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The Final Silence
The Final Silence
by Stuart Neville
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars The Final Silence, 17 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Final Silence (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
34-year-old Rea Carlisle visits the Belfast house of Raymond Drew, the uncle she barely knew, shortly after his death. In it she discovers a kind of diary containing accounts of murderous events dating back decades. Rea's father, an ambitious politician and Raymond Drew's brother-in-law, refuses to let her take the book to the police for fear of what the revelations could mean for his career. So she turns to suspended cop Jack Lennon, who's still recovering from serious injuries suffered in previous escapades in this crime fiction series.

Lee Child calls it "exceptional", the Metro says it's "breathlessly paced", the Daily Mirror reckons Neville is "a master at work" and Val McDermid believes that he's "terrifyingly authentic". Personally I found THE FINAL SILENCE to be a decent novel, I quite liked it, but it still lacks that special edge of Neville's debut novel The Twelve which I would recommend above this. It's better than just par-for-the-course, but without the supernatural elements drawn so well in the first Neville tale this has to go down as slightly disappointing.


The Secret Place
The Secret Place
by Tana French
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars French's Best Yet - and probably the most talked-about book of the year, 14 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Secret Place (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In Tana French's fifth novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series, a murder has been committed on the grounds of St Kilda's private girls' high school, and over the course of just 15 hours main character Detective Stephen Moran - who normally specialises in cold cases - works for the first time alongside the tough and uncompromising Detective Antoinette Conway to find the killer. Half of the tale is told in the first-person (Moran) in the present day here-and-now, and all of the alternate chapters are told in the third-person in the months leading up to the killing a year earlier. Conway played the leading role at the time of the original police investigation but could not find so much as a motive, let alone a suspect. The case had drifted towards unsolved when, out of the blue, a 16-year-old girl walks into the city police station and asks for Detective Moran, because she has something that might help find out who did it. That girl is Holly Mackey, daughter of undercover cop Frank Mackey, who previously featured in The Likeness and Faithful Place and who has a superb cameo in The Secret Place. Moran and Conway race off to St Kilda's to interview all of the possible suspects again, this time adopting Moran's different and less confrontational style (compared to Conway's) that gets the girls talking more freely than a year earlier. The problem is, hardly anyone seems to be telling the truth....

No hesitation - this is one of the best novels I have read over the past 10 years or more. Wonderful prose, exquisite character and relationship development, outstanding dialogue, and not so much a whodunit as a 'whydunit'. Why would anyone want to kill the victim? All is revealed, but I doubt that many readers will predict the exact motive. The narrative and in particular the dialogue is relentlessly 'teenspeak' with more than a few ohmyGods, likes (this is, like, such a good book!) and the occasional hello? as a way of showing another person that they're stupid. While it is absolutely about teenage girls from start to finish, I can't say with any degree of comfort that the book itself is suitable reading material for girls (or boys) in that age group. It's not just the frequent use of strong language and expletives, rather it's the underlying theme of the story itself. This is a tale for adults, in my opinion.

For me this is the best yet from Tana French, and better yet it's one of the best-written works of crime fiction I have read - ever. I expect this to be one of the top-selling novels of 2014.

500 pages isn't long enough when the writing is as good as this. There can be no doubt that Tana French and her team put a lot of heart and soul into writing The Secret Place, not to mention plain hard work. It's all about the journey, not the destination, even though the conclusion is absolutely as good as all that had gone before. If I had to think of a criticism, it's the supernatural sub-theme that was - for different reasons - a flaw in her previous novel Broken Harbour. I won't go into details but it was, again, a fascinating element that was left curiously unfinished. I simply did not want this story to end.

The Secret Place deserves to be referred to as THE novel of the year, one that you really should not hesitate to buy. Just get it - it's superb in every way.


Redemption (Department Q 3)
Redemption (Department Q 3)
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Another Jussi read, 2 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the third in the Danish crime fiction series built mainly upon the characters of Detective Inspector Carl Mørck and his Syrian assistant Assad, who work cold/unsolved cases. I read the first one (Mercy) which I thought was very good, somehow missed the second one (Disgrace) but snapped this one up when I was looking for something decent to read. It did not disappoint, even if it was a bit long at over 600 pages.

The translator has been changed, I notice, from Tiina Nunnally - who is American and female - to Martin Aitken, who is Danish and male. It's three years since I read Mercy but I think the translation plays a strong part in Redemption's appeal, because much of the humour and language is distinctly British in style and effect. The same attempt has been made by translators of Jo Nesbo's novels (mainly Don Bartlett I believe) and with less success. I think this is because Nesbo's front-man Harry Hole doesn't really suit this kind of humour whereas Carl Mørck does. Anyway hats off to Martin Aitken for doing a convincing job at entertaining a British reading audience.

If there's a flaw in Redemption, it's the contrasting styles of writing when the narrative switches from Carl Mørck to the un-named (or multi-named) bad guy. It almost feels as if there are two authors. When Carl Mørck is on the page, the writing is generally light in nature and, with able support from Assad, Yrsa and Rose, you're waiting for the next moment of humour, of which there is an abundance. Then the next chapter might switch to the killer/kidnapper, and it's a very different atmosphere indeed. I think this matters because the killer is highly organised, plans for every possible setback and plans everything in meticulous detail; this means that his nemesis - Carl Mørck - will need to be equally intelligent if not more so in order to catch him. The flaw, therefore, is that Carl Mørck comes over as being a bit grumpy, not a world away from being burned out and rarely if ever displaying any moments of investigative genius. In fact, many of the key breakthroughs in the investigation are made by this somewhat eccentric sidekick Assad and one or other of Yrsa or Rose (who are sisters). When I think of some of the leading law-enforcement characters in literary or TV crime fiction - such as the aforementioned Harry Hole, or Harry Bosch, or maybe those of years past such as Colombo or Poirot, it's not hard to see how they solve cases as they have that indefinable X-factor that gives you belief in them. Carl Mørck doesn't have that, and it's becoming clear that in many ways he depends on his motley crew of a back-up team who collectively come across as funny rather than ruthless cops. Still, it makes for good reading.

The character of the killer is well-drawn and most readers will have no difficulty in disliking him intensely - which matters, of course. The story is a little far-fetched though, not least the fact that Carl Mørck managed to track the killer down in the first place (depending heavily on the finding of a bottle in fishermen's nets off Scotland some years earlier) but it's best not to labour on those improbabilities and just enjoy the writing, which is easy on the eye and often answers any questions you might have yourself, or reminds you of details you had forgotten from hundreds of pages earlier.

You don't need to read the two previous novels in the series, although I do recommend Mercy. I liked Redemption, it won't win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction but it's a good read and well worth your time if crime fiction is your thing.


Black & Decker STC1820CM-GB 18V Lithium Strimmer with Lawm Mower Deck Attachment
Black & Decker STC1820CM-GB 18V Lithium Strimmer with Lawm Mower Deck Attachment
Price: £132.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars False economy, 1 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a strimmer that wants to be a lawnmower as well, and while on the face of it that's what it is, when it comes to mowing the lawn it's really not that good at all. Yes, it's handy to have no cable to fiddle with or trip over, but that's about the only benefit. As a strimmer it's very good.

Before this arrived I was using two separate products - a Flymo electric mower and a Bosch strimmer. This Black & Decker STC1820CM-GB gave me the impression, before I used it, that it could replace both. That has not turned out to be the case. I quite like the strimmer, mainly because it uses a spool and line instead of replacement blades. There's not much in it but I think I prefer the Black & Decker - just. However I doubt that many people would buy this purely for use as a strimmer, and it's in the mowing department that its weaknesses become very quickly apparent. Even for mowing a small lawn, this just doesn't cut it. Well...okay, it DOES cut it, but it takes ages and I found myself having to go over the same patch again and again until the grass did get cut. Compared to the Flymo electric mower (which I think cost a fair bit less) it is unimpressive and quite frustrating.

Its USP might be its ability to cut your lawn without any electric cables, and for some this could be very handy, but in my case I am unconcerned and more interested in a fast, efficient cut.

I'm left with the conclusion that my earlier two purchases - a separate mower and strimmer - remain the best option. The Black & Decker machine lays claim to do both but really it's only any good as a strimmer. I cannot really recommend it unless a cable-free environment is important to the user.


Sony GTK-N1BT 100W Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with Club Bass AM/FM Radio USB Port
Sony GTK-N1BT 100W Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with Club Bass AM/FM Radio USB Port
Offered by Electrical Discount UK
Price: £185.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The best wireless Bluetooth speaker I have tried, 1 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first thing you need to know about this speaker is its size and weight : It's big and it's heavy. Before it arrived I had no previous knowledge of this, and I think I laughed out loud when the delivery guy handed it to me at my front door. This is because only a few months ago I bought what I HAD thought was a similar kind of product - a single, mono, wireless Bluetooth speaker - and it isn't much bigger than a TV remote control. But the Sony GTK-N1BT is nothing like that at all - it's 62cm by 35cm x 28cm, and its boxed weight is 10kg with a net 'actual' weight of a fraction under 9kg (I know because I weighed it).

But in the world of loudspeakers, size most definitely matters, and this speaker benefits emphatically. It is, of course, only a single speaker so all musical reproduction is single-channel mono, and given this compromise (compared to a conventional stereo pair) it does a more than decent job at entertaining the listener and of course most evidently in the low frequency bass department. It has generous levels of energy and is quite simply in a different league to anything I have used before - although it can hardly be described as convenient or portable. It's likely to be placed in the same position on a long-term basis.

Pairing with a mobile phone proved quick and easy.

There is an FM radio included with wire antenna. The title of the product here on Amazon (as of 01-08-14) suggests that there is an AM radio too, but I can find no mention of it in the instructions, and when flicking between input functions on the remote control, there is likewise no mention of AM at all - just FM. The supplied remote control comes with 2 AA batteries.

In summary this is a solid, well-made loudspeaker that isn't as portable as the promotional blurb would have you believe (hence my 4-star rating), but the most important plus-point is that it sounds very good. If you have the space, you'll like everything about it.


aLLreli® Portable Power Bank with Stand Black | 2 in 1 kit | Multi-Angle Stand + 7800mAh Dual USB External Battery Pack Backup Smart Charger for Tablets 7-10 inch, E-readers and Smartphones Compatible for Apple iPads, iPad Air, iPad Mini Mini 2, iPod, iPhone 5 5S 5C 4S 4 3GS; Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Tab 3, Note 8.0 10.1 2014 Edition, Note 3, Note2, Galaxy S5, S4, S3, S2; Google Nexus 4,5,7,10; Asus EeePad Transformer; HTC One; LG Optimus 4X HD, I7; Nokia Lumia; Sony Xperia Z, Google Glass
aLLreli® Portable Power Bank with Stand Black | 2 in 1 kit | Multi-Angle Stand + 7800mAh Dual USB External Battery Pack Backup Smart Charger for Tablets 7-10 inch, E-readers and Smartphones Compatible for Apple iPads, iPad Air, iPad Mini Mini 2, iPod, iPhone 5 5S 5C 4S 4 3GS; Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Tab 3, Note 8.0 10.1 2014 Edition, Note 3, Note2, Galaxy S5, S4, S3, S2; Google Nexus 4,5,7,10; Asus EeePad Transformer; HTC One; LG Optimus 4X HD, I7; Nokia Lumia; Sony Xperia Z, Google Glass
Offered by ForPower(aLLreli TM)
Price: £49.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Versatile, well-made and above all very useful, 9 July 2014
This product was supplied for review purposes by the manufacturer.

It has been used with an Apple iPad, a Kindle HD and several smartphones. As a stand for the iPad it just about works but it's probably not an ideal partnership as the iPad is a little too big and there is a clear risk of damage if the iPad were to fall off (which it could). Much better matches in terms of physical dimensions would be the Kindle or, I would guess, an iPad Mini. Perhaps the best combination is with any smartphone for which horizontal or vertical application is equally suitable.

It's very useful as a back-up battery. Taking this and your phone - both fully charged - should give you several hours of continuous outdoor use; once your phone's battery has gone flat you connect the phone to the aLLreli PBB with the short cable and re-charge - and a full re-charge won't use up all of the power so you could do it again. Equally, if you have a laptop you can re-charge the PPB via your laptop's USB outlet. This is what I have been doing on a daily basis for a couple of months now, and I have found this product to be useful to the point of being almost indispensible.

The instruction leaflet was difficult to read (print very small) but in all fairness it's a product that you will learn to get the best out of my simple intuition. The charging cable could be said to be inconveniently short (less than a foot long) but I actually prefer it as it is, as it's easy to store and in fact I tend to leave it connected to the PBB at all times so it doesn't get lost.

I definitely like it and plan to continue to use it every day.


MegaRed Extra Strength Krill Oil - Pack of 40 Tablets
MegaRed Extra Strength Krill Oil - Pack of 40 Tablets
Price: £14.07

4.0 out of 5 stars Okiami helps the Japanese live longer than anyone, 26 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
They call this life-form 'okiami' in Japan, a nation with the longest average life-expectancy in the world. And there's plenty of it; all the krill in the world collectively weigh more than all the people in the world, and krill can boast of having the largest single animal biomass on the planet.

Krill oil, like fish oil, contains omega-3 fats such as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). However, in fish oil, these omega-3 fats are found in the triglyceride form. I have a personal interest/concern with triglyceride levels and I was reassured to learn that supplementing my diet with krill oil can regulate genes in the liver and influence the production of glucose, fat and cholesterol metabolism.

I have been taking cod liver oil capsules for many years and I am convinced that this daily habit has been of benefit to my health. But I believe krill oil is an even better option for most people, for several reasons. I particularly appreciate the fact that the omega-3 is attached to phospholipids that dramatically increase its absorption, especially into brain tissue. High-quality fish oils are certainly great products with many important health benefits but fish oil is weak in antioxidant content, whereas krill oil contains potent antioxidants - apparently the antioxidant potency of krill oil is 48 times more potent than fish oil.

Its only drawback is that it does not contain more than a trace of vitamin D, which is nearly as important as omega-3 fats. You can remedy this however, by making sure you're getting plenty of appropriate sun exposure as that is your best source of vitamin D anyway.

As far as supplements are concerned, two of the best yet simplest ways to improve your overall health include:

Increasing your intake of antioxidants
Increasing your intake of omega-3 oils

And krill oil accomplishes both of those missions.

Krill has been shown to be beneficial for a really wide range of health issues, including:

Support for concentration, memory, and learning
Blood sugar health
Healthy joints, with an increase in joint comfort
Fighting signs of aging
Protection for cell membranes
Cholesterol and other blood lipid health
Healthy liver function
Relief of normal PMS symptoms
Bolstering your immune system
Healthy mood support
Optimal skin health

I'd give it 5 stars but have to mark it down on the basis of cost - it's just too expensive and I believe not for any convincingly justifiable reason. Let's not forget that it has been the basic source of food for aquarium fish for decades, and as a bait for catching the likes of tuna and bream; it's only relatively recently that the idea of making it a food supplement for human consumption has been tried out. At present the best value of the three options is the 40-capsule box, and at current prices each 500mg capsule costs about 27p; compare that with a mainstream product like Seven Seas One A Day Pure Cod Liver Oil 120 capsules - which cost about 5p each for a similar-sized capsule, and you can see that Krill Oil is effectively 5 times the price. At the moment the jury's out as to whether krill oil is 5 times better but there are, it would seem, factual arguments in favour of its antioxidant properties, so I'm not really comparing like with like. It does seem pricey though.

I can confirm that there is no fishy odour or aftertaste, in fact they smell rather pleasant.


MegaRed Original Krill Oil - Pack of 60 Tablets
MegaRed Original Krill Oil - Pack of 60 Tablets
Price: £14.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 48 Times Better Than Fish Oil, 24 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Krill oil is made from krill, a small, shrimp-like crustacean that inhabits the cold ocean areas of the world. Despite their small size, krill make up the largest animal biomass on the planet. There are approximately 500 million tons of krill roaming around in northern seas.

The antioxidant potency of krill oil is 48 times more potent than fish oil.

Krill oil, like fish oil, contains omega-3 fats such as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). However, in fish oil, these omega-3 fats are found in the triglyceride form. I have a personal interest/concern with triglyceride levels and I was reassured to learn that supplementing my diet with krill oil can regulate genes in the liver and influence the production of glucose, fat and cholesterol metabolism.

I have been taking cod liver oil capsules for many years and I am convinced that this daily habit has been of benefit to my health. But I believe krill oil is an even better option for most people, for several reasons. I particularly appreciate the fact that the omega-3 is attached to phospholipids that dramatically increase its absorption, especially into brain tissue. High-quality fish oils are certainly great products with many important health benefits but fish oil is weak in antioxidant content, whereas krill oil contains potent antioxidants.

Its only drawback is that it does not contain more than a trace of vitamin D, which is nearly as important as omega-3 fats. You can remedy this however, by making sure you're getting plenty of appropriate sun exposure as that is your best source of vitamin D anyway.

As far as supplements are concerned, two of the best yet simplest ways to improve your overall health include:

Increasing your intake of antioxidants
Increasing your intake of omega-3 oils

And krill oil accomplishes both of those missions.

Krill has been shown to be beneficial for a really wide range of health issues, including:

Support for concentration, memory, and learning
Blood sugar health
Healthy joints, with an increase in joint comfort
Fighting signs of aging
Protection for cell membranes
Cholesterol and other blood lipid health
Healthy liver function
Relief of normal PMS symptoms
Bolstering your immune system
Healthy mood support
Optimal skin health

I'm not replacing the cod-liver oil with krill oil, rather I have chosen to take both.


Ultrasport Fort Lauderdale Collection Men's Longsleeve Pensacola
Ultrasport Fort Lauderdale Collection Men's Longsleeve Pensacola
Price: £59.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Expensive, 24 Jun 2014
At the time of writing (June 2014) this polo shirt is priced at just under sixty quid and I just cannot see any valid reason for that. The product is quite good but really nothing special, and I have purchased similar quality for a quarter of the price.

The sample I have is rated XL but it's closer to L by my reckoning.

If the price tag is of no concern then this is fine, but if it is - keep looking.


Kingston SDHC Class 4 Secure Digital (SDHC) SD Memory Card 16 GB - Frustration Free Packaging
Kingston SDHC Class 4 Secure Digital (SDHC) SD Memory Card 16 GB - Frustration Free Packaging
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding value, moderate performance, 24 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's not the first Kingston SD memory card I've used but it is the biggest in terms of capacity. Being a Class 4 type there's a 4 MB/sec minimum data transfer rate making it best suited to still-image storage. If you get a card that’s slower than Class 10, you won’t be able to shoot 1080p video, which most video cameras are equipped to do nowadays.

Great value and best for point-and-shoot cameras, secure too with built-in write-protect switch preventing accidental data loss


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