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Mr. I. S. Clements (U.K)
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Lightning
Lightning
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cotton candy, 16 July 2008
This review is from: Lightning (Paperback)
Like a handful of other reviewers here, I'm puzzled at folk proclaiming this the best Koontz they've ever read. It completely lacks the edgy intelligence and pacing of his best works like Phantoms, Cold Fire, or Fear Nothing.

Lightning is so cloying and saccharine in its constant declarations of the wonder of people and life that it becomes like eating a constant course of desert, great for a little while but pretty soon you'll want some meat. The main character lacks any faults, making her feel like a characature rather than a real person, which as someone else mentioned is a recurring problem in Koontz's work.

The main storyline just pointed out to me that the author must really have enjoyed Terminator, out a few years before, as it feels very similar with themes of a saviour moving through time - albeit this version has a 'twist' which feels right out of a B-Movie.

I am being harsh with this review but only because I think Lightning is Koontz at his self-indulgent worst, and to encourage it could stifle his very real strengths.


Relentless (Warhammer 40, 000)
Relentless (Warhammer 40, 000)
by Richard Williams
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid debut, 7 April 2008
This is Richard Williams' first novel in the 40K universe, and as such it's impressive how confidently the work is written. He knows how to tap into one of the rich veins of the 40K universe, which is that of the normal everyman suffering horribly under the weight of a quasi-fascist regime ( The Imperium, of course ).

It's a world which Captain Becket is introduced to when he tightens the reins on a battleship crew gone soft, who until his delayed arrival have been collecting regular 'tithes' from trading vessels and growing fat on the proceeds. His new initiatives upset First Officer Ward, who had all but proclaimed himself Captain, and finally an assassination is attempted to remove Becket from the picture.

Not knowing who was in on the conspiracy, Becket re-enters the Relentless as a Conscript, the 'human fuel' of the vessel who are subjected to a lifetime of back-breaking labour, with only the strongest having any chance of advancement. The images Williams conjures of countless, pale human bodies, working on machines of collosal size, are affecting and compelling, reminding me of the Morlocks from H.G Wells 'The Time Machine' - supplying essentials to an elite who were neither conscious nor caring of their efforts.

Unfortunatly, there is little surprising in the characters, most being familiar cliches - the sadistic overseer, the cocky young worker, the religious zealot, but none of these are badly written, and cliches are familiar for a good reason. In the end you feel it's the tale itself which restricts Williams, it's a formulaic story of revenge and heroism, yet also a considerate slow-burner which may put people off who tune into this universe for the immediate thrill of bolters blazing.

There's obviously some talent here and I hope Williams writes more in the 40K universe, the Imperial Navy feels ripe for exploration and he may be just the man to do it.


Fat (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Fat (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Rob Grant
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Gets a lot right, but...., 27 Feb 2008
This review is from: Fat (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
I did largely ( ho-ho ) enjoy 'Fat' due to the well-realised main characters, humour, and empathy displayed by the author. The problem is with one of the supporting characters, however, a woman who is used as little more than a mouthpiece to spout pages upon pages of facts and figures which Rob Grant, obviously, found very interesting in his research and made the mistake of thinking we would too.

I'm all for some astutely chosen studies and statistics, but there's a difference between that and being beaten over the head with them for what felt like far too much of the book. The character even jokes that she probably comes across as obsessed and preaching, but this kind of 'I know what I'm doing, *wink*' very rarely works well in literature.

It's a shame, as this is still sharp, funny, and thought provoking, despite, ironically, the 'padding'.


Hammer of Daemons (Warhammer 40,000: Grey Knights)
Hammer of Daemons (Warhammer 40,000: Grey Knights)
by Ben Counter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable yet diverting, 24 Feb 2008
While this doesn't stand up to the earlier Gray Knights books, and the storyline is basically a flat line, it's still well written and exciting in places. Mostly, the problem is what I've coined 'the chaos effect', in that books set exclusively on a chaos world can become monotonous quite quickly due to the repetitive descriptions of blood, torture, death, evil, blood, blood - a problem also suffered by Dead Sky, Black Sun by Graham McNeill.

While the descriptions of chaos can sometimes be quite intricate, this will be an uncomfortably simple story for some, but those who can put aside desire for a winding, multi-faceted plot will find an enjoyable tale of good vs evil. I would have given this four stars if not for some shocking typos later in the book, not half as bad as some I've seen in self-published work but they shouldn't have made it into a professionaly produced novel.


Philips Nivea HS8020 Rechargeable Shaving System
Philips Nivea HS8020 Rechargeable Shaving System

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere near as good as a wet shave, 10 Nov 2007
To be honest I'm totally baffled by the reviews saying this is as good as using a razor, it's nowhere near! Stray hairs are left all over your face no matter how carefully you shave, which necessitates going over the same area two, sometimes three times, and even with copious use of the moisturiser you'll often have to suffer razor burn as a result.

It may be quiet but there's a reason for that, it's simply not powerful enough to rank up with the best, or even the satisfactory, and as has been stated by other reviewers you'll spend twice as long as you would with a wet shave trying to get those errant hairs - I even ended up keeping a razor close by to finish the job!

Very poor.


Dying Words
Dying Words
by Shaun Hutson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.83

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compellingly written, but falls down in the home stretch, 5 Nov 2007
This review is from: Dying Words (Paperback)
I hadn't read any Hutson in a while so I was pleased to see that he's retained his short, clipped style which rockets forward at a nice pace. Things kick off with an exciting police chase through London, though with another Detective Inspector who behaves like a law unto himself and predictably doesn't get punished for it, then the book follows a series of murders in seemingly impossible circumstances ( doors locked from the inside, no witnesses, no fingerprints, etc ).

Hutson's greatest strength is that he doesn't waste a word, which always makes you feel like you can read a little bit more, then before you know it you're up to the last twenty pages. Others may prize him for his gore but it's quite samey here, the first bloody murder scene does shock a little but after that it's business as usual. Blood becomes so normal you just accept it and move on, and there's few of the affecting descriptions of bullets or blugeons wreaking havoc on the human body as to add to the mystery we're never there when the crimes are comitted.

It all works well, right up until the twist is revealed, then things go downhill very rapidly. You feel cheated, all that investment on your part and carefully built suspense was leading to this? The book deserves a better final third because a good deal of it is quite solid, it's just a shame that the last stretch of it almost makes you forget that.


In This Skin
In This Skin
by Simon Clark
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A nice idea, but too much padding around it, 26 July 2005
Being a fan of Simon Clark can be a frustrating business, he can veer from near-genius to ploddingly average within the blink of an eye. For the most part this is forgiveable due to the sheer pace and energy of his work, so it is somewhat odd that while In This Skin may be consistently better written than some of his others it really suffers due to a plodding pace - seems the equation just doesn't work when you switch it around.
The book revolves around a handful of characters who find their lives intersecting due to their involvement with an abandoned movie theater, a place which while it may be a simple derelict for some represents a gateway to a different reality for others.
It feels as though Clark had this one good idea on which the conclusion of the book is based, yet tried to pad out the rest with character studies and occasional, attempted suspense and action. As a result the writing does tend to drag, you keep hoping for faster resolutions but Clark is content to just spend time with his characters while they do their thing, there's nothing worse than being type-cast but at many points this does seem like anathema to his usual style, and pays the price for it.
By no means a terrible read, but by no means a memorable one either.


The Walking Dead Volume 2: Miles Behind Us
The Walking Dead Volume 2: Miles Behind Us
by Charlie Adlard
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent drama, yet a little artistically confused, 4 July 2005
I agree with all other sentiments here regarding the quality of this graphic novel, the potential of watching a zombie epic unfold without it being cut short by a packaged conclusion when the characters are both interesting and true is really something to look forward to.
However, I cannot award it 5 stars if only because the artist and script-writer seem to have their wires crossed in a small, yet niggling way. A character is killed in the novel, yet she continues to appear throughout in place of another character, I had to read it back a few times to be sure I had seen this correctly. Sadly sloppy for such a high quality read.


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