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Reviews Written by
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England)
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A Few Words For The Dead
A Few Words For The Dead
by Guy Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Shining through, 21 May 2015
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“The Rain Soaked Bride” left us on a bit of a cliff-hanger and this picks up where it leaves off. Clown Service operative is on the run in Europe with his own bride and in the UK August Shining is in real trouble with a mysterious assassin and the Intelligence Community both after him. Quite a bit of Cold War backstory here where we learn about Shining and his handling of an agent with unique powers. The past eventually catches up with the present and many story threads come together.

I did enjoy this, it was clever and helped fill in a lot of background to the characters. This is more a Shining story then a Toby story, but it shows why Shining has the reputation that he does and puts the Clown Service into perspective. This does not go soft on some of the more unpleasant stuff and no character is safe from some of the repercussions.


Dave vs. the Monsters: Emergence (David Hooper 1) (David Hooper Trilogy 1)
Dave vs. the Monsters: Emergence (David Hooper 1) (David Hooper Trilogy 1)
by John Birmingham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Here be monsters, 20 May 2015
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An oil rig goes deeper than ever before and unleashes a horde of orc like monsters into our world. A hung-over and overweight middle aged safety worker manages to kill one and becomes transformed into a super strength monster killer.

John Birmingham has written some great books, the After America trilogy was exceptional, clever and exciting. His books to date have been alternative futures but very well written and exploring some surprisingly in-depth themes. This one is different and it feels like the author has decided to be less serious and just have fun. His lead character is a bit of an unlikable oaf and even by the end of the book we are still not sure if we actually have warmed to him. I can see that part of the story is his transformation but it doesn't really kick in during this book. The depth and thought we have seen in his previous novels is not overly present here, in a fairly straight story of unleashed monsters, the battles with humans and the introduction of Super-Dave and his newly found abilities and appetite.

It's okay but I did feel it lacked something to lift it above other books that are similar to this. It just felt it was a little simplistic and linear and actually needed the intelligence that normally John Birmingham puts into his books.


The Rain-Soaked Bride
The Rain-Soaked Bride
by Guy Adams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars More fun with the Clown Service team, 18 May 2015
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This review is from: The Rain-Soaked Bride (Paperback)
The follow on from The Clown Service about a small team within British Intelligence that deal with the weird stuff. Much like Ben Aaronovitch excellent “Rivers of London” series that deals with a small Met team doing the same thing. Both series are fun reading.

A top secret meeting with the South Koreans is under threat from a supernatural killer, so the Clown Service are drafted in to provide additional security. Trouble is there may be a traitor and how do you stop a supernatural killer?

Strong on character and with a gentle wit, this is good stuff. The main character we are supposed to relate to is Toby Green, recent recruit to the Clown Service, but it is his boss August Shining and his sister that are the more entertaining.

This is less complex than the original book, and is mainly set in the one location. But it is the depth of characters and wit that permeates the book and makes it so enjoyable. It kind of leaves a bit of a cliff-hanger so I found myself buying and reading the follow up straight away.


The Lascar's Dagger: Book 1 of The Forsaken Lands
The Lascar's Dagger: Book 1 of The Forsaken Lands
by Glenda Larke
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars solid fantasy fun, 18 May 2015
Have to say I enjoyed this, a fun fantasy that doesn’t take itself overly seriously.
Saker is a priest but also a spy for his religious leader. He has the skills but a slightly immature attitude that usually ends up with him getting into a fair bit of trouble. A sneaky look into a warehouse causes him to bump into another interloper, a lascar sailor. And somehow Saker ends up with the sailor’s dagger and that dagger seems to have a mind of its own.
But this is Saker’s story as we follow him on the task set by his boss to be a spiritual advisor to a Prince and Princess but Saker is not aware of the danger he may be in. All the while we readers know that the dagger will eventually come more into play!
It’s fun with some engaging characters and even when you know where the plot is going, you kind of sit back and just enjoy the ride. I liked the balance the author got here, the politics, the religious aspect, the world view and some entertaining characters. A couple of times I had the fear it might veer into areas of romance (“shudder”) but luckily it stopped just short.
I ordered the follow up book straight after finishing this so that is a pretty good sign I liked it.


The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Too many damaged people, 18 May 2015
This review is from: The Girl on the Train (Hardcover)
I was expecting to enjoy this a lot more than I did. I think the trouble was that it is packed full of damaged characters and it was very hard to either like or emphasise with them. From memory the main character’s landlady was the only positive character!

Anyway, girl on train sees same people as her train makes a regular stop at the signals. And one day she sees something that is “wrong” and from that basic premise we unravel her story and those she interacts with. As murder and mayhem ensues it felt that too much effort was put into the various “broken” characters and twists but it needed a blend of normal behaviours and people.

It is not a bad first book but tries a little too hard to be the next “Gone Girl” without just wanting to be a clever thriller.


Alien: River of Pain (Novel #3)
Alien: River of Pain (Novel #3)
by Christopher Golden
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Bridging the gap, 18 May 2015
The third in a trilogy of books set around the first two Alien films. This is set very firmly between the first two films and deals with the colonists on LV-426 who are terraforming blissfully unaware of the dangers on the planet. There are some (unnecessary) touch-points with Ripley but in the main this is the story of the colony and, of course, Newt.

It’s not bad, despite you knowing where and how it ends. Of course knowing the underlying fate dies ruin some of your personal investment in the individuals but this does fill in the blanks and try to put some personalities in those on the planet. I did enjoy this, it did fill in some gaps in the Alien story although it was odd reading a story to which you already knew the end.


iGadgitz IGX-450S Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Lightweight Stereo Sports In-ear Earphones Headphones (Music streaming and Microphone with Noise Reduction for Hands free Calling) with Case - Black/Neon Green
iGadgitz IGX-450S Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Lightweight Stereo Sports In-ear Earphones Headphones (Music streaming and Microphone with Noise Reduction for Hands free Calling) with Case - Black/Neon Green
Offered by iGadgitz
Price: £29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, 15 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Quite an attractive pair of buds and presented in a tidy little case. They do the job well and i liked the sound quality and the fact they sit comfortably in the ears (it comes with a selection of tips.

Bluetooth functionality is good, can be paired to up to two devices, controls initially take a bit of getting used to, but then become easy to use.

They do what you would want them to, and pretty well i would have to say.


Terminus
Terminus
by Adam Baker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Doomed, 14 May 2015
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This review is from: Terminus (Paperback)
Number three in Adam Baker’s somewhat grim series. Number four has also recently been released.
The series is based on a kind of end of world scenario where people are infected by alien spores that have a bit of a hive mind. Humans are being hunted now and there is not much sign of hope. As the books progress mankind is more and more on the back-foot and we are given different perspectives on the out-break, the link to the books is the outbreak, not the characters that change from book to book. In Terminus an over-run New York has been nuked in a desperate attempt to slow or destroy the infection but it is discovered that a key bunch of scientists may be surviving in the subway system. A disparate team is sent in to try and find them and or recover any key research. And, of course, things do not go well.
There is an undercurrent in these books that mankind is doomed so you feel that there will not be a miracle cure or a resolution, you are watching the death of humanity. And that becomes the series weakness, as a reader you have no hope or expectation that anything you are reading will make a difference, so your view becomes “when” and not “if”.
Having said that, this is full of action and tension and delivers well.


Eagles at War: (Eagles of Rome 1)
Eagles at War: (Eagles of Rome 1)
by Ben Kane
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 14 May 2015
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The headline here is that this is the story of how three Roman Legions were broken by treachery and ambush in the German Teutoberg forest.

The detail is far more complex, interesting and compelling. As an author Ben Kane grows in confidence, output and continues to exceed expectations. He skirts with danger here as many will be aware of what happens, so we kind of know how this will end, but we are engaged by depth of detail and strong characterisation. On the Roman side we have Tullus. A middle aged and experienced soldier but no superstar on the battlefield. Just a strong professional leader of men. On the other side we have Arminius the charming traitor who has bided his time to destroy the Romans. And it is a testament to the quality of the writing that you quite like Arminius and can see his perspective. We also understand the dynamics of the Roman troops, the camaraderie and conflict so you do feel their pain, fear and loss more than you would expect. You also understand the resentment of the tribes in the arrogant way the Romans treat them a real perspective of the two sides in this conflict

There are more than a few very good writers in this space and Ben Kane sits very comfortably with them and this is an exceptional effort.


The Kind Worth Killing
The Kind Worth Killing
by Peter Swanson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Two psychos meet in a bar......, 30 April 2015
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This review is from: The Kind Worth Killing (Hardcover)
A story of dark characters and murder. A casual chat in an airport lounge leads to murder and revenge. Very few sympathetic characters here but a plot that is dark and twists in all sorts of directions. Much like Gone Girl, the main leads here are not nice people and the things they do are very much not nice either. But in the main it keeps you guessing and on your toes throughout and is very well delivered, perhaps the only flaw being in the final twist. It is a solid, engrossing and deliciously dark journey and recommended to those who enjoy fully fleshed out darker characters.


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