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L. Bezzina (Malta)

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Without Mercy: The Shocking True Story of a Doctor Who Murdered
Without Mercy: The Shocking True Story of a Doctor Who Murdered
by Keith Russell Ablow
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Insane or guilty?, 16 Dec 2011
Bought this book cause i read and enjoyed this author's fiction novels. Mind you, i enjoy true crime books as well but frankly this one did not do it for me. Maybe it might be of interest to young students studying the law or psychiatry, cause it certainly raises the issue of the dilemma commonly encountered in courtrooms regarding the defence claimed by many of not guilty by reason of insanity. That is the inability for the individual to differentiate from right or wrong at the time of the crime. This is the position taken, by Dr Kappler's legal represantation, a doctor who tried to harm some of his own patients and managed to kill a young doctor and seriously injure a woman in a deliberate hit and run. However even the number of experts called to the stand couldnt give a satisfying answer as to what specific disease Kappler was suffering from. The author who was a friend of the hit and run victim tries to be as unbiased as possible and concedes that due to the determination of the entire Kappler family in not co-operating in the making of this book, many questions will probably never be answered. The biggest one of all being why did Kappler did the things he did? Was he really insane or just pure evil? Unlike fiction where generally everything is neatly wrapped up, the reader if interested enough will be kept guessing.


Year of the Intern (Signet)
Year of the Intern (Signet)
by Robin Cook
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £4.75

3.0 out of 5 stars Very realistic, 10 Dec 2011
This was the very first Robin Cook novel, written almost 40 years ago, a lifetime ago you might say. However, many of the things mentioned in this book still hold true today and i should know since i actually earn my living from the health care setting.
First off, it must be said that this is a different novel from the many more that followed it thereafter. Although it s classified as fiction, i must say that it is only part fiction and part biography of a young intern going up the ladder to becoming an experienced, fully qualified doctor. The book takes a cynical but extremely realistic view of how a young intern enters the medical world, full of idealisms and expectations and how they are shattered in his battle to survive the journey ahead. Many times unfortunately even at the expense of the patient's best interests and well-being.
If you do not work in the medical field or do not have the interest in the routine life of a doctor doing his chores, you will probably find this book boring. However, it is an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse into what happens behind the big, closed hospital doors around the world.


The Trafficked
The Trafficked
Price: £1.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, 17 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Trafficked (Kindle Edition)
As the title of the book clearly indicates, this is a story of human trafficking in Asia, mainly in The Phillipines. Ok the book is fiction, but the truth is that the things mentioned here are really happening in that part of the world on a daily basis. My point being that it makes for a really difficult and disturbing subject to write about. So i praise the author, especially due to her gender, for having the audacity to write about the subject in such graphic detail, without pulling the brakes. I saw that this was not taken well by many reviewers, but i am sure that this was done in order to open up the Western world's eyes to the horrors that are truly happening in the Middle East with the authorities knowing and doing nothing about it! You only have to take the time to look at the author's biography in her website to see what she passed through in her younger days, to realise that she knows a lot about the subject and that her concern is genuine.
As to the novel itself, it left off from her first book in the Johnny Mann series 'The Trophy Taker' so i strongly suggest to read that first as it tackles excellently the subject of the triads in Hong Kong, making this one easier to grasp. Also, apart from Mann himself there are some other characters here from the previous book. As already said this book is not for the faint hearted and the squeamish, as it has some scenes of violence that are very graphic.
The plot runs at a fast pace, too much for my liking at times, a little a la James Patterson perhaps and that is not a compliment for Weeks, as i think she is a more genuine, caring writer, although inexperienced. There are some errors in the writing that really a good editor should have corrected; in which sometimes you really do not know who is talking which i found frankly frustrating.
All said and done i think this author is good and has the potential to do better and she certainly does not need the name of Patterson attached to her book's covers.


Dark Places
Dark Places
by Thomas Altman
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Places, 29 Sep 2011
This review is from: Dark Places (Paperback)
Another great and sadly forgotten book by Thomas Altman, aka Campbell Armstrong. If u ve read previous books written under the Altman name u will know what to expect and wont be disappointed.
A young woman's happy marriage slowly turns into a nightmare as she becomes to be stalked by a stranger, and at the same time begins to discover and unearth things from her husband's mysterious past and family. And once a can of worms is opened there is no telling what might get out.
A lovely short novel, not for the faint hearted. It's a shame books like these are not written anymore.


Abandoned
Abandoned
by Cody Mcfadyen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Latest of the Smoky Barrett series - hope not last!, 16 Sep 2011
This review is from: Abandoned (Paperback)
Abandoned is the fourth installment in an excellent series of FBI agent Smoky Barrett and her team. I strongly suggest to read them in order to get to know the stories of said team although the author in each book always gives a brief resume of their history. Also, so as to avoid any spoilers should u want to read his other works later on.
Although the novel reviewed here is good, it is by far the weaker in the series in my opinion, and that of many other reviewers here i noticed. Hence another reason to start with the first two; The Shadow Man and The Face of Death which i think are simply flawless. Even the ending here is disappointing and not up to standard to what fans like me are used to with McFadyen's books.
Without giving anything away, the story is another horrifying ordeal for our heroine Smoky (i really wonder how much more she can take, even with all the love she has for her job). During a wedding of one of her team mates, a woman gets dumped from a passing car in front of them, very traumatised but alive. It later emerges that she had been abducted many years ago and vanished in thin air. The case seems cut out for Smoky and her team, and the more they dig the more they realise that they may be up against one of the worst and most intelligent psychopaths ever...
A brief personal note to the author to say what is really annoying (one famous author i had the pleasure to meet a few years ago once told me that a lot of authors like to read the reviews here on Amazon)in his excellent books. It is the fact that he has to remind us every few pages what a wonderful team Smoky has, in that they are all the best in the world at what they do, Smoky is the best shooter, Alan the best interrogator, even Kirby (a completely unnecessary character, a known killer but friend of the FBI!!!)who is not part of the team but acts like it, the best assassin ever! Also the sex references made almost every page by Kirby and Callie, a female member of the team were annoying and frustrating to put it mildly. Sorry but had to say that.
Maybe a stand alone novel would be a great idea right now, if only to give poor Smoky a much deserved rest.


Black Christmas
Black Christmas
by Thomas Altman
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will chill you to the bone, 27 Aug 2011
This review is from: Black Christmas (Paperback)
Thomas Altman is none other than a pen name used by popular writer Campbell Armstrong. It was a name he used in the early 80's for 5 novels of pure terror, so unlike the style he moved on to in more recent years. In fact anyone who will take the time to visit his website can notice that there is no mention whatsoever of these early Altman books. A pity as although these books seem to have been forgotten by everyone and are dying a slow death, despite being relatively short by today's standards are still much better than books of the same genre being published nowadays.
Ok, if u look at the book here reviewed with a critical eye for details u will find quite a few to go on about, such as the police smoking at the scene of the crime, not dusting for prints after break ins from the perpetrator and much more. But please bear in mind that this was written in 1983 and anyway it isnt really a forensic novel. Apart from these minor slips, rarely have i read a book that kept me at the edge of my seat such as this one. It is christmas time in bleak, small town Murdock where nothing ever happens. However this christmas there s a difference; young local girls are being murdered in vicious ways. And all have one thing in common to sheriff Dunsmore....he is acquainted with all of them. So are the murders the random act of a madman or are they something more personal, bringing the terror closer to home? Read and enjoy!


The Brave
The Brave
by Nicholas Evans
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars In a class of his own!, 17 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Brave (Hardcover)
Although personally i liked Nicholas Evans's latest (and most probably last) book, as indicated by the 5 stars i gave it, i can totally understand the negative reviews many fellow readers made. Without a shadow of a doubt this is the weaker novel of all the 5 he has written. His previous works are all absolutely fantastic especially The Divide and The Smoke Jumper. This one was simply good, liked but not loved as i have all the others. Perhaps this was also due to the fact that halfway through writing this book, the author got seriously ill and hurried to finish it. Hence the length of time it took to finish and the hasty way it seemed to be done.
The story line as so often is the case with this author's books goes from past to present in quick succession. Maybe it would have been nice to know the year we are in prior to each chapter. We go from Tommy's difficult childhood, from his bed wetting days at home and boarding school in England to more happy days with a new life in the USA living his western american dreams for real, in a beautiful house, luxury and happiness. Until it all goes tragically wrong...
The present Tom is a grown up man, ex alcoholic, just out of a bitter divorce from a woman he still loves and a son who hates him. However when Danny, his son, comes home from the war in Iraq accused of a very serious crime, he has the chance to make amends and be the father that he never was before then.
At times a bit unrealistic but extremely moving above all else, Nicholas Evans is a master storyteller about life issues and how a fine line there really is between happiness and tragedy.
Knowing that as i am writing this, the author is on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, i take the opportunity to wish him all the best and to get well soon.


The Echo Man: (Byrne & Balzano 5)
The Echo Man: (Byrne & Balzano 5)
by Richard Montanari
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.06

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Echo Man, 5 Aug 2011
Another addition in the Balzano/ Byrne series which started with The Rosary Girls a few years back. That was and probably will remain the best in the series.
Although i was and still am a fan of Montanari's books, i feel that the more recent ones (including the one here reviewed) are a bit of a let down from his earlier works. As another reviewer rightly observed, i feel that his plots are starting to be slightly over complicated, which may work quite well for some but for me a bit less.
Mind you, it is still a very good thriller, like all his books, with an ending that i absolutely didnt anticipate. Really like Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne and the way their friendship has evolved from book to book. The bad guy in the book is one to be remembered, both in his brutality and originality. He kills and re-creates previous murder scenes in the city's history, that all have one thing in common; they were all unsolved murders. Gets a bit slow towards the middle but leads to a very exciting finale.
Can be easily read as a stand alone novel, as there arent any give aways to previous books but all the same would suggest to read in order, so as to get to know the main characters better. Looking forward for next installment!


The Calling of the Grave
The Calling of the Grave
by Simon Beckett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.69

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing is ever what it seems, 11 July 2011
The Calling of the Grave is the 4th installment in the Dr David Hunter series. While it can be easily read as a stand alone novel, i highly recommend that u go through the series in order as some important facts regarding the 2nd Hunter book are given away here that may spoil a bit of your enjoyment later on.
I agree with some reviewers here that this is definitely the weaker book so far in this excellent series. And yet i still gave it 5 stars without thinking twice, so highly i rate this author. It is just that the others were on a level that is rarely reached and this was just normally good.
As usual Beckett is an excellent researcher on everything he writes on about and he manages even this time round to give us an excellent picture of the bleak atmosphere of the setting the story is set in. Really liked that the novel starts with 8 years in the past, as it gives us a glimpse in the life of Hunter before we knew him.
Roughly without giving anything away the story starts with Hunter aiding the police in locating the bodies of a convicted serial killer. However all their attempts fail miserably and they return empty handed. 8 years later,after learning of the killer s escape from prison Hunter receives a phone call from one of the original members of the search team. And before long Hunter finds himself immersed in a case that was long buried and forgotten...
The typical twist in the tale at the end that Beckett is so good at makes him one of the best authors in my opinion and i m really amazed to learn that he is not so popular in the UK, country of his origin. Guess we ll have to wait quite a bit for the 5th Hunter book, but i m sure that as always it will be worth the wait.


The Face of Death
The Face of Death
by Cody Mcfadyen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stranger, 13 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Face of Death (Paperback)
Never since the Hannibal Lecter series have i come upon a serial killer so terrifying in his cruelty and intelligence. This is not your typical serial killer book that we have so much in abundance, seeing that they sell so well. It s a book that will be remembered as few others in the genre manage to, with an exceptional bad guy, who even our hero Smoky Barrett has trouble analysing.
A word of caution, this novel is the second one in the Smoky Barrett series and i strongly advice to read them in order as the perpetrator of the first book (The Shadow Man)is revealed at one point in the book here reviewed. To be frank, i didnt have much doubt who the bad man aka The Stranger was going to be here, and i was right. Not enough red herring maybe. It s the only small fault of this book, if you could call it that. Otherwise it s a great read, in particular i really enjoyed reading the chapters on Sarah's diary. Really horrifying, not for the faint hearted.
Looking forward to read the next two in the series, by this bright new talent!


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