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CJM Booth (London)

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Michael Freeman's Photo School: Street Photography
Michael Freeman's Photo School: Street Photography
by Michael Freeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly disappointing, 16 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Anyone familiar with Michael Freeman's work would have expected a lot from this book, as did I. I placed an order in advance of publication, expecting his usual mixture of expertise and accessible prose to help lead picture taking to the next level.
This book is disappointing. It feels like it was put together in a hurry - judging from the numerous typos. And judging by the overall slipshod impression created by the book as a whole. The individual sections seemed a little arbitrary, an effort to fill out a few more pages, in some cases. And the photographs were banal, in my opinion. You buy a book like this looking for inspiration, from a combination of contemporary and classic shots. The pictures chosen for this book were terribly dull.
It may be that I have missed the point and that it will be of use to absolute beginners.

Malcolm is a little unwell
Malcolm is a little unwell
Price: £7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A light in the darkness, 9 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is not possible to imagine what psychosis truly means. If you haven't had it, you cannot know. And even then, it's far from likely that one experience of such catastrophic mental illness enables another to be understood. It is a private hell. All nine circles are yours alone. So it is Malcolm's achievement to shed some light upon the state, so that 'normal people' can in some measure empathise. You read the book, and you read not the self-pitying memoir of a hypochondriac, but the unsparing account of a soul moving through darkness. His wife's fortitude is awe-inspiring. Malcolm's recovery is her reward, and ours.

The Devil's Mask
The Devil's Mask
by Christopher Wakling
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 7 Jun. 2011
This review is from: The Devil's Mask (Paperback)
With this novel, Mr Wakling has staked a convincing claim to his place in refreshingly new literary territory.

I am not troubled by historical novels, and don't read thrillers, but this superb mystery story, set among the corrupt docks of Georgian Bristol, had me turning the pages at a frantic rate.

It's not just that the book is so well-plotted, the lead character so compelling or the supporting cast so well delineated. It's the quality of the writing. Entirely accessible, it is nevertheless rarely less than elegant.

There's plenty of humour - farcical, and also black. But it's woven into scenes of affecting horror with great skill.

More than anything, I was impressed by the conclusion. The narrator confirms your worst fears, but never spells them out. You are left alone with them.

'Tour de force' is a profoundly irritating and over-used cliche, but in this case it's hard to come up with a better phrase. Let's just say: 'a damn good book'.

It's only a matter of time before you see Rufus Sewell, or someone similar, in the screen version. The book will translate to cinema without effort, and without losing any of its power to intrigue and move you.

Do read it.

On Cape Three Points
On Cape Three Points
by Christopher Wakling
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping the reader guessing... and thinking, 13 Jun. 2003
This review is from: On Cape Three Points (Paperback)
The ruthless world of post-communist business; a naive young lawyer; the beautiful but untrustworthy female lead; and a mysterious figure whose only communications are anonymous messages from cyberspace... The reader can be forgiven for expecting another journey through familiar territory in which the Little Man takes on Big Bad Business, managing somehow or other to confound his enemies by the turn of the final page. Nothing wrong with that, of course; and in the hands of a competent writer, the higher the odds against the hero’s success, the greater our satisfaction. Most of us are happy to pay authors to take us on a trip around the thriller block, so long as the ride is by well-oiled rollercoaster and the twists and turns are sufficiently breath-taking.
But On Cape Three Points is about rather more than that - the novel skirts Grishamville and keeps going. At its heart is an examination of free will and moral responsibility. Big subjects. And perhaps not the sexy stuff of a gripping read. But Wakling’s technique, an achievement in a first novel, is to harness the machinery of the thriller - tight plotting, the tantalising drip-feed disclosure of information - to power his true purpose: confronting the reader with the consequences of complacency and a life lived thoughtlessly. Lewis Penn, the lawyer whose testimony forms the narrative, turns out to be as desperate to escape himself as to evade the clutches of the all-powerful and apparently all-knowing Ukrainian underworld.
Plenty of allegory in that relationship and elsewhere in the book, too. But irrespective of whether you read ‘On Cape Three Points’ with an eye to such things or simply follow Penn’s story at face value, you will come across passages of extremely evocative writing and the occasional, unexpected undercurrent of black humour, both sustaining the novel’s claim to be a ‘literary' thriller.
The risks taken in cross-genre writing such as this are considerable: the tired formula ‘a bit like X with a touch of Y under the influence of Z (on acid)’ amounts more often than not to a publisher's makeover for an author who is unsure of what he is trying to achieve.
Wakling was evidently undaunted and has produced a book one of whose chief merits is precisely that it is not at all easy to define yet knows exactly what it wants to say.

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