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OCN "OCN" (London)

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Greenteeth
Greenteeth
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simon John Cox delivers another excellent and scary read with Greenteeth, 17 Jan. 2016
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This review is from: Greenteeth (Kindle Edition)
Like his previous novella The Slender Man, Cox gives a folk tale a modern twist, with three students heading to an isolated cabin to do some research. Considering that short stories don't generally give much opportunity for character development, the characters of Heather, Cormac and Polly, flaws and all, felt more real than some I've come across in full length novels. Cox also does creeping dread brilliantly - there's a very real sense of unease in Greenteeth.

It's hard to write truly scary stories which make you want to read from behind a cushion, but Cox has nailed it. More, please!


The Lonely Cool Before Dawn
The Lonely Cool Before Dawn

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good reason not to get a lodger!, 6 July 2014
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I was a bit afraid this was going to be another in a long line of the sub-standard crime thrillers which seem to be prolific at the moment. Fortunately, I was wrong.

Ellie and Sarah are in a fractured mother-daughter relationship and Ellie has just gone away to university. A lodger moves in and odd things start happening to both of them, leading to a pretty lively conclusion.

It's a gripping read and while there are a few jarring moments (especially in the final scenes which I don't want to detail because spoilers), it's entertaining, competent and thoughtful. There was a massive WHY? which I think could have done with being explained but I ultimately liked the way the book ended.


Look Behind You
Look Behind You

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Derivative and disappointing, 22 May 2014
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This review is from: Look Behind You (Kindle Edition)
I bought this based on the glowing reviews but it didn't live up to them. Not only that, but it's a really quite blatant rip-off of Nicci French's 'Land of the Living'. Woman loses memory after being kept in captivity? Check. No-one believes her story? Check. Makes a list of where she'd been based on investigating her movements during the missing seven weeks? Check. Honestly, it's ridiculously similar and French's book is far better. There were no surprises at all and I thought it was just a very disappointing book.


The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 12
The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 12
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Connolly on form as always with 12th Charlie Parker novel, 23 April 2014
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As John Connolly's unhappy private detective returns for a 12th book, my fears for an impending end to Maine's finest just increase with every book because I know it can't go on forever. The seeming suicide of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter leads Parker to investigate the insular and, er... prosperous town of Prosperous.

As we've come to expect, there's way more to this than meets the eye. Connolly's ability to convey menace and fear remain undimmed and I've always really liked how he picks up and drops certain themes throughout the series (like the Believers) as he encounters different cases. His long-time sidekicks Angel and Louis feature heavily in this book too, with the level of violence which usually accompany them. It's hard (I think) to do a 'good' novel which incorporates the supernatural without it being a bit naff but Connolly makes the weird somehow seem perfectly normal.

I've been hooked on the Parker series since I read The Unquiet, shortly followed by every other Parker book and The Wolf in Winter is a perfect addition to it. A word to the wise (if it's not too late by this time) - I'd avoid the Amazon reviews of this until you've read it as too many idiots seem to be posting spoilers.


The Wanderer in Unknown Realms (Kindle Single)
The Wanderer in Unknown Realms (Kindle Single)

5.0 out of 5 stars Menacing and make the reader question, 1 Mar. 2014
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Set sometime after World War I, Lionel Maulding, a rare book collector has gone missing. Former soldier Soter is tasked with finding him, leading to some exceedingly grim discoveries. It's one of the scariest books I've ever read. While some of the events in it are truly horrible and shudder-making, I was left with a nagging doubt as to whether Soter was having a nervous breakdown or everything was actually true. Connolly's talent for creating understated yet terrifying stories is pretty much second to none and even a couple of weeks after finishing this particular story, I had a sense of residual creeping unease. Other reviewers have criticised the ending but I thought it worked really well.


The Killer Next Door
The Killer Next Door
Price: £4.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb thriller from Alex Marwood, 8 Dec. 2013
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Each of no.23's residents has a secret to hide, one of them more than most. Teenage runaway Cher, asylum seeker Hossein, the secretive Collette, CAB employee Thomas, the mysterious music teacher Gerard and beleagured sitting tenant Vesta are a disparate group of tenants living in a run-down London house under the beady eye of their grubby, grasping landlord. Over the course of a few summer weeks, they are pushed together by events in the house with devastating consequences.

Once again, Alex Marwood has created a group of wonderful characters who inspire admiration, annoyance and sympathy in the reader. As with her previous novel The Wicked Girls, she demonstrates what seems to be an effortless talent for likeable personalities but without shying away from showing the darker side to their natures when it's needed.

The Killer Next Door isn't your typical crime thriller - it's driven by the characters who are unknowing witnesses (and at times accomplices) to some horrifying serial murders. And trust me, there's some stomach-churning stuff in there.

This is a proper page-turner which hooks the reader in right from the start. I finished it yesterday and I want to go and read it again.


Every Vow You Break
Every Vow You Break
Price: £4.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a lot better, 17 July 2013
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Although on one level I did enjoy Every Vow You Break, I found the characters and some of the plot just too beyond any suspension of disbelief. Lara and Marcus appear less like human beings and more like caricatures - the downtrodden wife with a secret and the irresponsible luvvie husband. Few of the other characters stood out and came across as pretty one-dimensional, even the troubled twins Olly and Bella (whose rather alarming relationship and the casual treatment of it I found pretty unbelievable), not to mention Stephen the cardboard cut-out man.

The writing was a bit of a struggle at times - there seemed to be an insistence on telling people's backstories in a rather clunky way - but at other times it flowed nicely, usually when describing the location. And although I could imagine some of the situations in the book, the words seemed somewhat flat.

Basically, it's a relatively unchallenging thriller that you shouldn't expect too much from.


Road to Rouen
Road to Rouen
Price: £5.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and touching, 14 July 2013
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This review is from: Road to Rouen (Kindle Edition)
Having read and loved 'Are We Nearly There Yet?', I was keen to read 'Road to Rouen'. I wasn't disappointed. Ben Hatch has penned (typed?) another wonderful book which is a mixed bag of travelogue, family saga and occasional crisis.

I cannot think of another book I've ever read which combines obstreperous donkeys, a rather scary narrow escape from dodgy characters and a man tying baguettes to his children's legs to avoid paying for food in Disneyland Paris (not to mention the cheese in the shoes).

Other reviewers who have said the book offers an insight into the tensions of marriage and family life are bang on the money - Road to Rouen is an occasionally painful glimpse into how pursuing something we love can affect those around us without us realising it. But Hatch doesn't sermonise or justify, he just lets us laugh, cry and go 'yikes' along with him.

This book is a must-read; it's funny, engaging and touching in equal measures. I did especially like the commentary on the French attitude to health and safety too.


WTF?
WTF?
Price: £2.40

5.0 out of 5 stars Silly, funny and not to be taken too seriously, 14 April 2013
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This review is from: WTF? (Kindle Edition)
I thought WTF? was great fun. Yes, it's ridiculous and improbable, but it's also witty and hilarious. Well worth £2.06 of anyone's money. Unless you're a humourless mountain goat.


Wasting Police Time: The Crazy World of the War on Crime
Wasting Police Time: The Crazy World of the War on Crime
Price: £1.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as reviews lead to believe, 1 Jan. 2013
I bought this book because I'd recently read a similar one by a different author which I enjoyed and the reviews of this led me to believe it would be good. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy Wasting Police Time. PC Copperfield's contempt for nearly everyone he interacts with is wearying, as is the rather smug retelling of his smart-aleckry. 'Underclass', 'chavs', Guardian readers', he's got an unflattering epithet for most people and it's pretty off-putting. Then he cites the Daily Mail's Peter Hitchens as an inspiration and a lot of this book became clearer.

There were some genuinely amusing moments but I have to admit that I found this book hard work to plod through. Because it's based on a blog, there's not much in the way of narrative to tie the chapters together and some of them just didn't really make much sense. I think it's something that just works better as a blog.


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