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The Killing Lessons
The Killing Lessons
by Saul Black
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner, 12 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: The Killing Lessons (Hardcover)
Brilliant book - the real definition of a page turner. The chapters are all relatively short and each leaves you desperate to know what happens next as they swap point of view between the Detective, victim(s) and killers! I wolfed it down and highly recommend it to anyone who's not too squeamish!


By Blood We Live (The Last Werewolf 3) (The Last Werewolf Trilogy)
By Blood We Live (The Last Werewolf 3) (The Last Werewolf Trilogy)
by Glen Duncan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The man's a genius, 12 Feb. 2014
This is a brilliant conclusion to the trilogy that began with The Last Werewolf and continued with Tallula Rising, each one delving slightly deeper into the werewolf myth. I would definitely advise reading them first before coming to this, as a number of plotlines are continued and expanded upon. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, as there are so many twists and turns that anything I did say would give something away but needless to say, there are plenty of werewolves and vampires, a religious group of soldiers dedicated to eradicating them from the world, chases, gun fights and killings, all linked together by Duncan’s sublime prose. He has a way with words that should make most other writers just give up. Don’t worry if you don’t like horror – I’m not a massive fan myself, but Duncan is first and foremost a great writer of literary fiction (see Hope, Love Remains and A day, a night and a day for examples) and he brings that tone to this set of books. The book is populated with the most interesting characters, who deliberate on popular culture, classic literature and, of course, the meaning of it all. It’s a strange experience to find yourself siding with a werewolf and almost (almost!) beginning to think there may be some truth in all this. One difference with this book compared to the first two is the number of first person narrators employed – you get to delve into the thoughts of vampires in depth for the first time, as well as humans and werewolves. And each of them is an amazingly distinct, articulate character you look forward to hearing from again.

Glen Duncan is a genius. For me, he is the most talented writer working in Britain today and yet he seems largely unknown. I have no idea why, as everyone I pass one of his books to, loves him (admittedly, I pick people who don’t mind the odd bit of graphic violence and/or sex in their reading material). And while it’s nice to feel like I’m in on a great secret (like someone who discovers a great band and is then disappointed when they become the next big thing) I hate the idea of Mr Duncan not being popular enough to make a living from writing and, God forbid, stopping… i for one cannot wait to see what he does next. So, please buy his books... All of them... Now!


Stone Junction: An Alchemical Pot-Boiler
Stone Junction: An Alchemical Pot-Boiler
by Jim Dodge
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good... Until the last quarter, 3 Sept. 2012
Reading through the reviews for this book, it seems it has divided opinion between those who love it and see it as one of the best novels ever written and those who just don't get it. I sit somewhere in the middle. I thoroughly enjoyed the first three quarters of it, as the array of unique characters, each with their own skill to pass on made for a range of fun tales. In this respect, it reminds me of A Fraction of the Whole, though this is the superior novel. The novel then slips into a magical theme, though it does this entirely seriously, reminding me of Paul Auster's Mr Vertigo. So far, so good then (though I would argue that the novel is very good, not a brilliant, life changing work and hence the four star review). Where the book really lost its way for me was in the final quarter - it became slightly confusing and the ending was a real anticlimax for me. Still, I'm glad to have read it and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good yarn - just don't expect to be re-reading it.


One (1953) (America Reads: Rediscovered Fiction and Nonfiction from Key Periods in American History)
One (1953) (America Reads: Rediscovered Fiction and Nonfiction from Key Periods in American History)
by David Karp
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent read but nowhere near 1984 or Brave New World, 23 April 2012
I just finished reading this, as comparisons with 1984 and Brave New World (two amazing novels) meant I just had to purchase it. It was certainly an enjoyable read, but to consider it as on a par with these classics is too much. In fact it reminded me more of the last section of A Clockwork Orange than anything but it's still not quite as good as Burgess' classic dystopian novel.
One is a quick read and makes some interesting points about a government forcing an individual to fit in with a certain world view and what methods may (or may not) achieve this. The language and style have not aged particularly well, as it seems Karp lacked the ability to craft the timeless prose of Orwell or Huxley. It's still worth a read though, just don't expect too much - I thought this may join the ranks of `best books I've ever read' but it fell somewhat short.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2013 2:22 PM BST


Talulla Rising (The Last Werewolf Trilogy)
Talulla Rising (The Last Werewolf Trilogy)
by Glen Duncan
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling read, 23 April 2012
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Glen Duncan is, for my money, the best contemporary writer Britain has. His earlier work was full of poignant scenes detailing tales of love and loss and I loved it. The Last Werewolf was far more plot driven than any of his previous work but along with the author's usual terrific prose, this additional thrilling element made me want to turn the pages even quicker. I was slightly worried by how quickly this sequel came out, as it may have been rushed but there was no need for concern. This is just as good as its predecessor, with the same thoughts on life and human nature, interspersed with thrilling scenes of intense action. It's a fantastic combination and I eagerly await the final instalment.
After that though, it would be nice if Duncan could leave horror behind and return to the themes of some of his earlier work, particularly Hope and Love Remains. If you liked The Last Werewolf you will love this. And if you prefer literacy fiction, it's still worth a try but maybe start with one of his earlier novels.


Shortcomings
Shortcomings
by Adrian Tomine
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet, 8 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Shortcomings (Hardcover)
This is the second graphic novel I've read, after the incredibly disappointing Watchmen. And thankfully this was far better. It analyses human relationships in an really perceptive way and holds individual selfishness to account. My only criticism would be it was over too soon, but I'd thoroughly recommend this to anyone who loves novels but wouldn't mind trying a graphic novel - excellent.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 13, 2012 5:44 PM GMT


Escape: The True Story of the Only Westerner Ever to Break Out of the Bangkok Hilton
Escape: The True Story of the Only Westerner Ever to Break Out of the Bangkok Hilton
by David McMillan
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Worst in the genre, 8 Feb. 2012
I have read and enjoyed many of this type of book over the years but this was very poor in comparison. It's just a badly written, rambling book. A good edit would probably make it decent but it's too late now. Please avoid this and read the original and best - Papillon, or go for one of the many that have come since - Marching Powder, The Damage Done, Mr Nice etc. This is not worth the time and I regret ever picking it up when so many other books are sat on my shelves.


The Last Werewolf
The Last Werewolf
by Glen Duncan
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glen Duncan continues his amazing work..., 6 April 2011
This review is from: The Last Werewolf (Hardcover)
I have read and loved all of Glen Duncan's books and so was delighted when I heard this was being published. You'll struggle to find an author whose novels encompass a more diverse range of subjects (loss of love, the devil incarnate, extraordinary rendition, life after death) but even so, I was surprised to hear he'd chosen to take on werewolves in this latest offering. But, along with Haruki Murakami, he is my favourite author and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

I was not disappointed - Duncan's delicious turn of phrase is still there, along with his ability to reduce a whole raft of human experiences to a few choice sentences. But there is something new here as well - The Last Werewolf is far more plot driven than any of Duncan's previous works. Indeed, there were moments in the middle of the book that almost reminded me of Clive Cussler (someone I loved as a teenager), as helicopters swooped in and armed men descended on a heavily fortified house.

This isn't a criticism at all, because along with the author's usual terrific prose, this additional thrilling element only made me want to turn the pages even quicker. Existing fans of Glen Duncan's will love this, but I suspect the fact it is about Werewolves may put off the casual reader - don't let it! I am on a bit of a mission to raise Glen Duncan's profile as I truly believe he is the best British writer working today. The fact this novel already has more reviews than all his others except I, Lucifer suggests maybe his time has finally come - let's hope so...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2011 6:51 PM BST


Hope
Hope
by Glen Duncan
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An under-appreciated masterpiece, 5 April 2011
This review is from: Hope (Paperback)
I first discovered Glen Duncan's writing a few years ago after reading a few reviews of I, Lucifer on Amazon. I bought it, read it and marvelled at it and since then have devoured all his books, saving this one, Hope, as I just knew I was going to love it. I certainly wasn't wrong and I am confused as to why Mr Duncan is not better known because he has such an intense way of writing and a beautiful way with words that he must rank among the best British novelists working today.

In this he expertly tells the story of one man's discovery (and subsequent loss of) love, alongside some quite dark recollections from his childhood. It is exquisitely written and it's about time more people became familiar with this author's work. My only criticism would be that the much hinted-at horrific betrayal that is finally revealed at the end of the book really isn't that bad (and so the resulting break seems a bit harsh) but maybe that's just me? Regardless, go out and buy every one of Glen Duncan's books right now, especially this and Love Remains.


Popular Music (P.S.)
Popular Music (P.S.)
by Mikael Niemi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok..., 20 July 2010
This review is from: Popular Music (P.S.) (Paperback)
I was really looking forward to reading this - I thought I would love it. Books like `NaÔve Super' and `All my friends are superheroes' link to it on this site and most reviews are extremely positive. Sadly, it soon became obvious it was never going to reach the heights I expected. I think the main problem with it is the fact it reads exactly like a memoir but it's a novel. As such, slightly unusual and bizarre goings on lose their impact. Also, I was expecting much more emphasis on music's impact on the narrator - The Beatles and Elvis are mentioned but only in passing. They are hardly key themes of the book. In fact, the biggest musical contribution is the storyteller's attempts to learn the guitar and get in a band - hardly the most inspirational of events for a work of fiction.
It's certainly well written and some of the stories are funny but it just doesn't do enough. To conclude - it's ok, but I wish I'd picked something else off the shelf as I'm sure I own much better books in which I could have invested my time more wisely.


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