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Ladydriver (Sheffield, UK)

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RABBIT FACTORY, THE
RABBIT FACTORY, THE
by Marshall Karp
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Not zany, just excellent, 9 May 2014
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This review is from: RABBIT FACTORY, THE (Paperback)
It is unfortunate that this book’s title and cover, complete with dead-body-outline rabbit, give the impression that it is going to be a lightweight (notwithstanding the huge (600+) page count) and humorous read. Comparisons with Carl Hiaasen don’t help. These features might deter some potential readers who would enjoy what is actually a reasonably straight crime/detective tale but with levity in the telling. Indeed, almost all of the humour in the book comes from the witty banter between the protagonist, Mike Lomax, and his partner, family, colleagues and friends. The plot may progress from mildly improbable to rather over-the-top, but it’s supposed to – it’s a story written for entertainment, not the kind of grim and gritty serial killer novel that aims to turn your stomach.

Lomax and his partner, Terry Biggs, are the lucky LAPD homicide detectives who ‘catch’ the first in a series of murders targeting people associated with the entertainment mega-company that is Lamaar Studios. Someone wants to bring down the Lamaar organisation, but whom? As the lead detectives it remains their case even as the death count rises and an ever-increasing range of police and FBI resources are allocated to the investigation. The detectives do, however, have other demands on their time – Biggs has a wife and three daughters, while the recently-widowed Lomax has family issues to deal with along with a new friend (no *major* spoilers here!) who conveniently contributes a snippet to the case which leads to a fresh line of enquiry with a surprising outcome.

I thought this was a well-paced and very well-written novel with believable and realistic Good Guys and largely unpredictable plot development. I particularly appreciated the depiction of the background characters especially the fact that all the professionals were portrayed as capable, efficient, reasonable and cooperative. There were no bumbling mistake-making hicks or dodgy trouble-makers (apart from the Bad Guys, of course).

For me, the sign of an excellent author is if I buy more of his/her work immediately after reading one book. In this case, I ordered the three remaining ‘Lomax & Biggs’ novels before even finishing The Rabbit Factory. It’s that good!


Astrosaurs - 10 Book Set - RRP 49.90: Star Pirates, Planet of Peril, Hatching Horror, Mind-swap Menace, Space Ghosts, Riddle of the Raptors, Skies of Fear, Terror-bird Trap, Dino-droids & Seas of Doom (Astrosaurs)
Astrosaurs - 10 Book Set - RRP 49.90: Star Pirates, Planet of Peril, Hatching Horror, Mind-swap Menace, Space Ghosts, Riddle of the Raptors, Skies of Fear, Terror-bird Trap, Dino-droids & Seas of Doom (Astrosaurs)
by Steve Cole
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Books 1 - 10 in the Astrosaurs series, 28 Nov 2013
I picked up this box set for my son a couple of years ago when he was eight. The books are recommended for age 7+ so they should have been just about right then. For various reasons (mostly because he has so many books and we don't have a huge amount of reading time) we didn't get round to reading them until recently. Although I would say that they are most suited to a younger audience, my (now) 10 year old has enjoyed them very much and read them all one after the other.

The stories follow the adventures of the crew of the Dinosaur Space Service vessel, the DSS Sauropod, across the Jurassic Quadrant. The premise is silly, of course, but the plot and storyline of each book is sci-fi serious and the dinosaurs do find themselves in peril regularly.

I didn't have high expectations of the prose but I was very pleasantly surprised. The language used seemed designed to subtly introduce young readers to new words, common phrases and devices (e.g. alliteration). Overall the quality of the writing was excellent and the stories were entertaining and humorous as well as exciting.

Worth mentioning is the pronunciation guide for the dinosaur names at the end of each book. If you need help to say the names `compsognathus,' `coelophysis,' `quetzalcoatlus' or `rhamphorhynchus' then you know where to go!


TUPPENNY HAT DETECTIVE
TUPPENNY HAT DETECTIVE
Price: 0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Tuppeny Hat Detective, 7 Nov 2013
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I picked up this book not knowing anything about it or the author, just because it appeared in the Kindle free bestsellers list and it was set in Sheffield (where I have lived all my life). Despite the positive reviews I was a little wary that it might be one of those very-average self-published books, and so my expectations were set accordingly. To my great surprise, I found this to be an extremely well-written novel both in terms of the prose and the plot.

Young Billy Perks is unfortunate enough to be the discoverer of his recently-deceased neighbour, known as the Star Woman because of her job selling the local newspaper The Star. While the woman's death is officially determined to be an accident, Billy and his friends Yvonne and Kick are sure she was murdered and set out to find the killer. Their investigations involve a range of characters and situations that are brought vividly and realistically to life by Mr Sellars' excellent storytelling, and result in a satisfying (and rather unexpected) conclusion.

I read this book last week while on half-term break and thoroughly enjoyed it. It captured the era and the environment beautifully - as well as the Sheffield dialect! I particularly loved the setting in Walkley and around the Rivelin Valley - exactly where I now live.

My only quibbles would be that the three children seemed remarkably mature in their attitudes and behaviour and were often taken more seriously than seemed reasonable, so overall the story was a little less credible than it could have been. Especially in the first part of the book I also got the feeling that I was reading an exercise in creative writing rather than a novel - not that this was a particularly bad thing, it just felt like the author was trying a bit too hard. Once I'd got used to the writing style I didn't notice it any more. I did spot a few (really only a handful) of typos and/or spelling mistakes which detract slightly from the reading experience if you are picky like me.

I've recommended this book to a friend of mine who lived in Sheffield through the 1950s and I'm sure she will enjoy it as much as I did.

I can't give 4.5 stars so it will have to be 5.


Casio Calculator Handheld Battery Solar-power 8 Digit 3 Key Memory Wallet 70x117x8mm Ref SL300SV
Casio Calculator Handheld Battery Solar-power 8 Digit 3 Key Memory Wallet 70x117x8mm Ref SL300SV
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Basic calculator with cover, 14 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I wanted a cheap calculator for a 10-year old boy to take to school. It had to have:
a) a % key
b) a +/- (change sign) key
c) a square root key
d) a solar cell
e) a cover

This one ticked all the boxes, it was cheap and it feels decent quality. We are very happy with it!


Looking for Chet Baker: An Evan Horne Mystery (Evan Horne Series Book 5)
Looking for Chet Baker: An Evan Horne Mystery (Evan Horne Series Book 5)
Price: 0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Not a memorable story, 21 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a well-written and very professional book, but not one I found particularly engaging.

Evan Horne, jazz pianist, travels to Amsterdam to work in a local jazz club. While there he is drawn to search for a friend who seems to have disappeared from the city under mysterious circumstances. Unless it's all a game...

Not being familiar with either jazz or Amsterdam I found the story background and descriptions fairly interesting. I was less taken with the story itself, which I found drawn-out and a bit dull, and the characters who felt rather thinly-drawn and unrealistic.

I could easily put this book down and sometimes had to force myself to pick it up again (so that I could finish it and move onto something more exciting). I prefer a book that I can't leave.


Race Of Champions
Race Of Champions
Price: 1.27

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get this game to work, 19 Jun 2013
This review is from: Race Of Champions (App)
After patiently attempting to download this game several times (at least 4) it eventually completed and installed, and I hoped that we were finally getting somewhere. Unfortunately all that happened next was a few seconds of game intro and then a message which said 'Loading' with a progress bar that crawled up to about halfway and then stopped. Same thing happened every time we tried to play. Gave up and deleted it.


The Lincoln Lawyer
The Lincoln Lawyer
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, highly recommended, 14 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Lincoln Lawyer (Hardcover)
By sheer coincidence I picked up this book the day after I finished Clifford Irving's `Trial', written around 20 years earlier. At first I was struck by the similarities... a defence lawyer represents two separate defendants in two separate cases, the cases turn out to be linked, [SPOILERS] we find out that defendant #2 is actually guilty of both crimes, it's no coincidence that said lawyer is involved in both cases, lawyer has to deal with conflicts and ethical dilemmas, lawyer's life is endangered [END OF SPOILERS] and so on to a climactic ending. Even the defendants' names are similar in style - Hector Quintana/Jesus Menendez, Johnnie Faye Boudreau/Louis Ross Roulet.

The similarities between the two novels are, however, pretty superficial - the characters, plots and resolutions are quite different. I enjoyed `Trial' but `The Lincoln Lawyer' was on a whole other level. It's a rich, clever, exciting and complex story, very entertaining and beautifully written. Every page was a pleasure to read. I stayed up until past midnight last night to finish this book, and yet at the same time I didn't want it to end. I've found a new hero in Mickey Haller and I can't wait to read more of his exploits.


The Confession
The Confession
by Sheldon Siegel
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More mystery than legal thriller, 9 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Confession (Hardcover)
When I first discovered Sheldon Siegel's novels featuring Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez, I loved the legal aspects of the stories. Even though this, the fifth book in the series, is more of a whodunnit (and how- and when-dunnit) than a legal thriller, it still shines with Siegel's style, humour and cleverness.

Mike Daley is an ex-priest turned defense attorney who works in partnership with his ex-wife Rosie. Their small law firm, the staff of which has changed a little since the last book, also includes (albeit it a fairly minor role) a rather unconventional character who acts as assistant, bodyguard or receptionist as required. This book also features other recurring characters from the series including Mike's brother, ex-cop P.I. Pete, the ever-popular octogenarian P.I. Nick "the Dick" Hanson, Inspector Roosevelt Johnson, ADA Bill "McNasty" McNulty, and others.

Mike's friend and former seminary classmate, Catholic priest Father Ramon Aguirre, is arrested for the murder of Maria Concepcion, a lawyer who frequently acted for clients suing local priests and/or the San Francisco Archdiocese. Ramon calls Mike to defend him, but also has the backing of the archdiocese's legal team until a conflict of interest arises (I love how that one is dealt with!), leaving Mike and Rosie to deal with the mounting evidence.

Mike is desperate to have the charges dismissed at the preliminary hearing as any trial will ruin his friend's career. It seems, however, that the priest has been less than upfront about his relationship with Maria, and as each new piece of evidence comes to light Ramon's responses seem weaker and more excuse-like. Mike and Rosie find themselves fighting the damaging revelations on the back foot and also fighting niggling doubts about Ramon's innocence. In desperation Mike resorts to some slightly unethical tactics in the hope that Ramon can be cleared and his life and career saved.

I ordered a hardcover copy of this book from the US and I would do so again as it is a book I will keep safely and re-read. I am pleased to see it is now available on Kindle for UK readers and I recommend it wholeheartedly, although preferably if the preceding books in the series are read first. It can be read as a standalone novel but part of the pleasure of the story is appreciating the characters' behaviour and development. According to the author information on Amazon, Siegel is now working on his eighth Fernandez & Daley novel. I can't wait!


RCA/Phono Socket to SVHS/S-Video Male Connector - Gold
RCA/Phono Socket to SVHS/S-Video Male Connector - Gold
Offered by MHP Computer Services Ltd
Price: 2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars How to connect a Wii console to an old AV receiver, 23 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For complicated reasons I needed a way to connect my son's Wii to the s-video picture input on my AVR. The Wii has an RCA plug and I understand it is possible to buy a scart adaptor, but neither of these options were suitable for my setup. This little connector took the composite signal (yellow RCA plug) from the Wii and connected to the s-video input on the back of the AVR, neatly and without any significant image degradation. I am very pleased with it.


USB 2.0 A Plug to A Socket Extension Cable Hi Speed 1.8M
USB 2.0 A Plug to A Socket Extension Cable Hi Speed 1.8M
Offered by BuyOnline Cart
Price: 1.49

5.0 out of 5 stars USB Extension cable, 23 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I wasn't sure what to expect from such an inexpensive extension cable in terms of quality and performance, but I was pleasantly surprised. It seems decent and works well. I bought one each for myself and my mum, and we are both very happy with our cables.


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