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Arthur Piper

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Price: 4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb collection of writing on crime, 22 April 2014
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This review is from: Crime (Kindle Edition)
If you're interested in crime and how writers are inspired by it to create the stories they do, buy this book

Price: 5.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful time-travel thriller, 6 Feb 2014
This review is from: [Sequoia] (Kindle Edition)
It seems to Peter Strauss that his lover Rachel Garlans, who has been thrown back in time four hundred years in a time travel experiment gone wrong, is well and truly dead. Not only that, in this follow-on to Sequence, a bunch of well-motivated, powerful villains want Strauss dead. But someone is on his side - and Strauss doesn't know who. As he begins to question whether Rachel is in fact dead, the net tightens - and separated by both continents and time there seems to be little he can do about it.

With this book, Dawson is fast becoming one of the grand masters of the time travel thriller - working cleverly within its confines to drive his story forward with exciting pace, action-packed sequences and tension. The twists are always plausible and often surprising - and never clever just for the sake of it. There is a fair dose of sardonic humour too. The ending when it comes is totally satisfying. This is bound to make his existing fans jump for joy and win him lots more new readers.

The Lives of Ghosts
The Lives of Ghosts
Price: 3.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate gothic chiller, 21 May 2012
For Liberty Fuller the haunted loch house contains a secret buried in her distant past. Recently pregnant, she sets off on a long-delayed trip to face the truth about what happened one summer at the house and put her ghosts to rest. The narrative cleverly switches between 1/ the adult Liberty's present journey to the remote Scottish holiday home and 2/ the young Liberty's stay at the loch house with her step-mother Marie all those years ago. Liberty's obvious hatred and resentment of Marie are intensified by the spooky and isolated landscape, which is described beautifully by Taylor. And it quickly becomes clear that instead of recuperating from the recent death of her parents, Liberty is allowing her own ghosts to drag her inexorably into another, more sinister psychological landscape where tragedy lurks.

While other reviewers have described Taylor's writing as lyrical - and she is brilliant at atmosphere - the story unfolds at a good pace and becomes genuinely gripping. By the time the denouement comes, you are so engrossed in the characters' lives that it hits with real impact. Taylor doesn't hold back and doesn't disappoint. If you want comparisons with other authors, perhaps the gothic atmosphere of Shirley Jackson, and the emotional depth of Stephen King, spring most readily to my mind - but Taylor's writing is fresh and original. This is a powerful story, powerfully told.

by Adrian Dawson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquently plotted - a great read, 11 Oct 2011
This review is from: Sequence (Paperback)
This second thriller by Adrian Dawson sees him really getting into his stride as a writer. While I greatly enjoyed his previous novel Codex, Sequence is more polished and eloquently plotted.

The story gets going immediately with a bizarre mystery that Nick Lambert, the main character, sets out to resolve. Dawson skilfully interweaves two plots - the murder mystery, and a science project that aims to exploit the properties of an alien material found in the Russian wastes. The tension rises as the two stories begin to converge around the enigmatic character of Sarah Fiddes. The capers that follow should keep you reading and guessing late into the night, as they did with me.

Time travel plots are very difficult to pull off, especially since the ending has to be both logically inevitable while remaining concealed from the reader. I think that Dawson manages this balancing act incredibly well because he exploits the paradoxical nature of time set out in the book. The novel is worth a read from that point alone. But the writing is also strong and the characterisation ends up transcending the usual cliches associated with the genre, which make it a pleasure to read.

Science fiction, or scientific fiction? If you like either, give Sequence a go. You won't be disappointed.

A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life (Penguin Press Science)
A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life (Penguin Press Science)
by J. Craig Venter
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science is politics by other means, 12 July 2010
If you ever were mistaken in thinking that science was the rational pursuit of objective knowledge, this autobiography will finally cure you of that misconception. This is a brilliant account of how one man's drive to be the best in science sets him against most of his contemporaries, including the Nobel Laureate James Watson. Venter's grant applications for cutting-edge work are blocked through jealousy, hatred and spite; and Venter is not exempt from political motivation in his various ventures.

Part of Venter's genius was to realise early on that great strides forward in genetic research would only come through using the most up-to-date robotics and computing to automate sequencing. This set everyone else against him, partly because their slow methods of work enabled each to gain fame for his or her own bit of DNA: a process and scientific world blown apart by Venter.

Venter intersperses his account with a running commentary on his sailing exploits, which breaks up the narrative. Some of the science could have been explained more simply, but you can hum through the bits you don't know because the basic story steams on. Riveting.

The Feeling Of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness
The Feeling Of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness
by Antonio Damasio
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rational emotions: emotional rationality, 12 July 2010
Damasio's work is among the most important to emerge in the theory of neuroscience in the past decade. His svelte writing style and his understanding of a broad range of philosophical ideas about the brain and mind make this an excellent if challenging introduction to the subject.

As I understand it, his most important idea is that all thought entails emotional content because the mind and body work together to create our understanding of the world. Feeling and thinking are fundamentally mixed. That means that even logic and rational argumentation has its basis in our body and our emotions, which might help explain why rational debate can get so heated!

This idea is important because critics often separate science and art - one belongs purely to the mind, the other to the heart. Damasio challenges that idea.

There is a philosophical problem buried in Damasio's argument though. Damasio says that our representations of the world formed by our body join with those formed by our minds. But he does not define the word representation well enough for this argument to totally convince. This fudge over the issue of representation and image - a key plank of his theoretical argument - runs through all his books.

Along with Daniel Dennett's work, I'd say Damasio is a must read for anyone interested in this area

How to Write Best Selling Fiction
How to Write Best Selling Fiction
by Dean R. Koontz
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The contemporary Dickens, 11 May 2010
Dean Koontz wants you to be a bestselling author. Don't bother with thinly worked out genre novels, or short stories, he argues, concentrate on thickly-layered and complex mainstream books. His advice is based on his own path to writing - initially as a science fiction writer, and later as an international bestselling author. Koontz's direct style will challenge some, but it is well-intentioned. The section on creating a story line is brilliant and there are plenty of tips for strengthening all aspects of your work. Needs re-issuing by the publishers. Warning: it can inspire you to do better.

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