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Profile for David McGloin > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
David McGloin (Fife, UK)

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Days of Atonement
Days of Atonement
by Michael Gregorio
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Well told tale, 13 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Days of Atonement (Paperback)
This murder mystery takes place in early 19th century Prussia and centres around a gruesome murder of a family in their woodland home. A local prosecuter and an investigator from the occupying French are forced together to lok into the crime.

The book is undoubtedly well written and makes a fairly compelling read. The strengths are the evokation of the grim existence of the many characters through the harsh Prussian winter and the sense of time, place and cold shine clearly through.

The mystery element however is rather slight and I found it to be somewhat underwhelming and disappointing as the truth is uncovered. The pace at the start of the book is also rather slow and I had to force myself to stick with it as things warmed up - which I think was worthwhile overall.

I haven't read the first book featuring the main character, 'Critique of Criminal Reason' and I don't think this mattered very much. My opinion of 'Days of Atonement' is such that I suspect I won't be rushing out to buy it.

A good tale, but ultimately a little disappointing.

Absolute Friends
Absolute Friends
by John Le Carré
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly plotted thriller, 3 Jan. 2005
This review is from: Absolute Friends (Paperback)
Even without the immediately relevant political commentary 'Absolute Friends' is a superb read. The plotting, dialogue and particularly the characterisation are wonderful and teach the modern crop of techno thriller writers a thing or two aboput what is needed to make a captivating read. The story hinges around the friendship of our two heros, Ted Mundy and Sasha and how their relationship evolves through and beyond cold war Europe into the modern era of disinformation that currently suurounds the Iraq war. The story builds up slowly sketching the background of Mundy, the main protaganist and how he ends up becoming involved in cold war espionage with his friend Sasha. The ending is one of the best I've read in quite some time demonstrating that Le Carre is still up there with the best.

by Michael Frayn
Edition: Paperback

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Art History, poor farce, 19 Jun. 2000
This review is from: Headlong (Paperback)
After reading the reviews on this book seemed some sort of mixture between Simon Schama and Tom Sharpe. But it falls way, way short. The art history elements of the story, relating to Brueghal and Dutch art during his livetime, are interesting and certainly make the book worth reading (I have an inclination to rush off to see many of the pictures highlighted in the book). The rest of the story however is rather poor. I can't say I laughed once, or even found much very amusing. The whole thing is just absurd rather than farcical. The characters, particualrly the two females in the story are poorly developed and hardly believable. The ending is a bit of a cop out and not too hard to guess. All in all a bit of a disappointment. Headlong is interesting and certainly worth a few hours of your time but like reviewer,, I find it hard to see why this was Booker nominated.

by Robert Harris
Edition: Paperback

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good "historical" thriller with a slightly weak ending, 27 Oct. 1999
This review is from: Archangel (Paperback)
Harris's third history based novel, following Fatherland and Enigma is set in a modern day Russian struggling to come to terms with capatilist reforms. Harris' hero is Fluke Kelso, a somewhat down at heel Russian history expert. Fluke stumbles across some secret papers said to be a diary kept by Joseph Stalin himself. This startling find leads Fluke to the northern Russian city of Archangel and sets him face to face with an area of Russian history he had thought long since dead.
Fans of Harris' previous novels will enjoy this one, with it's well written insight into the recent past coupled with a enjoyable thriller. But personally, although I enjoyed the book I found the ending rather weak ( a reoccurance from the other novels) - the shocks weren't that shocking and the final twists and turns weren't really very exciting. The build up is well paced but the ending lacks that punch which makes a very good (four or five stars) thriller.

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