and I was heartened by it. This philosophic fable/parable of the torn-tail fish, Jura, growing up and learning how to live and survive in the real world is, ultimately, an uplifting one, but most of all it is an exquisite feat of imagination.


Mrs. Hemingway
Mrs. Hemingway
by Naomi Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.98

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Elegant..., 27 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Mrs. Hemingway (Paperback)
It wasn't until the final chapter, featuring Hemingway's last wife, Mary, that this story really began to grip. It was probably my fault - the book bought at Heathrow, begun on the flight, picked up now and again during the half-term holiday. It was only on my return, sitting alone by the fire, that Naomi Wood's non-fiction 'novel' about the four wives of Ernest Hemingway began to properly engross me. It's a lovely idea, this female slant - one of the twentieth-century's greatest writers seen and brought to vivid life through the eyes of his four wives - and though I did find the flashback style a little confusing at times (more than once I had to retrace my steps), there are many startling insights here, many fine and elegant turns of phrase, and several moving passages as Wood's story reaches its tragic conclusion... That she is a fine and gifted writer is not in question here, but Wood is not a poet, and there's the problem. Because she doesn't quite match in texture and depth and feeling poet Paula McLain's mesmerising "The Paris Wife", a 'fictional' memoir of Hadley Richardson, the first 'Mrs Hemingway'. Had it not been for McLain (whom I read first) I would, without hesitation, have given this book four stars. And maybe five stars if I'd read the whole thing by the log fire...


All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See
Price: £4.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable..., 15 Dec. 2014
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A story of soaring imagination that left me breathless. A story of love and war and loss, and, ultimately, life. The unforgettable story of Marie-Laure and Werner, Daniel and Etienne, Jutta and Madame Manec, and so many others brought magically and marvellously to life. I will miss you all...


Flash Boys
Flash Boys
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bullseye..., 11 April 2014
This review is from: Flash Boys (Hardcover)
Right on target. Another stunning indictment of Wall Street's wicked ways, written by a man who knows how to make the most abstruse and arcane financial matters immediately comprehensible to readers outside the industry. There's a clarity here, and strong storytelling narrative, that make this book very hard to put down. It's difficult to understand how we could ever trust banks and bankers again, yet among the thieves and rascals who crowd these pages it's encouraging to learn that there are some honourable men and women on the street of shame who really do want to change the system for the better. The very best of luck to them. They'll need it...


For Your Eyes Only and Other Stories
For Your Eyes Only and Other Stories
by Ian Fleming
Edition: Audio CD

5.0 out of 5 stars Beguiling..., 13 Dec. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is my fourth audio Bond in the 007 Reloaded Collection and it's another winner. Five delightfully beguiling short stories this time, read with smooth and persuasive authority by Samuel West. It's hard to choose a favourite but The Hildebrand Rarity stands out; baddie Milton Crest, beautifully rendered by West, really is a loathsome piece of work and deserves all he gets. Six CDs, complete and unabridged. Running time: a little over 6 hours .


Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang
Doped: The Real Life Story of the 1960s Racehorse Doping Gang
by Jamie Reid
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.99

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Ride..., 26 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In this rivetting, hard-to-put-down account of a celebrated horse-doping conspiracy that brought British horse racing to its knees in the late 1950s and early '60s, Jamie Reid does for the sport of kings what Michael Lewis has done so eloquently and effectively for the world of finance (Liar's Poker, The Big Short). What both these authors do so well is catch the mood of the times, and bring to stunning and exuberant life the complex insider worlds of gamblers, rogues and villains whether they're operating on the trading floors of Wall Street or in the royal enclosures at Epsom and Ascot. Marshalling a huge cast of characters, from the rarefied salons of the Jockey Club to the smokey bars and gambling dens of the lower orders, Reid vividly recreates the shadowy world of racetrack racketeering in post-war Britain, and provides a narrative that grips and fascinates whether you're a seasoned race-goer or, like me, the 'quid each way' punter on Grand National day. Like Lewis, Reid is a deft hand at the telling thumbnail sketch, and expert at conjuring up a lost world of loud checks, cheeky chappies and bowler-hatted blimps, his racy tale of bent bookie Bill Roper, his glamourous Swiss mistress and gang of ne'er-do-well dopers a captivating cocktail of Ealing caper, underworld noir, and Establishment snobbery. But for all the gloss and glamour, the close calls and high jinks, there is no denying that Roper's activities not only constituted a very serious financial fraud that raked in millions of pounds in a very short period of time, but also served to undermine the reputation of British racing around the world. It also put at grave risk the health and prospects not only of the racehorses that were drugged but the lives of the jockeys who rode them. Having said all that, I have to admit a rather grudging fondness for the roguish Mr Roper, and in the final poignant pages - in court, in prison, and after serving out his sentence - I found myself rather rooting for the fellow. He might have been a cad and a bounder, but deep down I believe he was a caring cad and bounder.


The Fire Witness
The Fire Witness
by Lars Kepler
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scorching, 4 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Fire Witness (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A word of warning. Don't begin this book unless you've got plenty of time to spare because once started this is a very difficult story to put down. Centred around two horrible murders in a Swedish children's home, the plot is gripping, compelling and, with short chapters averaging no more than two pages, there's a 'pedal to the metal' acceleration that never once lets up, the narrative racing along at a breathless, breakneck pace. The action starts on page one and finishes five hundred pages later with a terrifying and deeply unsettling encounter that surely augurs an equally gripping sequel. Exhausting but utterly exhilarating. Scorching stuff.


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