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Cloggie Downunder (Australia)
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Gone: (Michael Bennett 6)
Gone: (Michael Bennett 6)
Price: 3.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars page-turner, 4 Jan 2014
Gone is the sixth book in the Michael Bennett series by American author James Patterson and is, as the five before it, co-written by Michael Ledwidge. It is set some 8 months after the events of I, Michael Bennett, in which the Bennett family had to go into the Witness Protection scheme to hide from Mexican drug cartel boss, Manuel Perrine. Living on a farm in rural California is losing any attraction it may have had, and family members, Bennett himself included, are getting restless and perhaps careless. It seems that Perrine is becoming more audacious than ever, ordering hits on Mafia bosses, competing cartels and unco-operative colleagues, and not only FBI and State police, but also the Military are involved in the hunt for this megalomaniac narco-terrorist. FBI Agent Emily Parker turns up begging Bennett's input in the search for Perrine, and the family are left in the hands of US Marshals as Bennett heads to LA. There, a dramatic takedown fails to net Perrine. This instalment has plenty of action: shootings, toxic gas, attempted kidnapping, underground escape tunnels, ocean rendezvous, hitmen, and torture. There are several exciting climaxes. As usual, the villains are cardboard characters, and people who should know better do some dumb things that endanger loved ones. The most interesting character is an old pothead named McMurphy. The government of the day comes in for a bit of criticism. It must be a strain to remember the details of Bennett's ten children: perhaps Ledwidge could write them down somewhere. Apparently, while Juliana has aged 5 years since the first book, poor Trent has only advanced two; Ricky was already 13 in the last book but is now "going to be thirteen"; readers could be forgiven for thinking that Ledwidge had forgotten all about Bridget, the twin of Fiona, who is mentioned only once by name, on the very last page, even though the other children all get plenty of mentions. Perhaps Ledwidge is just checking if the reader is paying attention? Apart from that, quite a page-turner.


Alex Cross, Run: (Alex Cross 20)
Alex Cross, Run: (Alex Cross 20)
Price: 2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a decent effort, 21 Dec 2013
Alex Cross, Run is the 20th book in the popular Alex Cross series by American author, James Patterson. This instalment starts with two brutal murders that soon turn to three. Cross is overseeing the cases, but also plagued by a vindictive journalist whose blog targets MPD and Cross in particular, as well as trouble brewing at home with their foster child, Ava. Several murders later, some of them obviously staged, it is apparent that MPD has three serial killers on their hands: one with a penchant for beautiful blondes whom he dispatches with precise slashes before cutting off their hair; one whose taste is for young gay men whom he shoots and then repeatedly stabs around the genitals; and one who strangles a young mother and kidnaps her new baby. As the journalist escalates his campaign with provocative posts on his blog and taunts at crime scenes, Cross lashes out, to his own detriment, and that of his department's investigations. There is plenty of action in this page-turner: victims are shot, stabbed, hanged and drugged. Patterson uses this novel to comment on the Washington DC school system, group homes and the effect of blogs, freedom of speech and mobile phone cameras on police investigations. Patterson seems to have put a decent effort into this book: it has a dramatic climax (or two), the plot isn't too fantastic and it doesn't have the "phoned-in" feel of some of his recent books, especially those he delegates to co-writers. The next book, Cross My Heart, will still attract fans.


The Irresistible Inheritance Of Wilberforce
The Irresistible Inheritance Of Wilberforce
Price: 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant offering, 21 Dec 2013
The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce is the second novel by British author, Paul Torday. When Torday introduces his narrator, Wilberforce, it is 2006 and he is an enthusiastic wine drinker who owns an estate called Caerlyon Hall, the subterranean undercroft full of wine located under the Hall, and a flat in Half Moon Street, Mayfair. It soon becomes apparent, however, that Wilberforce is a virtually penniless alcoholic, a delusional widower who has alienated all his friends, squandered a fortune and is at death's door. How Wilberforce has managed to progress to this state from being a teetotal computer nerd who owned a multi-million pound software company is gradually revealed, but in reverse, in four parts: 2006, 2004, 2003 and 2002. Torday emphasises significant incidents (and his narrator's perception of them) with repetition of certain phrases and the retelling (with subtle differences) of certain events in each of the four parts. While it may be a dark and tragic tale, Torday manages to inject plenty of humour, and readers may well find themselves laughing out loud, at least in 2006. Torday's characters are well developed and often familiar: the socially inept computer programmer; the hedonistic heir to the title; the well-meaning doctor; the asset-rich, cash-poor gentry; the diplomatically fawning bank manager. Eck Chetwode-Talbot's name may ring a bell for readers of Salmon Fishing and both Eck and Ed Simmonds reappear in later Torday books, something that will appeal to fans. Although the outcome is evident from the beginning, it is a measure of Torday's literary talent that the reader is still eager to discover the who, how and why of it. At the same time, the reader is left a mystery to speculate upon (is Wilberforce's father among the characters?) Torday's portrayal of an alcoholic's behaviour and addictive personality (the denials, the rationalisations, the blame shifting, the physical and mental symptoms) is excellent and obviously well-researched. This is a brilliant offering by Torday and fans will be eager to read his next book, The Girl On The Landing.


New Year Kisses Boardroom Wishes
New Year Kisses Boardroom Wishes
Price: 0.77

4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful little read for the season, 21 Dec 2013
New Year Kisses, Boardroom Wishes is an erotic short story by Australian author, Wendy L. Curtis. Marion Brady is a conscientious employee in a marketing firm that has recently seen a change of ownership. She's frustrated that newcomer Luke Pride, despite his relaxed attitude to work and attire, seems to be more successful at winning clients than she is. At this rate, he'll get the promotion to Head of Marketing that she's been working so hard for. But Luke isn't what he seems: the messy hair and board shorts are a cover for the new boss who is checking out his employees at close quarters. And Marion is one he would like to check out very closely indeed. The dinner invitation on New Year's Eve takes her by surprise; so does the kiss, and what she would like to do with Luke afterwards. This sweet, sexy romance starts with the classic office romance plot, but manages to be less predictable than many. The characters are appealing and have enough depth to keep the reader interested, the dialogue is snappy and fun and the erotica is tasteful and stimulating. A delightful little read for the season.


The Man Every Woman Wants (Mills & Boon Modern)
The Man Every Woman Wants (Mills & Boon Modern)
Price: 2.10

4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, 21 Dec 2013
The Man Every Woman Wants is the 21st novel by popular Australian romance author, Miranda Lee. Lawyer Laura Ferrugia has made a major blunder: while her gran was in a coma, she talked about her Friday 3pm client, sexy business tycoon Ryan Armstrong, as if he was her boyfriend. But now gran has recovered, is delighted Laura has finally found a suitable man and wants to meet him. But Ryan is an arrogant playboy, intent on avoiding commitment, hardly Mr Right material, even if he did like her. Ryan senses something is amiss with his straight-laced legal lady, and manages to extract the story over a drink. And then surprises both of them by offering to go along with the charade. Which turns out to involve a weekend sharing a bedroom, and things get complicated. This is a sweet romance. Both the hero and heroine have a bit of depth, there's a bit of humour and some hot bedroom scenes. An enjoyable read.


Merry Christmas, Alex Cross: (Alex Cross 19)
Merry Christmas, Alex Cross: (Alex Cross 19)
by James Patterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars not a patch on earlier Alex Cross novels, 21 Dec 2013
Merry Christmas, Alex Cross is the nineteenth book in the popular Alex Cross series by prolific American author, James Patterson. It actually consists of two separate stories linked only by their proximity to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, with a blizzard set to engulf Washington, Alex Cross is called, much to the dismay of his family, to a hostage situation. A once-prestigious heavily armed lawyer is holding his ex-wife, his children, his ex-wife's new husband and a next-door neighbour hostage. Cross risks his own life by entering the house (twice) and eventually defusing the situation and disarming the drug-crazed offender, using background information about the lawyer, combined with his considerable negotiating skills and his psychological expertise. Then with just a few hours of sleep, he is called to Union Station, where Hala, a ruthless Saudi terrorist and cold-blooded killer (whom readers will remember from Kill Alex Cross) has been spotted using facial recognition technology. As they try to track Hala, Cross wonders if this is a diversion for something worse. There is plenty of action in this story: cyanide poisoning, grenades, booby traps, shootings, torture of children and sniffer dogs all feature. Lots of technology is used: iPads with G4 are commandeered from commuters; cell phone calls are monitored; Skype links to Saudi Arabia are instrumental. Cross partakes in something he would usually consider beneath his standards. And would Arab children being tortured speak English? Finally, Cross and John Sampson manage to foil the terrorist plot almost by accident and without actually knowing what it is. Cross spends quite a bit of time considering his job and its effects on his family. Fast-paced, short chapters, a quick read but not a patch on earlier Alex Cross novels.


Passing Remarks
Passing Remarks
by Helen Hodgman
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 21 Dec 2013
This review is from: Passing Remarks (Paperback)
Passing Remarks is the 4th novel by Scots-born author Helen Hodgman. An Associate Professor of Early Childhood Studies, Rosemary is a lesbian lottery winner in her fifties who is beginning to feel insecure with her latest lover, confident, young Harley-riding Billie. Billie rides off up north to see her hippy mother Heather and then her wheelchair-bound friend, Lorraine who runs a resort for the gay and the dying. Rosemary encounters a school friend with a dying mother and eventually, with her cat Kristeva, heads to the Blue Mountains to witness friends committing to each other, a colleague transforming her body into art, has her car stolen by a secateur-wielding murderer and becomes the unwitting star of a movie. Hodgman uses an economy of words to convey the feel of 90's Sydney: her descriptions are vivid and powerful. She touches on a myriad of subjects: femocrats, shoulder pads, gender inequality, elderly parents, roses, penises, boys, underwear and female genital mutilation. There is some marvellous prose: "It worries her to see her friend getting so set in his ways and closed to everything new. Is it to do with aging, this intellectual hardening of the arteries, and will it happen to her...." And "Why should Rosemary spend what remains of her life...watching these people trampling through the well-worn thickets of déjà vu to reach a forest of foregone conclusions?" This novel is peopled with odd, eccentric characters who are, nonetheless, easily recognisable from everyday life. Rosemary's inner monologue is dry and witty; plot is filled with believable coincidences; there is plenty of humour, a fair bit of angst and irony in liberal doses. Enjoyable.


12th of Never: (Women's Murder Club 12)
12th of Never: (Women's Murder Club 12)
by James Patterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.50

4.0 out of 5 stars quite a good read, 21 Dec 2013
12th of Never is the twelfth book in the Women's Murder Club series by American author James Patterson and is co-written with Maxine Paetro. Lindsay returns sooner than anticipated from her maternity leave, entrusting the unemployed but highly competent Joe with an unwell baby. As well as investigating a murder and the subsequent disappearance of the body from the morgue, Lindsay is faced with a charismatic serial killer who wakes up from a coma fixating on her as liaison for locating victim's bodies. Pathologist Claire Washburn finds herself demoted when said body disappears from her morgue. There is trouble in paradise when journalist Cindy Thomas is rather too focussed on her job for fiancé Rich's liking, and he begins to look elsewhere: a young police intern catches his eye. Rich Conklin tries to solve the puzzling case of a Professor who seems to have developed precognition of several shooting murders. Assistant DA, Yuki Castellano is determined to win her murder case against a lawyer with a reputation for witness intimidation, but the case takes a few surprise turns. Maxine Paetro appears to be a winning combination as co-writer with James Patterson, certainly when one compares what some co-writers do with the ideas Patterson throws them. She has (co-)written all but three of the Women's Murder Club books, and this instalment is, once again, a page-turner with several twists. In places it is a little too "breathless" and Paetro seems intent on giving the height, weight and hair colour of incidental characters who merit only a paragraph or two, but apart from that, this is quite a good read.


Reilly's Return
Reilly's Return
by Tami Hoag
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars would have benefited from some judicious editing, 21 Dec 2013
Reilly's Return is the third novel in the Rainbow Chasers series by American author, Tami Hoag. Jayne Jordan, widow of Joseph MacGregor, is hiding out in the California coastal town of Anastasia with three llamas and a pregnant teen. Zany Jayne is a film writer and director, but is wasting her talent as a scathing film critic. Aussie actor, Pat Reilly was Mac's best friend, but when he met Jayne, neither could deny a connection. At Mac's funeral, he vowed to return to her. And now he has. But Jayne is uncertain of his intentions, disappointed in his choice of movies to make and is unconvinced that he can resist the attractions of Hollywood. This fairly early Hoag offering drags somewhat, is occasionally repetitive and the portrayal of Pat Reilly as an Aussie is not well done: most Australians will wince at the dialogue, which is unrealistic and clunky at best. It is a sweet story that would have benefited from some judicious editing.


The Truth About Pretty Girls (Short Story)
The Truth About Pretty Girls (Short Story)
Price: 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a moving short story with a deliciously ironic ending, 21 Dec 2013
The Truth About Pretty Girls is a short story by popular American author, Karin Slaughter. Fifty-six-year-old Jude Hanson finds herself almost incredulous about her current situation: after a life seemingly in self-destruct mode, she is back in her childhood home in the Georgia mountain town of Poulet with the mother she couldn't wait to leave; she is driving to the bus station to pick up the son she hasn't seen in thirty-six years, the son she should never have had...... This short but powerful offering from Karin Slaughter touches on a myriad of subjects: mothering instinct (or lack of it); ageing, menopause, health and mortality; therapy; privilege and potential. Slaughter creates a moving short story with a deliciously ironic ending.


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