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Gareth Davies

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Cops and Robbers (Picture Puffin)
Cops and Robbers (Picture Puffin)
by Allan Ahlberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest kids books ever!, 10 Aug. 2004
As a boy I could not get enough of this book. I still can't. The pictures are great, the characters are instantly understood and the simple rhyme commits to memory in seconds. What little boy would not want to be Officer Pugh saving the kids toys on Christmas eve? Although I definitely have a soft spot for Peg-Leg Horace, and the picture of him handcuffed round a tree.
As an adult I still talk to my Dad about this book and how much I enjoyed it when we read it together when I was little. And now as a dad-to-be, imagine then how happy I was when I received a new copy from my parents to read to my child when he or she is old enough (although I think it may have been sent for me rather than the baby)! It is solid gold and a must for any parent to get their kids reading and more importantly to enjoy it.

The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code
by Dan Brown
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars From a victim of hype, 16 Oct. 2003
This review is from: The Da Vinci Code (Hardcover)
As an expat in Seoul, I have limited access to newly released English language novels, and when my family came over from Britain to visit recently, a copy of The Da Vinci Code was high on the list of books I asked them to bring with them. The reviews had all been glowing and I really looked forward to reading this. It all turned out to be a bit of an anticlimax.
Before I continue, I do want to say that this could have been a lot worse, I just don't think that it is anywhere near as good as we have all been told. Okay, I grant you that it was a bestseller, but that is merely an indicator that the punters have listened well to where they have been told to spend their money. I am however included in that group, so full marks to the Bantam marketing department for that.
It is a nice concept, and blends supposed historical fact with some very nice ideas into a story that whisks the reader along at a fair old lick. But I felt that this was its downfall. It was over so quickly I was wondering what I had missed. I appreciate that the author was trying to convey the sense of speed as this book covers only the period of a couple of days, but so much I felt was left out. I certainly felt that he killed off two central characters far too quickly, and I believe that unless you can manage a plot twist as skillfully as the ending of the movie 'The Usual Suspects', then at least grant your reader the tiniest amount of information that may indicate something interesting is coming. Also, the unveiling of 'The Teacher' was very clumsily done, essentially rendering all the previous story line regarding the Catholic church pointless, even if it was planned to be the bait in the plot twist trap.
All in all, I think it was a good try, but it just fell too short of the mark for me, maybe another 100 pages would have allowed the author to really do his interesting concept justice. It was entertaining, and for someone looking for some mind candy to take on holiday I would recommend it, but I would also recommend that you do not waste your luggage allowance taking it back home.

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