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Steve Morris (UK)

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Mr. Robert's Bones
Mr. Robert's Bones
by Gary Gautier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.71

4.0 out of 5 stars A humorous and charming story, 11 May 2015
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This review is from: Mr. Robert's Bones (Paperback)
Mr Robert’s Bones is set in New Orleans in the days and weeks before the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. It succeeds very well in conjuring up the setting and atmosphere of this fascinating city at that moment in time (I visited New Orleans myself just weeks before Katrina hit, and I loved the evocative descriptions of the city.)
It’s a tale of buried treasure, ghosts, villains and skulduggery. It’s also a story of racism and injustice, and how the past casts its shadow over the present.
The three central characters are children – two white sisters and one black boy – and for that reason, as well as the setting and the theme of racism, it very much reminded me of To Kill a Mocking Bird. Both books employ a similar whimsical approach to their storytelling.
The prose skims lightly across the story, brushing against it, and sometimes pulling away to view the characters from afar.
At first I wasn't sure what to make of this book, but after a few chapters I realised that it was a humorous and often charming story. For example, the main villain is a Mr Tyler Rex, or T. Rex to those who know him well. There are many poignant moments too, especially involving the interactions of the three children with each other and with their parents.
The book is a novella of around 150 pages, and it would perhaps have been nice if it could have been developed into a full length novel, or at least a longer work, perhaps by elaborating on the past events that are described in the book, and giving some of the characters a little more rounding out.
In the end I decided to rate the book at 4 stars, because although it’s a very enjoyable read, I found the prose sometimes a little too florid for my taste, and also there are occasional sudden changes of tense that I found disconcerting. Perhaps most readers wouldn't be bothered by this, and I would thoroughly recommend giving it a try.
I would definitely read more by this author.


The Demons of Ghent: Forbidden Spaces Trilogy: Book Two (Forbidden Spaces Trilogy 2)
The Demons of Ghent: Forbidden Spaces Trilogy: Book Two (Forbidden Spaces Trilogy 2)
by Helen Grant
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A dark thriller with a gripping ending, 19 April 2015
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This is the second in the Forbidden Spaces trilogy and I enjoyed it even more than the first, Silent Saturday.
At first I was bothered, because the book leaves quite a lot of questions unanswered from Silent Saturday, but after a while I decided that the fault lay in Silent Saturday itself - those questions should have been wrapped up at the end of the first book. Also there is a sense that we are repeating the same plot as the first book, but again, I think that the first book is the weak link in the chain.
Demons of Ghent is a much richer story than Silent Saturday, with the Ghent altarpiece as its bedrock, and some more interesting, well-rounded characters. Veerle's life is developed much more fully in this book, without any of the holes that I felt were present in the first.
The setting really shines through, and the prose is rich and layered. There are plenty of exciting moments and some rewarding character interactions, with Veerle's complicated love life driving a lot of these.
The ending is absolutely jaw-dropping, and is a textbook example of how to write a gripping, convincing thriller ending with twists and turns and a stunning surprise. Helen Grant is a master! The final few chapters bring us nicely back down to earth (literally!) and answer all our urgent questions, leaving us with just one nagging doubt about who the killer really was - and that doubt is good. I'll definitely be moving straight on to Urban Legends!


Silent Saturday: Forbidden Spaces Trilogy: Book One
Silent Saturday: Forbidden Spaces Trilogy: Book One
by Helen Grant
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping, well-paced, dark YA thriller, 11 April 2015
I really enjoyed this dark YA thriller. I'm a big fan of Helen Grant, and this book has many familiar elements - a teenage girl protagonist, a European setting, a dangerous killer on the loose, an unsuitable love interest, and a collapsing home life.

The book is an excellent thriller, from its dark, moody opening scene, through the various progression of set scenes to the final exciting conclusion. It's a fast read too, despite being around 100,000 words. It's the first in a trilogy and I have already started reading the second book.

The only reason this doesn't get 5 stars is that it doesn't quite have the depth of her first two books. The story proceeds from one night-time excursion to the next, completely missing out the protagonist's school life, so we feel like we're seeing her captured in a series of stills, rather than being a complete whole.


Glenn Hates Books Vol. 1: Brutally Honest Book Reviews
Glenn Hates Books Vol. 1: Brutally Honest Book Reviews
Price: £1.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and insightful, but not for the squeamish, 20 Mar. 2015
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This is basically a collection of 100 book reviews by the eponymous Glenn. It's the kind of book you can dip into when you have five minutes spare, and it doesn't even matter if you haven't read the books, because Glenn tells you what they're about and what he thinks of them. Be warned - Glenn pulls no punches, can't write a paragraph that doesn't contain the F word, and isn't into political correctness.

I found the book entertaining and informative, and generally agreed with the thrust of his opinions on the books that I'd read, even though he sounds rather like that guy at the bar who prefaces everything he says with, "And let me tell you another f***ing thing ..."


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not effective, 18 July 2014
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I used the whole bottle on our garden but it had no observable effect on mole activity.


Starliner (The Intergalactic Investigation Bureau Book 1)
Starliner (The Intergalactic Investigation Bureau Book 1)
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new Douglas Adams?, 10 July 2014
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Starliner is a comedy/mystery/detective story set in a future space city inhabited by humans, aliens and robots. A routine “murder” of a robot seems to be just another case for Dresker and the IRB to investigate, except that in this case the robots have discovered religion, which is bound to end unhappily. The story unfolds in a chaotic and absurd manner and involves crushbots, artificial penises, robots with drink problems, and donuts – lots of donuts.

The book is very well-written, with polished prose and a fast pace. Its style reminded me of Douglas Adams and I enjoyed the sharp, witty dialogue.

The book is a hilarious parody of corporate America, with companies like the Fruit Corp (maker of the over-priced yet desirable iPane) and its rival, NegligibleSoft battling for supremacy, and with unions, accountants and managers mingling seamlessly with robot bartenders and various humanoid aliens. I loved the idea that Isaac Asimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics have been amended by the unions and lawyers to encompass hundreds of seemingly contradictory rules and sub-regulations.

Overall, Starliner is an enjoyable read, combining great humour with a detective story and finishing with a nail-biting ending!


The Zombie Apocalypse (Can You Survive?)
The Zombie Apocalypse (Can You Survive?)
by Franklin Kendrick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining zombie fun for a rainy day, 5 July 2014
This is a good way to pass a couple of hours. The book is well written and carefully designed, so there are lots of options and different possible outcomes. Sometimes you escape, sometimes you get eaten, sometimes you get to eat other people!
Although the book contains a warning about being a horror story and not for the squeamish, it's not really that gory. You could buy it for a teenager and even a ten-year old familiar with mild horror/action/adventure books would be OK with it.
I read this as a paperback, but the Kindle version looks good, as it contains hyperlinks for each choice you have to make.


Sunderwynde Revisited, Again
Sunderwynde Revisited, Again
by Joel Bresler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.61

4.0 out of 5 stars A fast-paced, comic, easy read, 18 Jun. 2014
This book is a light, humorous, easy to read mystery. It reminded me of an American version of Tom Sharpe, which, in case you are unsure, is no bad thing.

Although the book is a sequel, the main character is introduced in the first chapter with a quick reprise of where he is and what he's doing there, so it's no problem if, like me, you haven't read the first book.

The story starts out with a crazy road trip across America. It's a fast-moving and comic sequence of events. But for me, things really start moving when the hero, Stone, returns home, meets his old friend Fellowes and is introduced to a shady businessman with a "job" involving an archaeological discovery of questionable authenticity.

The book is written in short, easily-digested chapters, and has well-defined characters such as the absurd Stone, the almost silent Fellowes and Stone's new girlfriend, Crystal the truck driver (you read that right).


Infertility, Infidelity, and Insanity
Infertility, Infidelity, and Insanity
by Arran Bhansal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Infertility, Infidelity and Insanity - the title really says it all!, 15 May 2014
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This book is an interesting story giving us an insider's view of a "mixed race" marriage between a British Asian man and his English wife. It's a very well-structured book, alternating between a first person telling of the story and sessions with a psychotherapist. This structure and form make the story very vivid and immediate, with the narrative really drawing the reader in.

It's a gripping story with some humour too. The characters are diverse, interesting and believable, and there are some particularly colourful characters such as the comic/thuggish "Turbanator"!

We are taken from the beginnings of the relationship, with a wonderful comic scene in which the young man is faced with an inquisition by his extended family who want to know why he's marrying a white woman. The story proceeds with a Sikh wedding and a trip to India. We view the stresses placed on the relationship because of infertility problems and the desperate struggle to conceive - "That's one thing about IVF; your dignity goes completely to pot." - "Sex had lost its appeal, it became all about the ejaculation." The story moves on to a passionate affair and the onset of mental anguish and mental illness, and ultimately to the book's conclusion.

I found the settings of the story particularly strong - both the Oxfordshire riverside town of Henley and the Indian culture. The main character walks between these two worlds, and we feel the tension stretching him out.

The book handles difficult subjects with a light touch and is both educational and entertaining!


Jumble Tales
Jumble Tales
by Steve Morris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An espresso shot of short stories!, 20 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Jumble Tales (Paperback)
Jumble Tales is an eclectic mix of short stories, all of them short enough to read in a coffee break. They are perhaps best read in this way (rather than all at once), so that you can ponder the issues raised by each story before moving on to the next. The author has a fertile and wide-ranging imagination, and you never know what to expect from each tale. In fact, each of them has a twist at the end. I was never able to guess what any of those twists might be, so if you enjoy being surprised by the unpredictable, this collection will keep you on your toes!

By the way, I am not *the* Steve Morris, I am a different person with the same name!


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