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Reviews Written by
Jeff "roadrunner" (uk)
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A Divided Spy (Thomas Kell Spy Thriller, Book 3)
A Divided Spy (Thomas Kell Spy Thriller, Book 3)
by Charles Cumming
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep thinking, 18 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although this is, in my opinion, an excellent book, it may not be for everyone. It's about soul-searching, the duplicity of intelligence work taking over the person you really are. Whether you're British or Russian doesn't matter if you're caught up in a system where basic humanity comes second to an ideal. We know Tom Kell isn't a happy spy, however good at it he may be. Events in Cumming's previous novel 'A Colder War' continue to haunt him so when he's given an opportunity to get back at the man he believes responsible, what does he do? And what if this person, a Russian SVR officer, has his own personal secrets?
There is a sub-plot involving an ISIS terror attack which brings the almost must-have chase/nail biter, but it's a side issue. With about 15 pages to go, try stopping and asking yourself what you as reader want to happen. And then perhaps ask the same question when you've finished. I think you'll see what I mean.
It's an excellent, thought-provoking book. Cumming is a consummate writer who never disappoints. I recommend it highly.


Lie With Me
Lie With Me
by Sabine Durrant
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 13 May 2016
This review is from: Lie With Me (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Oh boy, I really enjoyed this book!
Publishers want to compare it with 'Gone Girl' and 'Girl on a Train', for obvious reasons, but I think they're wrong. If anything, it's better than those two. Better written at least. And it's not about crime either, or doesn't appear to be. It's about relationships, pure and simple. Beginning in a wet, dreary London, most of the story takes place on a Greek island. Perhaps, without your knowing, its being on an island means you're confined with no quick escape so it's easy to get on top of each other, in more ways than one! The 'Lie' of the title refers to sex and to untruths and later on, even 'lye'. The story is told by a supposedly successful writer who bumps into his old mate from Cambridge days, then encounters others from their past. It's difficult to avoid spoilers so I won't say much. He's writing in the present about events in the recent past. You get lines such as 'If only I'd walked away then things would have been different' and 'I then did something I was to bitterly regret' but you're never quite sure whether he's a good guy or not. Certainly some of his behaviour is questionable. It would make an ideal choice for any Book Club. There's much to talk about. You're going to like some characters more than others and not agree. Who's the one who's lying? At around half way I was convinced I'd sorted it all out, only to be proved wrong later.
I finished reading it a few days ago but unusually for me can still remember how I felt about most of the characters and in that sense it's similar to the other books I mentioned earlier. We all know how successful they've been - can this one do the same? It wouldn't surprise me at all and I rather hope it does.
Absolute 5*, no doubt about it.


The Smoke Hunter
The Smoke Hunter
by Jacquelyn Benson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, 9 May 2016
This review is from: The Smoke Hunter (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a rather lightweight and predictable adventure story. It's readable but didn't keep me riveted I'm afraid. Pity about the Americanisms, which jarred. An elegant English lady of 1898 would not have used 'gotten', nor travelled 'a few blocks'. You'll have to suspend belief at some of the things the heroine gets up to but summer's nearly here and it'll while away a few sleepy hours while you're in the jungles of Belize looking for Mayan ruins with a hunk who might remind you of the guy in 'Poldark'. I wanted to enjoy it but it didn't work for me. Haggard did it, Cussler is forever doing it. I didn't see anything new here.


Igenix AMZ12 Breakfast Set Pyramid Kettle and 2 Slice Toaster - Metallic Red
Igenix AMZ12 Breakfast Set Pyramid Kettle and 2 Slice Toaster - Metallic Red
Price: £56.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, 7 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
To look at, these are stunning additions to your kitchen. The dark red metallic look, together with the chrome, really stands out. The toaster is fine - I have no quibbles. The kettle? Many others have said it - 0.8 litre for a cup of tea? It's simply not practical. I timed it with the same measure of cold water against my trusty cheapo from Sainsburys. With a much larger hot plate, I expected a quick boil. Result? 2 seconds difference, is all. I've taken to putting in just enough water for what I need, even if it is just one cup, and ignoring the 'Min' mark. No probs so far! It's a bit heavy but pours well. I have to use the spout for filling. What I will say is it's unfair to single out Igenix as I assume the many other makes in this design have a similar problem. I haven't had a pyramid kettle before and I don't think I'll be getting another.


A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 14
A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 14
by John Connolly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not his best, 2 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not too sure where Connolly is going. There's a lot of the usual here - an isolated village full of crazies and a strange kind of supernatural but with a development of the Sam story which I wasn't too keen on. As usual, it's very well written but as others have said, somewhat lacking in the humour we've come to expect. Perhaps because there isn't that much Parker and even less Angel and Louis which is a shame. A bit confusing at the start and I wasn't too enamoured of the ending but it's still a good read, if unsettling. For example, I spilled unleaded over my hand the other day while filling the lawn mower. Know what I mean?


Hawaiian Tropic 150 ml SPF 30 Pump Air Soft Sun Lotion
Hawaiian Tropic 150 ml SPF 30 Pump Air Soft Sun Lotion
Price: £10.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Just the job, 1 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's not greasy; it comes out of a push-down dispenser; it's like a mousse so doesn't go all over the place; it smells lightly of coconut which lingers quite a long time. I found it very useful on long walks when, apart from the sun, wind tends to dry the skin without your realising. Looks a good bet for summer holidays. I've been pleased so far.


A Dying Breed
A Dying Breed
by Peter Hanington
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 29 April 2016
This review is from: A Dying Breed (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a superb book which I enjoyed hugely. Having said that, it's in many ways a sad book with little in the way of joy. I see William Boyd thought it "Tremendous" and there's a distinct similarity - if you like Boyd's writing, as I do, you should like this one. It's about war correspondents in Afghanistan - the old hack William Carver, very much of the old school, and his eventual companion , the very green Patrick Reid. There's duplicity about a huge telecoms contract which some in Whitehall will do anything to win and this leads to dirty deeds, not least an explosion at the beginning on which much hangs. Hanington paints a presumably very realistic picture of Afghanistan and at times I found myself wanting Blair, Bush and Putin to read it. I think it's Carver towards the end who says "intervention - there's that word again". There are some interesting characters, most of whom drink vast quantities! I liked the Kabul hotelier and his passion about his garden fountain and his advert "as seen on BBC radio". Not sure I fully understood the role of the British ambassador though.
A fine book, well-written and absorbing. I recommend it highly.


Cushe UM0153, Men's Slippers, Brown (Brown Felt) 9 UK
Cushe UM0153, Men's Slippers, Brown (Brown Felt) 9 UK

5.0 out of 5 stars Good purchase!, 26 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm really quite pleased with these slippers/shoes. Extremely light and feel good. But oh dear, why can't they get their sizing right? I'm normally an 8, 8.5 in running shoes but I took the advice of a number of reviewers here and ordered a 9, something I've never done before. I'm glad I did!! They're just a tiny bit loose, but then you don't want slippers too tight. They don't fall off my heel, which is crucial. A different type of 'slipper' it's true but they're already growing on me. What appears to be fairly robust soles mean you can use them in the garden [or indeed the beach] with no problems. I'm impressed and will look at their other shoe types. [NB They don't do half sizes which is a shame]


Nomad: A pulse-racing edge-of-your-seat international thriller (The Rubicon series)
Nomad: A pulse-racing edge-of-your-seat international thriller (The Rubicon series)
by James Swallow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good holiday read, 22 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At the end, the author acknowledges the influence of Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy on his work, so this should give you some idea of what to expect. It's action packed, moves between Turkey, Sicily and London. Dubbed '2016's most explosive read' it certainly starts off with one when an MI6 'dark ops' mission goes badly wrong. There must be a mole in British Intelligence! Yes, nothing new there perhaps. It's more James Bond than Le Carre and I detected a touch of 'Day of the Jackal' towards the end. So it has good pedigree for this type of book and is unlikely to disappoint. Some particularly unpleasant (unlikely?) activities by terrorists and you'll have to suspend belief in places but it's decently written and a good read on the whole. Ideal for the summer!


Palace of Treason
Palace of Treason
by Jason Matthews
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff!, 6 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Palace of Treason (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed this book.
At 530 pages it's long but kept me riveted throughout. Set in Washington, Moscow, Paris and Athens "a dangerous place, part Balkan, part Mediterranean, part Beirut" there's clandestine meetings in dark places, treachery, violence and sex. Typical spy novel! I think it was the Guardian that called it "more Ludlum than Le Carre" and I agree, though to be fair, that's more comment than criticism. I liked the CIA handlers Gable and Bemford [though not, for some reason, Nate] and wonder what their real life counterparts made of it - worried by its authenticity [the author used to work for them] or smiling at its fiction? And if the Russian president ever gets to read it, I'd love to see his reaction to one bit in particular!! There are weaknesses - Felony, Eva and the Moscow Head of station spring to mind - but overall it's engaging and well-written. Even though you can see it coming, I think you'll love the last line, which is interesting given that Matthews is working on his next novel. I look forward to it.


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