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Jeff "roadrunner" (uk)
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Very Bad Men
Very Bad Men
by Harry Dolan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than most, 4 May 2012
This review is from: Very Bad Men (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you twisted my arm, I'd admit to 4.7 if that's not being a bit silly. I enjoyed this book. I think perhaps the cover lets it down. It's not brutal [though there are some unpleasant occurences] and I've certainly come across far worse 'bad men' in my reading. The plot is perhaps a bit convoluted and overdone. Main thing about this writer that drew me to this book is the comments about his writing style. Spot on! It's very engaging,stylish and effortless reading without recourse to quick-fix devices with some dead-pan humour in places [and why not?].Not so much a crime novel, as such, more of a political cover-up and shennanigans in American politics but I really did enjoy it. If you're still in the trough of James Patterson [duh] you're probably unlikely to enjoy this book as it's way above that sort of stuff. Pretty good - I'll be back!


The Yard: Scotland Yard Murder Squad Book 1
The Yard: Scotland Yard Murder Squad Book 1
by Alex Grecian
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't ring true, 1 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm afraid I didn't enjoy this novel at all. By p.100 I was struggling and by 200 close to giving up, which is highly unusual for me. It's very dialogue-driven which is OK to an extent though that means a certain lacking in place and atmosphere, and not helped in the least by Americanisms such as 'train station' 'pardon me?' 'barkeep' and many more - this in 1890s London? And a Welsh mining village named 'Collier' - oh dear, that put me off I'm afraid. And I didn't feel the characters rang true either. I like novels about Victorian Britain, the early police set-up and even Jack the Ripper but I did not like this one at all. Future blockbuster it ain't.


The Red House
The Red House
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.54

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it!!!!, 22 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Red House (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
And, when you think about it, there can be no better review, can there? I do really think that one [in particular] review of this book has been particularly severe and in my opinion, undeserved. If your starting point is a dysfynctional family [of 8] coming together for an out-of-the-way 'holiday' then you're bound to get a lot of heart-searching, fractional relationships, teenage angst, discordant marriages surely? That it's set in a cut-off part of the Welsh Marches adds to it, not least because it resembled, to a certain extent, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', which one of the characters is involved in,which, as I recall, was a tale of fraught friendships, deceit, arguments and some great lines 'my mistress with a monster is in love' which I couldn't help but feel was in Haddon's mind. It's a tale of people coming together with their own agendas which inevitably lead to conflict. You're going to like some of them [maybe] and others not. For what it's worth [without giving anything away]my favourite character was the 8-yr old Benjy, beginning to lose innocence and inevitably at that age inquire into mystique of adult life - answers to which are not readily offered. Long ago [!!] memories make me equate with Alex and his burgeoning sex drive. I didn't like Dominic or Richard or Angela. As for Melissa? Make your own mind up! But that's it, surely? We might all have a different take on them and their hang-ups but I can't help but have been intrigued by it. Not least, I have to say, beacuse it really isn't 'my sort of book'. I didn't particularly share with all the brouhaha about 'Dog in the Nightime' and was unsure about selecting this title but as I said at the start, I enjoyed it! Can't say fairer than that. Please don't be put off by other negatives.


The Cold Cold Ground: Sean Duffy 1 (Detective Sean Duffy 1)
The Cold Cold Ground: Sean Duffy 1 (Detective Sean Duffy 1)
by Adrian McKinty
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read!!, 7 Mar. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'd never even heard of Adrian McKinty before so I came to this book with an open mind. I really enjoyed it and can recommend it not least if you're planning your holidays and want something engaging but not too demanding to take with you. Lots of action, decent plot and an engaging main character; it's also not without its lighter moments. Exactly how accurate it may be about the various groups in conflict in Northern Ireland 30 years ago, I wouldn't know but for the casual reader, I would suggest that doesn't matter too much. Good sense of period. It certainly brought back to me [living in England] what really troubled times they were, thankfully [seemingly] now resolved. You'll have to suspend belief at times but I think you should do that, get on the roller coaster and enjoy it!


Traitor: John Shakespeare 4
Traitor: John Shakespeare 4
by Rory Clements
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clements does it again!, 1 Mar. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Clements improves with each one of his Tudor thrillers involving intelligence agent John Shakespeare. They're well-researched, very readable and exciting with credible characters. Perhaps important to read them in order, to establish certain relationships. For example, Will [the man himself!!] appears in them all and although his elder brother John is total fiction, I must say I like the idea. In this novel we meet him at one of the first productions of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at the home of Lord Derby, one of his patrons, who also figures largely in the plot of the novel - i.e. who wants to kill him? The story is a little slow to get going perhaps, with nothing in the first 200 pages other than establishing that Lancashire was a hotbed of Catholicism. Soon changes though as things get personal between John Shakespeare and the femme fatale and the story of Andrew, his adopted son. Builds to great excitement in Brittany [I'm not giving anything away-there's a map at the front!]. I did find the 'explanation' at the end a bit of a let-down and the importance of the spying-glass hugely overblown but I enjoyed it on the whole very much. How does Clements compare with CJ Sansom? Better. And with SJ Parris? Much better. Recommended.


The Marlowe Papers
The Marlowe Papers
by Ros Barber
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept!, 1 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Marlowe Papers (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This fascinating work, which is too easy to dismiss with 'warning-contains poetry' is a serious piece of academic study. Appears masterly in its research [it forms part of a PhD] and I applaud its scope and enterprise. However, be aware that it's yet another gnaw on the old bone of 'who wrote Shakespeare?' combined with yet another theory about what happened to Marlowe. To a certain extent, the fact that it's all in verse matters not a jot - the fight between Marlowe and the aggrieved protagonist in the Hog Lane Affray, together with its unfortunate outcome, is described in as much detail as any prose and comes across brilliantly - but in a commercial sense, I wonder how a book comprising some 400 pages of poetry will sell, however high its quality. Described as 'a novel in verse' - mmm, a contradiction in terms? Discuss!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 5, 2012 2:22 PM GMT


A Foreign Country
A Foreign Country
by Charles Cumming
Edition: Hardcover

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent present day spy thriller., 21 Feb. 2012
This review is from: A Foreign Country (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Cumming has been spoken of by some as 'the new Le Carre' and if his first two novels are anything to go by, it's an accolade he fully deserves. If you enjoyed his first, The Trinity Six, then I feel sure you'll enjoy this one as well. No mention of the Berlin Wall or Moscow - the world's moved on and what happens here is more than a bit to do with post-Arab Spring. The cover might have you think that the 'Foreign Country' is the one nearest to us, given a certain tower in the distance and there is indeed a strong connection but it's also, as you may guess, a reference to the past and it's the past of Amelia Levine, would-be Chief of MI6, which is the central theme. More than that would spoil so I won't say anything. I found it fast-paced and well-written. Many chapters are short. There's a lot of spy-craft and people not being who they seem and builds up to a tense conclusion. OK you don't get the depth of character that Le Carre is so good at but on the other hand, it's considerably easier to read! Only one gripe - really really didn't like last page!! Do give it a go though - I doubt you'll be disappointed. I shall definitely look forward to his next novel.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 25, 2012 2:35 PM GMT


The Crown
The Crown
by Nancy Bilyeau
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't work for me, 2 Feb. 2012
This review is from: The Crown (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A couple of other reviewers so far have mentioned the [for some] dreaded name of Dan Brown and they're right to do so. This isn't a fully-fledged historical novel in my opinion as it goes off into that other world of fanciful mysteries. The crown of the title is totally fictitious. The book goes at a decent pace, however, and is largely quite well written although I gritted my teeth as a 16th century Bishop of Winchester uses 'gotten'. And 'cartsman'?? Carter, surely? And in everything I've ever read about the Tudor period, lax security and the Tower of London don't exactly go together as they do here. You may think I'm being picky but I really didn't enjoy it that much. I thought I was going to but once that Dan Brown factor kicked in, I lost it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2013 9:34 PM GMT


The Complete Garden Expert: The Expert you've been waiting for - All the gardening Experts condensed and updated into one enlarged volume
The Complete Garden Expert: The Expert you've been waiting for - All the gardening Experts condensed and updated into one enlarged volume
by Dr D G Hessayon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent all-in-one guide, 23 Jan. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Not easy to put gardening into one book and goodness knows plenty have tried. And certainly not easy to bring the 20+ individual Hessayon books into one 256 page volume. However, I do think it's a success if what you want is a quick reference guide. Should you want more knowledge later on your own particular interest, then you can buy the more specialised title. I've got about five extremely dog-eared copies and if, like me, you're used to the format which on the whole is clear, precise and largely simple, then you should be OK with this one. Easy to criticise, I know, but how many could afford every single copy in the series when all you need is a single piece of advice about, say, roses? I think it's a fine book, perhaps aimed at beginners but nevertheless useful for those with more dirt under their nails!


Shut Your Eyes Tight
Shut Your Eyes Tight
by John Verdon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too long and too slow, 2 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Shut Your Eyes Tight (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having enjoyed Verdon's first book and given it 5 stars, I was really quite disappointed with this offering which possibly suffers the dreaded second-novel disease. By p300 I was ready to give up as quite honestly, very little of import had actually happened. There's a lot of arguing between characters with hugely inflated egos, most of them to do with law-enforcement and the plot, when it does eventually get going, is very convoluted. It does become so immersed in itself that I almost lost it. As some others have said, it could have done with better editing and I also agree about Madeline, Gurney's wife, who I liked in the first book but has now become a nothing who sits there and knits. At one point, thinking ahead to writing this review, I was giving it 1 star and I still think perhaps 3 is generous. Good writing [in places] rescues it. The contents refer to some quite repulsive acts and the language at times is a bit basic and I'm not sure that I'll return to this author.


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