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JJ Toner "JJ Toner" (Co Wicklow, IE)

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The Cunning Man: A Hippo Yeoman anthology
The Cunning Man: A Hippo Yeoman anthology
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read!, 15 April 2015
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This is a short story collection of the highest quality. The stories are set in the 39th year of Queen Elizabeth's reign, 1597. The cunning man in question is an apothecary, a farmer, a coroner and a part-time crime solver, an impecunious soul who never seems to be paid for anything he does. He has a wicked sense of humour and a keen eye. Many wonderful words are used, many (like twiddlepoop) that haven't seen the light of day for years, and many delightful turns of phrase. The book is freckled with clickable notations explaining how each story was constructed. I had no truck with this, preferring to read the stories and enjoy them for what they are. What would one learn of the sewing art by unpicking the stitches of a beautiful tapestry? I ask. nonetheless, the academic qualifications of the author must leave little doubt that his instructions would be well-informed!


Anti-Soviet Activities: A Pyotr Kirov Detective Novel
Anti-Soviet Activities: A Pyotr Kirov Detective Novel
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Writing., 14 April 2015
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Jim Williams writes prose to die for. While I'm reading his work I feel like I'm learning from a master. I hope to write this good some day myself. The main character is a KGB agent adjusting to changing circumstances during the period of perestroika and glasnost, when Gorbachov was in power. It is the second of two novels featuring this agent. I would have given it 5 stars - the writing is exquisite - but I found the plot of this one a tad difficult to follow.


Endings: Dystopian Post Apocalyptic Zombie Thriller (Parables From The Apocalypse Book 1)
Endings: Dystopian Post Apocalyptic Zombie Thriller (Parables From The Apocalypse Book 1)
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Zombies par excellence, 3 Mar. 2015
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Excellent stuff. The narrative is delivered in short chapters that appear almost as individual short stories, as the tale builds. I'm not one for supernatural stuff, usually, and this is my first zombie book. I enjoyed it - if that's the right word. I can't compare it to others as this is the only one I've read, but it was well written and the world-building was achieved without any unnecessary exposition. Recommended.


Farewell to Russia: A Pyotr Kirov Detective Novel
Farewell to Russia: A Pyotr Kirov Detective Novel
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A consummate spy story, 3 Mar. 2015
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A modern spy story told by an author with consummate skill. The main character, Peter Kirov, is a KBG agent of the modern era faced with a potential nuclear disaster in the frozen north of Russia. The quality of Mr Williams's writing compares favourably with John le Carré, the undisputed king of the cold war spy story. If I had a quibble it would be the use of so many Finnish place names, all difficult tongue-twisters impossible to keep track of. An excellent thriller, told with panache and calm charm. Highly recommended: Five stars.


The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future
The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future
Price: £4.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, 16 Feb. 2015
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Chilling projection of what future commentators will say of our failure to halt the progress of climate change in time to save the planet. The emphasis is on explaining the reasons why the various attempts failed, in the language of a scientific treatise. I think the content will be quite inaccessible to simple souls (like me). I would like it to have included a lot more detail about the direct results of climate change. There are isolated hints - just an odd sentence or two - but not enough. (A drop in global population to 500m, plagues of insects and rampant disease, mass migrations from areas of the world uninhabitable due to desertification or inundation by rising sea levels etc.). What we need are direct projections/predictions of the future that we face if mankind is to have any hope of limiting the damage. Sadly, it's already too late to reverse the substantive phenomenon of severe climate change and its consequences.


NUN TOO SOON: 1 (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery)
NUN TOO SOON: 1 (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery)
by Alice Loweecey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.15

4.0 out of 5 stars Great detective!, 10 Feb. 2015
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I love this ex-nun and her entourage! Lively writing, good dialogue, what more could you ask for? I've read the first 2 books featuring this detective, missed the third. This is the fourth and I understand there's another one in the pipeline. Can't wait!


Freak
Freak
by Jennifer Hillier
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant sequel, 10 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Freak (Mass Market Paperback)
Brilliant sequel to Jennifer's debut novel, Creep. My only quibble is that I think it would be difficult to read this as a stand alone. I recommend it wholeheartedly, but suggest reading Creep first. Can't wait for Jennifer's next book. JJ


Creep
Creep
Price: £3.59

5.0 out of 5 stars First rate debut, 10 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Creep (Kindle Edition)
This is an excellent debut novel by a new star of crime fiction writing. Highly recommended. JJ


Million Dollar Outlines (Million Dollar Writing Series)
Million Dollar Outlines (Million Dollar Writing Series)
by David Farland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.33

4.0 out of 5 stars A Plotting Masterclass, 23 Jan. 2015
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A plotting masterclass. One of the best instructional books on my shelf. I am not a fan of the word 'trope' and all that goes with it, Vogler's classification of character types. I skipped that chapter. The rest of the book is a treasure trove of ideas for plotting fiction.


The Assassin Who Couldn't Dance
The Assassin Who Couldn't Dance
Price: £1.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rip-roaring roller coaster, 14 Dec. 2014
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This is a rip-roaring roller coaster of a book with lots of emotional charge and first rate action scenes. I'm no expert, but it seems strong on modern weaponry and military operating procedures. The payback scenes at the end were well done. The plot was a tad convoluted for me, though.


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