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Reviews Written by
Paperback Reader "hobbsintheeast" (Rugby, England)

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Backlands: A Novel of the American West (American West Trilogy)
Backlands: A Novel of the American West (American West Trilogy)
by Michael McGarrity
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.16

5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Second Visiting of the Kerney Family, 15 Mar. 2016
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This novel is the author's second novel following the fortunes of the Kerney family and takes the action towards the end of World War Two. Like its predecessor in the series it moves at pace and has some surprising turns. Mr McGarrity writes with an easy style and encourages the reader to turn the page. The characters are flawed and this is their great charm, for as they survive and prosper they must adapt and change.
For the new reader it would be help if they read the novels in chronological order, but each novel ("Bad Country" and "Back Lands") stands in its own right.
The West is a tough place and we are asked to join in that toughness with characters who are equally tough but their flaws add to the drama.


Hard Country
Hard Country
by Michael McGarrity
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a Western Novel, 20 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Hard Country (Paperback)
This one of the most enjoyable books that I have read in a long time. This is a family story running over three generations of the Kerneys and the various people and events that they confront in post-American Civil War New Mexico up to the end of World War One. Over fifty years they battle the environment, outlaws, corrupt politicians and their own demons.
McGarrity writes with an easy style and makes each page and chapter a page turner.. Comparisons have been made between him and Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy and they are valid. 'Hard Country' is more than a western novel. It has more ambition as a novel with a range of characters who develop and change in response to the external situations that they face.
'Hard Country' is the first in a trilogy that McGarrity is planning. I look forward to reading the further episodes.


Irène: Book One of the Brigade Criminelle Trilogy (Verhoeven Trilogy 1)
Irène: Book One of the Brigade Criminelle Trilogy (Verhoeven Trilogy 1)
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I always enjoy reading crime fiction which break the mould, 17 Feb. 2016
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I always enjoy reading crime fiction which break the mould. LeMaitre certainly produces a new type of detective, not always glamorous and in the end not fully successful. The author creates a believable environment and ambiance and the links to other novels (which are key to the story but it is not necessary to have read the works) produces an interesting twist.


1491: The Americas Before Columbus
1491: The Americas Before Columbus
Price: £8.54

5.0 out of 5 stars I read this book on an electronic device which was fine apart from the fact that the maps which are ..., 17 Feb. 2016
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This one of those books that challenges your assumptions and many attitudes that have become statements of fact in the common ways of looking at ecology and green issues. (Like many of Jared Diamond's works) it makes you think, in this case about what was there in the Americas, how it operated, how sophisticated it was and how European intervention was to change the status quo. And of course it wasn't open to go back to what was in part an idyll - politics, technology, disease and imported pests changed the game forever.
I read this book on an electronic device which was fine apart from the fact that the maps which are critical to full understanding of Mann's ideas are largely useless on a small screen.


All for Nothing
All for Nothing
Price: £9.49

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Germany in 1945, 6 Jan. 2016
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This review is from: All for Nothing (Kindle Edition)
This is a difficult novel for any one who believes that Germany's suffering in 1945 is largely self generated.
The story covers a family at the end of World War Two in the east of Germany and the collapse of the structure of society in the face of the Russians moving west. Some of the parts of the German Reich continue to exist - the obsession with bureaucracy and the oppression. The family's story is told through three of its members mother, son and 'Auntie' . The father of the family is in Italy and one senses his absence gives the three characters a greater freedom, and so, for example the mother hides a Jewish refugee in her house with consequences from which she will suffer
The novel was of interest because of the subject. What were the German population thinking and experiencing at the end of the war? As such the answer was not surprising. They experienced fear, deprivation and chaos. Was I as sympathetic as I could have been? Probably not as I knew the backstory.


Stoner: A Novel (Vintage Classics)
Stoner: A Novel (Vintage Classics)
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read, 6 Jan. 2016
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All Williams's novels hit the mark although they all cover different eras and subjects. The talent of the author is considerable; the ability to make his subject hold the plot together in fairly ordinary times and situations shows a considerable talent. I first read Stoner when it was initially published. I was captivated. I read it in one sitting. This time it took me two days but the novel retains its clarity and vision.


Dog Day
Dog Day
by Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Dogs in Catalonia, 29 May 2014
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This review is from: Dog Day (Paperback)
Who couldn't choose this book by the cover alone? Particularly if you like dogs and the image isn't a million miles from your own pet hound.
I read this novel while on a holiday near Barcelona. It is this city that is the backdrop to Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett's novel featuring a pair of Barcelona's finest Petra Delicado and Fermin Garzon (and naturally various dogs). The couple are ill matched yet work successfully as a team. They also have complicated romances which add to the complexities of the story telling. The novel starts with the death of a man who appears to have a very limited background of acquaintances, and his dog who does elementary detective work for the two detectives. From this start there is more canine detective work, canine psychology and much confusion particularly as Fermin ends up dating two dog trainers.There is comedy to be enjoyed and a good and complicated ending. Well worth a read.


A Colder War (Thomas Kell Spy Thriller, Book 2)
A Colder War (Thomas Kell Spy Thriller, Book 2)
by Charles Cumming
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A summer holiday read, 29 May 2014
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This really quite an average spy novel. Well written but nothing to make the toes curl in anticipation. In fact it is rather predictable and cliched. Perhaps a summer holiday read but not a game changer as far as the genre is concerned.


Galveston
Galveston
by Nic Pizzolatto
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Southern Noir, 18 May 2014
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This review is from: Galveston (Paperback)
There is much admire in this dark novel. It is not 'True Detective' in concept, story telling or scale (and incidentally I marvel at how much the two main actors bring to the TV show).
Galveston starts with pace, evil and an interesting plot line. The middle of the novel is about a journey that the two main characters take. A journey which is both physical and emotionally stretching. Sadly all the characters are somewhat two dimensional and Mr Pizzolatto will need to flesh characters out more in future novels. Which is partly why I wonder how much Harrelson and McConaughy bought to the TV series in terms of putting character flesh on the storylines. The latter part of the novel brings a well paced credible conclusion, if somewhat predictable.
A good light and satisfying Southern noir novel.


Colfax
Colfax
Price: £12.30

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From George Pelecanos to Willy Vlautin to Richmond Fontaine to The Delines, 8 May 2014
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This review is from: Colfax (Audio CD)
I was pushed into reading Willy Vlautin by comments made by George Pelecanos on a book programme. I loved what I read (and I recommend the books highly). From his novels a logical step to Richmond Fontaine and again there is an artistry, a story telling and genuine feeling in their music. And now The Delines, where WV and his colleagues weave a new magic. Beautiful songs well sung by Amy Boone and carefully set in a country background. But this is more than country again it is Willy telling stories some of them achingly painful (Flight 31/the Oil Rigs at Night/He told her the City was Killing Him). As always this is a different America - darker,pained and painful. There is no froth, no consumerism and no TV view of an always successful society.
I am in awe of your varied talents. More please.


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