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Reviews Written by
R. A. Mansfield "bertieronbob" (Brighton)

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Black As Snow
Black As Snow
by Nick Nolan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.64

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull and unengaging, 29 Sep 2012
This review is from: Black As Snow (Paperback)
This was the second 'spiritual' thriller in succession I have read and neither particularly came up to scratch.

Black As Snow specifically is just too leaden and uninspiring to make want to read any more of the same author.

It's no Spoiler to say that the plot is 'very' loosely based on Snow White - therein any similarity ends.

The characters for the most part are either cardboard cutouts or sweeping generisations and cliches.

Please avoid this book!

The Dirty Streets of Heaven (Bobby Dollar)
The Dirty Streets of Heaven (Bobby Dollar)
by Tad Williams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining, 15 Sep 2012
I really enjoyed this. It's a bit of a nutty, leftfield ride, but highly entertaining at the same time.

Bobby Dollar is an Angel Advocate, who pleads the case for the recently dead to enter Heaven.

Naturally, he has to go up against his opposite numbers from Hell and relations aren't very cordial.

Then things start to go wrong when a dead soul
vanishes and one Hell's prosecutors is killed in mysterious circumstances. And Bobby Dollar ends up in the thick of things and hasn't got a clue what's going on.

Silly, clever, fascinating... Apparently Tad Williams is a 'legend' in the sci-fi world, but I'd never come across him before. However on this evidence I'm looking forward to the next in the Bobby Dollar series

The Trinity Game
The Trinity Game
by Sean Chercover
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly baffling, 29 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Trinity Game (Paperback)
This is essentially a book about the power of faith over scepticism.

Daniel Byrne is basically an investigator for the Vatican who debunks claims of miracles. When a TV evangelist - Tim Trinity - starts predicting the future, Daniel is sent to investigate.

It just so happens that Trinity is Daniel's estranged uncle and is known to be a conman, but somehow Daniel ends up on the run trying to save Trinity's life.

So much for the plot - this had me baffled for a long while, as there seemed to be a number of over-complicated strands that really didn't need to be there.

The central plot line of Daniel and Trinity is great and hangs together well. Unfortunately, it's crowded out by too much other stuff. There's a fantastic and very intriguing book in here fighting to get out. Think it could have done with a better edit.

What In God's Name
What In God's Name
by Simon Rich
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, quirky love story, 29 Aug 2012
This review is from: What In God's Name (Paperback)
Although the premise of 'What In Gods Name' feels fairly original, at heart it's basically a good old- fashioned love story.

God, CEO of Heaven Inc., has lost interest in Earth and 'miracles' that the worker sub-Angels make happen, or answering people's prayers, don't have much excitement any more.

In fact, God wants to destroy Earth... So it's up to a select group of sub-Angeis to stop him and prove him wrong.

Funny, witty, clever and original, this makes you feel warm without the cheese of many regular love stories.

It's short and sweet and you can see the film being made, but that doesn't take away from its appeal. A really uplifting, happy read

Catit Bust It Urine Buster Stain and Odour Remover, 710 ml
Catit Bust It Urine Buster Stain and Odour Remover, 710 ml
Price: 9.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It works!, 29 Aug 2012
We have a lovely - if slightly highly-strung - Siamese who is prone to peeing on the leather sofa and ithe smell often lingers.

However, a couple of sprays with this and - magically - the niff seems to have naffed off.

Reserving slight judgment, but so far so good. Yippee!

Cold Hands
Cold Hands
by John Niven
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine debut thriller, 29 Aug 2012
This review is from: Cold Hands (Hardcover)
Donnie is an expat Scot living the perfect life in North America.

His wife is a rich local newspaper editor, he has a great 6yo son and he earns a living as a writer - something he never believed possible growing up in deprived Ayrshire.

But an initially-unconnected events lead to a shocking denouement that Donnie never expected.

This is a brilliantly taut, credible and deeply unnerving thriller. Without giving the plot away, although the reader is given enough info to guess the ending and connections, nothing can prepare you for what really happens.

A fine thriller debut

In the Darkness: An Inspector Sejer Novel (Inspector Sejer 1)
In the Darkness: An Inspector Sejer Novel (Inspector Sejer 1)
by Karin Fossum
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.53

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, just not great, 2 Aug 2012
Apparently Karin Fossum is revered in Scandinavia with no lesser light than Jo Nesbo feting her.

This is my first experience of an Inspector Sejer novel and, while it possibly won't be my last, i won't be rushing to buy another.

Maybe I'm fatigued by the endless conveyor belt of Scandi crime/thriller writers, but this just didn't move me.

A typical plot with two seemingly-unconnected murders slowly coming together, along with a languid, mildly bland copper trying to make sense of it.

To be honest, nothing really stood out. Not the writing, nor the plot, nor the characterisation. Overall a bit fat 'whatever'.

Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and The Corruption of Britain
Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and The Corruption of Britain
by Tom Watson
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative, but dull, 26 July 2012
The hazard of writing books that are so current is that by the time your reader gets to them, then the plot could have moved on.

So it is with the news hacking scandal outlined in Dial M For Murdoch.

In the last couple of days, as I type, a number of the main players in this story have been charged with various offences, taking the plot way beyong what Watson and Hickman have done.

In a nutshell, this is a chronological account of how the dark practices of - at present - News International came to be exposed.

It is a highly factual account which, to be brutally honest, will probably only appeal to those people who have a genuine interest in the print media, of which I admit I am one.

However, even for the likes of me, it is heavy going.

Tom Watson himself has been at the very heart of the proceedings and, therein, for me lies the major problem with this book.

Watson is consistently referred to in the third person, even though he is one of the co-authors, and that is just weird.

One of the other oddities us the way the News of the World is occasionally referred to as the 'Screws'. This is a common nickname and yet if feels out of place in such a factual account. For example, the Guardian isn't called the Grauniad at any point, even though that nickname is on a par. Unnecessarily pejorative, regardless of the subject matter.

So, for me, although undoubtedly a factually correct account of events, not a massive page turner and unlikely to command a wide audience.

Vanished: David Raker Novel #3
Vanished: David Raker Novel #3
by Tim Weaver
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, dark thriller, 12 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
David Raker is asked to find Sam Wren by his wife Julia, after one morning getting onto the Tube and never getting off.

Meanwhile, 8 months after an almost career-ending rush of blood, the demoted DC Colm Healy returns to work and tried to hunt down The Snatcher.

Little do they both know that, eventually, their paths will cross in a deadly, seemingly unsolvable mystery.

This is a twisting, twisted read that thoroughly satisfies on the intelligent and gore levels.

Dark, damaged main characters nursing years of sorrow and unresolved pain, coupled with an invisible criminal who leaves no trace of anything.

Admittedly, it probably helps if you've read a previous Raker novel, but this is superior stuff from Tim Weaver.

It rattled along and even has some great Underground secrets among its pages.

If you like dark crime thrillers like that of Mo Hayder, this is definitely for you.

by Russell Potter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.66

3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and rather ribald, 3 July 2012
This review is from: Pyg (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Toby is the world's first pig who can read and this is his story. Born in the late 18th century, it tells the story of his journey from being a curiosity to Oxford scholar.

If you've ever read Me Cheeta: The Autobiography or The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his friend Marilyn Monroe, then you'll probably know what to expect. A humorous take on the (auto)biography told through the ideas of a knowing animal, with a heavy sideline in sardonic wit.

Pyg (a nod to Shaw's Pygmalion, no doubt) has a slightly different schtick, because it apes the writing style of Goldsmith and other writers of the era, a feat it manages pretty well, although that does become tiresome to read after a short while.

The later period, when Toby rubs shoulders with real-life people is probably the best bit of the book, again with a nod to the likes of Me Cheeta and The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog.

Overall, then, an entertaining read, but very slim and not always quite hitting the mark.

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