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E Evans

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The Trial: BookShots (A Women's Murder Club Thriller)
The Trial: BookShots (A Women's Murder Club Thriller)
by James Patterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £1.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast story with unexpected end twist, 17 July 2016
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If you’re a fan of the Women’s Murder Club series, this story slots in right after 15th Affair.
As with the 15th Affair Detective Lindsay Boxer is the main character (and narrator), the other three members of the Murder Club making only token appearances.
The psychotic boss of a Mexican drug cartel has returned to San Francisco where his ex-wife is living in fear of him under an assumed name. ‘Kingfisher’ had threatened Lindsay in a previous book and it seems his death at the end of that book was a set-up. Now he has shot an ex-girlfriend to death in front of numerous witnesses. Once under arrest Kingfisher boasts that any attempt to put him on trial will result in payback and multiple deaths for the authorities.
The book then proceeds in pretty much the expected direction; cue unpleasant deaths, explosions, and gun fights. And an atmosphere of menace that forces Lindsay to call on the services of her estranged husband, Joe, to help protect their daughter.
I was leaning towards giving this three stars as it did seem as if it was going to be very predicable but there is an excellent twist at the end which (I suspect) is setting up the story-line for Number Sixteen in the series. I would recommend you read it if you’re intending to read number Sixteen. If you don’t know the series it is a good taste of what to expect.
As an added bonus you get an extract of another title in the Bookshots series (Little Black Dress) which sounds pretty good too.

Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary Book 1)
Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary Book 1)
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Really couldn't connect with this one, 16 July 2016
Madeleine Maxwell (Max) is a historian. She is unexpectedly recruited by an off-shoot of her old university – St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research. But this is no dry academic institution; they have discovered the science of time travel and are using it to conduct eye-witness research at important moments in our past.
During the course of her tenure, Max encounters friendship, enemies, and a passionate lover. She discovers people are not necessarily who they seem and uncovers a traitor in their midst. Time travel allows her to experience the Middle Ages, the first World War and the age of the dinosaurs. And overall she is negotiating the shifts in power and in-fighting which are found in any institution whilst discovering she is far braver than she thought she was.
I picked this book on the basis of a write-up in a magazine; I was in the mood for a little light hearted reading and this sounded like it might fit the brief. To be honest, it didn’t. Max is a great character and I loved her somewhat sarky take on life but that’s really all I enjoyed. For such a relatively short book there are far too many characters. A lot are introduced early on and were dying before I could even remember who they were. (In fact some were dying at the end of book and I still couldn’t remember who they were!) The jump to World War I was actually the best segment in my opinion. It had a lot of human and very real inter-action and was beautifully written, but unfortunately it didn’t last long and the author chose to spend much of the book with the dinosaurs, leading to a lot of information on the smells in the Cretaceous period and some running around with blasters.
Personally I found the whole book rather dis-jointed. There are hints at Max’s poor home-life without any further explanation; a villain who wanders in and out at odd intervals, and a story-line that needs more focus. I just couldn’t work up any feeling of involvement with these people. It’s as if the author had a lot of ideas and tried to fit them all in a very short space. There are more books in the series and perhaps some of these problems are sorted out in there, but I’ve scored it on the basis that I don’t want to read further in the series.

The Amok Runners
The Amok Runners
by Colin Cotterill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.36

4.0 out of 5 stars Probably more of a 3.5 but it does have Clint Eastwood, Thailand and a treasure hunt., 7 July 2016
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This review is from: The Amok Runners (Paperback)
If you’re a fan of the Jimm Juree series then this slots in as number four in the series.
It opens with a Thai policeman taking an unusual approach to the report of a dead body. Thereafter the narrative is taken up by Jimm; a thirty something, slightly overweight, (former) crime reporter. In the three previous books the family were located in South Thailand running a coastal restaurant and hotel that was haemorrhaging money, In this book it has been conveniently swept away by floods and the family are scattered. Jimm and her brother (sometimes sister), Sissy, are film fans and frustrated script-writers and are trying to interest Clint Eastwood in their screen plays
They recount (for Clint’s benefit) the story of a previous adventure when they were involved in an American film being produced in Thailand. Jimm and Sissy are lowly extras (Amok runners) but their brother Arny has been cast as the stand-in for the spoilt American lead actor in a historical epic that is unbothered by any historical accuracy.
Whilst filming they are also trying to support their Burmese friend, Khin, who is convinced she is on the trail of a priceless royal Thai treasure.
It soon becomes clear that all is not well on the film. The second unit director is murdered, equipment inexplicably fails, fires start, Jimm and her family are threatened and narrowly avoid death (and the star throws a hissy fit ‘cos he doesn’t like his muesli).
Jimm and co decide to investigate, because they liked the director (and they don’t want that ‘narrowly’ to become ‘don’t’). Plus it soon becomes clear that the local police are not doing as much as they might to put matters right.
I’ve always liked this series but I found I missed the ‘old’ location, the additional characters like Mair and grandfather, and Jimm’s relationship with the local policeman. This book takes a while to pick up the pace but after that does move at a good lick and contains all the humour and sly digs at the Thai government and administration that were in the previous novels. It also makes some serious points such as the treatment of the Burmese population in Thailand.
I did enjoy the book and all the general detail about the history and geography of Thailand which is woven through the narrative. If you’re a fan of the author’s writing (either the Jimm series or the Siri Paiboun series) I’d say go for it..

Eligible: The book of the summer
Eligible: The book of the summer
by Curtis Sittenfeld
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

3.0 out of 5 stars It is a truth universally acknowledged that messing with another author's characters is often risky, 29 Jun. 2016
I picked this because I loved the American Wife; not so sure about this one.
Pride and Prejudice has been relocated to Cincinnati. Jane and Liz are living in New York City (and considerably older than they are in the original novel). Private money means the three younger Bennet girls can still live at home in Cincinnati without any pressing need to be gainfully employed. Darcy and Bingley are successful doctors. Mr Collins has become cousin Willie, a software entrepreneur and Charlotte Lucas is a career girl (her plainness signalled by the fact she is overweight). Wickham is turned into Wick, a married lover that Liz is involved with in a somewhat half-hearted fashion and Kathy de Burgh is a well-known feminist who Liz (now a journalist on a women’s magazine) is pursuing for an interview.
I struggled with this book because I kept comparing it with the original novel. There is a sort of story in here; the Bennets need to down-size as their money has dried up and their three youngest daughters have to be forced out of the nest. It’s left to Liz to return home to Cincinnati and sort out the practicalities.
A lot of things that drove the original plot just don’t work in this story Sex before marriage is no longer scandalous (in fact it appears to be obligatory in Cincinnati) so Lydia’s original story has disappeared. Although the one she gets instead is actually one of the better things about the novel. Bingley was never a very strong character but whilst in the original he was good-natured here he comes over as unbelievably wet as a former candidate on an American reality dating show. Worst of all, the Darcy/Liz relationship just lacked any sense of passion or tension for me.
The book is actually strongest when it leaves the source novel and comes up with new characters and slants. Lydia’s new boyfriend is a great character, and their story a genuine surprise, and I also liked the way Mary, never much of player in the original story, is given an entire life of her own.
Overall however the story lacks the warmth and sly humour of the source novel
Since I read to the end I guess it works to a certain extent, but I think I would have preferred it if these had been presented as original characters not those from a much-loved novel. Had this been the first book I’d read by this author I don’t think I’d have been tempted to try another – hence the 3 stars.

Solitude Creek: Fear Kills in Agent Kathryn Dance Book 4 (Kathryn Dance thrillers)
Solitude Creek: Fear Kills in Agent Kathryn Dance Book 4 (Kathryn Dance thrillers)
by Jeffery Deaver
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Really a 3.5 that morphs into a 4 star, 15 Jun. 2016
This is the latest in the Kathryn Dance series. Kathryn is an agent with the Californian Bureau of Investigation and an expert in the science of body language; a talent which is particularly useful in interrogations. In this book however she calls it wrongly and a violent professional hit man is able to escape. A sequence of events that results in Kathryn being temporarily transferred to ‘Civil Division’ – a nicety that apparently means she is no longer able to carry a weapon on duty and gets the boring paperwork based jobs.
Thereafter the book splits into two major investigations. On the one hand assorted crime fighting agencies are attempting to track down the escaped killer. At the same time another killer is deliberately targeting crowded venues, triggering major panics as those inside fight to escape, and then sitting back and enjoying the terror and destruction. As she’d recognised the first incident as a deliberate attack rather than an unfortunate accident, Kathryn insists on being involved as an investigator and hoping her boss doesn’t discover her dual workload.
Amongst the investigative work, there is also a fair amount of time spent in Kathryn’s home life. Coping with a suddenly stage-shy daughter means she has taken her eye off her son and doesn’t realise his new friends are leading him into some dark places. She is also struggling with her own personal feelings about the men in her life. Current lover, Jon, is great companion and good with her kids. But there is an attraction between her and Detective Mike O’Neil that just won’t go away; only it looks like it has to because his ex-wife is back on the scene. Whilst they’re busy not admitting their attraction to each other, O’Neil is also working a spate of hate crimes in the area and trying to track down a missing farmer with a serious grudge against the State.
Eventually all the above investigations pan out and as in most Deaver books nothing is as you thought it was. I was tempted to give this a three star because it was all getting a bit predictable but the ending did pull it back. I couldn’t give it five stars because I did feel it dragged in the places where they were trying to track down the escaped killer; partly I think because so many US crime agencies were involved and as a UK reader I just wasn’t familiar with them and didn’t know what they did or what they assorted departmental initials stood for, and partly because the escaped killer wasn’t nearly as interesting as the one creating the mayhem and I was just impatient to get back to him.

The Girl in the Ice (A Konrad Simonsen Thriller)
The Girl in the Ice (A Konrad Simonsen Thriller)
by Lotte Hammer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't connect with this one at all, 4 Jun. 2016
In the middle of Greenland’s iciness the body of a young woman is discovered by an over-flying helicopter; bound, half-naked, decorated with red lip-stick, she has obviously died an agonising death. The case is assigned to Detective Chief Konrad Simonson from Denmark and he is immediately struck by the resemblance to a former case. In fact as the case progresses, other very similar deaths are linked to it.
The woman is quickly identified as a Danish national who went missing twenty five years ago. And given the location of her body, it doesn’t take long to identify the murderer. The detectives also manage to pin down the motivation behind his killing spree. However what they are unable to do is establish enough evidence to hold him in custody. He is free to go after further victims – and he does.
Personally I found this book had the oddest effect on my reading. There are five police officers connected with the story and at the end of the book I realised I couldn’t describe any of them, either physically or to guess what makes them tick; with the exception of the youngest female detective. (This is the second novel by these authors and it may be it would be better to read the first one before tackling this one as some of the detectives’ background may be sketched more fully in there.)
Equally I found I had absolutely no anticipation every time I picked up the book to read a further section despite the potentially exciting nature of the plot. There is an awful lot of scene setting with people telling each other what they’ve found until the pace finally picks up in the final hundred pages I really can’t say that’s the only problem – I just couldn’t feel any connection to these people (either good or bad) at all. Perhaps you’ll have more luck.

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Offered by Stinkyinkshop
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars These are great - but open on a sheet of newspaper, 26 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are great and work just fine. I mostly do rough printing anyway and don’t need photographic standard printing. My printer accepted them without any problems. As a bonus the orange ‘lid’ that you flip off before inserting the cartridge was easy to detach unlike the HP ones which practically dislocate my thumb trying to lever them off.
A WORD OF WARNING: a couple of cartridges did flick out a splash of ink as I opened them. Luckily I’d opened them on a sheet of newspaper – suggest you do the same.

The Graveyard of the Hesperides: Flavia Albia 4 (Falco: The New Generation)
The Graveyard of the Hesperides: Flavia Albia 4 (Falco: The New Generation)
by Lindsey Davis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Like it but still missing Falco, 26 May 2016
Another book with Flavia Albia, adopted daughter of Falco and Helena, at its centre.
Flavia has taken up her father’s old profession of Informer. In this story she is preparing for her wedding to Faustus, aedile and building contractor. Whilst renovating a local bar, Faustus’s men unearth a headless skeleton which rather ties in with the local rumour, viz, a barmaid had been killed by the previous owner. However that tidy solution is upset when five more skeletons are discovered under the garden. Thereafter Flavia sets out to discover who these people were and how and why they died.
The story moves along at a brisk pace as she delves into the local brothels, with girls trafficked from the far corners of the Empire, illegal gambling, back-street abortions and those who have recognised a good opportunity when they see it and are happy to exploit their neighbours to their own advantage. In fact the author does seem to be making the point that nothing much has changed in the last two thousand years.
Tangled amongst the investigation are the preparations for the wedding (overseen by Flavia’s two sisters) and some interesting details about the customs and rites necessary for a successful union (which probably won’t work but at least prevent the relatives for saying they told you so when it all goes wrong presumably).
It is satisfactory read and I will read the next book in the series but this series is always going to suffer from comparison with the Falco series because Falco’s world seemed so much larger and more colourful than the one Flavia inhabits.

Their Finest Hour And A Half
Their Finest Hour And A Half
by Lissa Evans
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Once again I was caught up in the lives of the characters, 10 May 2016
As the Second World War moves from its first period of relative quiet in Britain to the chaos of Dunkirk and the arrival of the blitz, the lives of four ordinary people are turned around.
Catrin finds herself moved from writing advertising copy to working on propaganda films. Wrapped up in her first love affair, she can’t see that her ‘husband’ is indifferent to whether she is in his life or not. But as she starts to gain confidence in her new career, she also gains insight into her own life….
Ambrose was voted the third most popular British film star in 1924. Unfortunately in his head he hasn’t moved on from those heights and his agent is too good-natured to point out the truth. Luckily his agent has a sister who believes in plain speaking.
Edith is a seamstress at Madame Tussaud’s. In her thirties and somewhat insular she has managed to create an ordered and even beautiful bolt-hole for herself until the bombing raids force her out of her comfort zone.
All three of them are thrown together when they become involved in a film charting the ‘heroic’ rescue by twin sisters of soldiers from the Dunkirk beaches. And in the process they encounter shy, awkward, Arthur – a former catering manager who has now been elevated to ‘Special Military Adviser’ on the film – for no better reason than he happens to be in uniform as far as he can see.
The book contains rather more detail than I wanted to know about the process of making a film (probably because this is the author’s background) and is a little confusing early on when you're jumping from character to character, but those really are my only complaints
I read this book because I loved the author’s most recent one (Crooked Heart), and once again this story contains all the delightful detail about ordinary lives during war-time plus those sudden unexpected lump-in-the-throat moments that you don’t see coming. It also has some lovely moments of humour, particularly involving Ambrose whose self-absorption and vanity is often challenged and could have turned him into an unlikeable figure but the author always manages to pull him back (I particularly enjoyed the segments with fellow actor Cecy).
As with Crooked Heart I was reluctant to say goodbye to them all. Looking forward to the author’s next book.

The Waters of Eternal Youth: Brunetti 25
The Waters of Eternal Youth: Brunetti 25
by Donna Leon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely to enter Brunetti's world again (but meanders a bit), 27 April 2016
Thanks to his wife’s aristocratic connections, Commissario Brunetti is approached by an elderly Contessa who asks him to re-investigate an incident involving her beloved grand-daughter, Manuela. Fifteen years ago Manuela was a bright, pretty teenager with a love for horse-riding. Then one night she was found in the canal and rescued just in time. However, the prolonged submersion led to brain damage and now Manuela is thirty year old woman with the mind of a seven year old. The only witness, her rescuer, is a drunk with no memory of that night. The case has long been closed by the police but the Contessa has never believed it was an accident and is desperate to know the truth before she dies.
I have always liked this series and it was pleasure to re-enter the lives of Brunetti and his wife, Paola. The way in which he and Signorina Elettra artlessly manoeuvre their boss, Patta, into doing exactly what they want is a joy. And it is always a pleasure to see Elettra take on the devious Lieutenant Scarpa, since you know who is going to win in that encounter. In addition to the usual police crew this book also gives more space to Claudio Griffoni a female officer who has appeared in previous books and who now develops a charming relationship with the child-like Manuela. .
As well as the investigation the story touches on the new wave of African migrants who are setting up home in Venice; the destruction of the ‘old’ Venice and its redevelopment to accommodate the needs of foreign buyers; plus the ever present menace of cyber hacking.
To be honest I didn’t like this story as much as previous Brunetti books. It seemed to meander rather than being driven. The conclusion, when it arrived, was satisfactory but seemed to happen almost by accident.
It is a book worth reading and I will, of course, read the next book in the series, because I love the characters, but felt I had to dock one star because of the lack of pace. (Plus on a totally personal note I am beginning to find the way Brunetti and Paola think only classical history and Henry James are worth reading, a tad irritating – and this from an author who writes popular fiction!)

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