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Dr Garry (Annandale, NSW Australia)

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City of Dreadful Night (The Brighton Trilogy)
City of Dreadful Night (The Brighton Trilogy)
Price: £4.31

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The author is simply a bad writer. He has no talent for plot, 24 Jun. 2016
The author is simply a bad writer. He has no talent for plot, character, or nuance. This book -- one in a trilogy that should have been strangled at birth -- is beyond confusing, ill-thought out, and simply inept.

He is the crime fiction critic for a UK newspaper, and should have stayed there. His ill-fated foray into fiction is a cardinal lesson that being a a critic gives you no cred as a author.

Peter: Stick with being a critic. Your novels, including your ham-fisted Carry-On comic novels, are appalling. Please. Go home, pour yourself a whisky, put your feet up, stop writing, and spare the rest of us from your mediocre drebbidge.


Broken Harbour: Dublin Murder Squad:  4
Broken Harbour: Dublin Murder Squad: 4
by Tana French
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded, tedious, and featuring her trademark detestable characters, 20 Dec. 2015
In every novel, the author makes a point of including one detestable character whom the author decides we should sympathise with. I have no idea why.

This book would have made a grand short story. Broken Harbour is long-winded and tedious. Any decent editor would have cut back every single scene in half, if not more. But it seems the author has no decent editor, so she is given carte blance to blather interminably. You will miss nothing if you read every third page.


Faithful Place: Dublin Murder Squad:  3
Faithful Place: Dublin Murder Squad: 3
by Tana French
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The lead character is repulsive. As told in the ..., 12 Dec. 2015
The lead character is repulsive. As told in the first person of that character, the lead can barely restrain himself from belting the living daylights out of almost everyone he encounters. The author loves her protagonist, and applauds his restraint. In my opinion, the protagonist, and possibly his creator, might do well to seek psychiatric advice; if not incarceration, to protect us all.

This is a book for readers who live lives of desperate rage. At last they have a hero they can relate to.


Bonaparte (Wordsworth Military Library)
Bonaparte (Wordsworth Military Library)
by Correlli Barnett
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Snide biography of a great general, 7 April 2013
I have enjoyed some of Mr Barnett's other books, but this one is much too snide. The author revels in Napoleon's faults, and he refuses to acknowledge his virtues and accomplishments. To the author, Napoleon can do no right: his battles are won in spite of his incompetence (!), by sheer dumb luck or accident, or because he was fighting an idiot. In some cases the author implies that a battle was won precisely because of some heinous personality defect. No matter the situation, the author can always find a reason to fault Napoleon. In short, a bizarrely distorted work.


Fallen Stars: Tragic Lives and Lost Careers
Fallen Stars: Tragic Lives and Lost Careers
by Julian Upton
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tattle-tale book, 15 May 2012
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A short work of gossipy tattle-tale. Buy it if you want to fill in some of the biographical holes of your favourite 1940s-1980s British stars that you can't find on Wikipedia. But you won't hear a good word about them, which-- I suppose-- is the whole point of the book.


The Variety of Life: A Survey and a Celebration of all the Creatures that Have Ever Lived
The Variety of Life: A Survey and a Celebration of all the Creatures that Have Ever Lived
by Colin Tudge
Edition: Paperback
Price: £29.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful and entertaining survey, 15 May 2012
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I love this book to death.

One of my hobbies is phylogenetics, studying the relationships between living things. Ok, I should get out more. I return to this book again and again, even though it represents the state of knowledge from, say, 1995. The amount of information in this book is simply enormous. Tudge lays out and describes all the divisions of life, with many examples, and he does so with great clarity, at each step showing how our current classification system works; and why organisms are classifed as they are. Perhaps a quarter of the book is a clear exposition of biological principles, describing, for example, what triploblasts are, and why triploblasty is an important evolutionary and classificatory division.

I'm not a biologist, and I found the book very accessible. I would recommend it to anyone interested in biology. I suggest you read it in conjunction with The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life.


Modern Architectural Theory: A Historical Survey, 1673-1968
Modern Architectural Theory: A Historical Survey, 1673-1968
by Harry Francis Mallgrave
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £105.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive but dry and dreary, 15 May 2012
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This is the book every PhD student and researcher in architectural history should have. A weighty tome indeed and an excellent reference work for checking up on those factoids just outside your thesis' area. But dry as a corpse's dust.


Heston Blumenthal at Home
Heston Blumenthal at Home
by Heston Blumenthal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant man, but, 15 May 2012
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I admire Heston above all other chefs because he is a scientist, basing much of his work on my food guru Harold McGee. When Heston says do X, you know there is a bucket of research behind his statement, as opposed to someone saying "Stir clockwise for 20 minutes" for no discernable reason.

This is not a quick-meals book. Many of his recipes, such as his thrice-cooked chips, require many steps and much time. He also requires you to have quite an armoury of equipment, including several types of thermometer. I have no problem with that: most items are not expensive. I'll also ignore the times you are meant to procure dry ice.

I do take issue with two requirements. First, many of the recipes in this book are for sous vide cooking, which means you have to go out and buy a rather expensive piece of kit; which will make your space-hogging microwave oven look minuscule by comparison. Second, many other recipes require oven cooking at very low temperatures, ones that no ordinary oven can maintain. The lowest temp my oven gets to is 120 C (somewhat above boiling point). Heston often requires you to cook at 80 C or so-- can't be done.

So hat's off to Heston for his dedication to food science, and for his many insights into food chemistry; but don't expect to actually be making many of the recipes in this book until low-temp ovens and cheap sous vide machines are available
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 6, 2012 12:28 PM BST


Mr Carry On: The Life and Work of Peter Rogers
Mr Carry On: The Life and Work of Peter Rogers
by Moira Bright
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An apologetic that isn't, 20 April 2012
This book is about Peter Rogers, the producer of the many Carry On films. I'd recommend it to any Carry On fan, if only to get Rogers' take on things.

The book apparently was made as an apologetic for the late Mr Rogers, an 'authorised' bio, intended to make Rogers look as good as possible; after decades of rumours that he had spent his life screwing as much money out of the Carry On films and his actors as possible.

I can only imagine that the authors relied on Rogers oblivious self-centerdness to get the manuscript past him. In anecdote after anecdote, Rogers is shown as wildly over-retaliating at anything threatening his money stream. At every turn Rogers is portrayed as a victim: he fires Charles Hawtrey "He was holding me to ransom!". No: Hawtrey was a sad conflicted drunk, but he certainly was not threatening Rogers' millions. When Rogers found that Bernard Bresslaw could not ride a motorcycle, Rogers is quoted as threatening to fire him, "He said he could ride a bike!" when Bresslaw thought that Rogers meant a bicycle: Rogers' reaction was that Breslaw had viciously lied to him. No. Bresslaw had simply misunderstood him.

This book is an exercise in sustained irony. I imagine the authors saying to themselves "Rogers is a complete *****, but he's paying us bucks to write this thing to make him look good. Fortunately, we can say anything we like, since he is completely tone-deaf. A paragraph that he considers praise, all our readers will read as the actions of a complete *********. Ok, so let's go for it.


Fox Evil
Fox Evil
by Minette Walters
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another let-down, 25 April 2010
This review is from: Fox Evil (Paperback)
I've read several of Ms Walter's novels, and most seem to be complete let-downs. I appreciate she's a competent writer, but her plotting is abysmal. In this novel, there is no suspence, and almost no crime.

Her police detectives are interchangeable, not only between novels, but within them. Reginald Hill, for example, creates full-bodied police characters. In Ms Walter's novels, they are ciphers.

And I'm getting wierded out by Ms Walter's preoccupation with child abuse. All her novels I have read involve child abuse, either the victim's, the killer's, or even minor characters. Is she trying to tell us something? In this case, the whole novel seems to be a vehicle for her preoccupation.

I would love to like Ms Walter's novels, but can't.


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