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J. Wise "Jon Wise, Sunday Sport" (Ardwick)
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Don't Look Back
Don't Look Back
by Erica Spindler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.75

4.0 out of 5 stars A cranking read!, 15 Nov 2014
This review is from: Don't Look Back (Paperback)
ONE dark night, two slayings. The killing of Sara McCall is a bloodily brutal baseball bat affair, and her sister Katherine – who stands to make a few quid out of the death – is soon in the frame for it. But the murder of a cop at the same time casts a doubt on her guilt.
Fast forward a decade and Katherine’s back in town looking for answers, with the help of the new sheriff. He happens to be the son of the of the last one, and he was convinced Kath had blood on her hands. He wasn’t alone in that, as she soon finds out.
Trying to work out whodunit in this psycho mystery isn’t easy, but the author gives you every chance by showing you what’s going on from the viewpoints of different characters.
Actually, it doesn’t help that much, it just makes you keener to rattle on to find out who did the deeds, with the suspense cranking up as the pages fly by.
Murder, menace, malice, Don’t Look Back has all the ingredients for a night in with the telly off.


A Matter of Life and Death: A History of Football in 100 Quotations
A Matter of Life and Death: A History of Football in 100 Quotations
by Jim White
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That's dad sorted!, 15 Nov 2014
JIM White’s a sports hack who’s proved he knows his stuff through regular newspaper and fanzine columns and books like You’ll Win Nothing With Kids, not to mention a few million words about his favourite subject, Manchester United.
But we can forgive him that with this History of Football in 100 Quotations, which does exactly what it says on the tin, explaining and showing how the Beautiful Game has been viewed over the centuries.
It kicks off in 1314, a time when leg-breaking violence would have been rewarded, not red-carded. Taking in the earliest teams, the first laws, the global rise in popularity, the great clubs and the lousy ones, the high points and lowest, it leads us up to the modern day and the vast social and financial impact of the world’s most popular sport. This is an easy to digest delight of a book, not to mention a real education.
Even better, it’s got Christmas gift for dad written all over it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 16, 2014 4:23 PM GMT


The Arc of the Swallow
The Arc of the Swallow
by Sissel-Jo Gazan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boffin's bought the pharm, 15 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Arc of the Swallow (Hardcover)
Biology boffin Marie Skov is not having a good day. First her mum carks it, then the academic genius who helped her through uni tops himself.
Kristian Storm had been facing a barrage of flak after discovering that a big company’s vaccine was doing the opposite of what it was meant to do. Marie’s not so sure his death was a suicide and does a spot of digging. She soon finds out that someone had been lobbing spanners into his work, making him look bad.
Not only that, but another scientist has shuffled off his mortal coil in very suspicious circumstances.
A blue Ford with tinted windows had been dogging Storm’s heels in his final days, so Marie’s more than a little concerned when the same car turns up outside her own house. The cops don’t want to know, but Marie enlists the help of her detective chum and other eggheads to get to the bottom of the dangerous -looking business – and the trail leads to the top of the health industry and well moody officialdom. It also exposes how ruthless rival academics can be in defence of their work.
Sissel-Jo Gazan happens to be a biologist herself, but also, like so many of her fellow Scandinavians, is a top class crime writer.


Darkness Descending
Darkness Descending
by Ken Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Adrenaline, Pure Inspiration, 12 Nov 2014
This review is from: Darkness Descending (Paperback)
SHOULD you ever meet Ken Jones, be careful you don’t trip over his melon-sized balls.
That said, there was probably a time when the hardman might have doubted his superhuman resolve. That moment would have come when the former Para and Special Services man was trapped in just the couple of avalanches on Transylvania’s Moldoveanu Peak.
Horribly injured, hip and leg smashed, bleeding internally, half his gear missing including sleeping bag and grub, a mere -15C, no phone signal – we’re talking dead man crawling here. But crawl he did, for three agonizing days, eventually finding a track and then a house, where the owners gave him a lot of vodka and called an ambulance. There followed days of surgery and solemn nods from surgeons who said he should be a corpse.
It’s a hell of an adventure, but that’s nothing like the end of it. Ken Jones recovered from having half his guts cut out and being told he’d never walk again. Nowadays he’s on a bike and more active than Chris Boardman. He scales mountains and runs SAS-style endurance events.
So, if you’re ever feeling a bit down in the dumps. Slap yourself around the face with this book. The incredible true story within its pages shows you just what all of us are very likely capable of – if only we decide never to give in.


The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football
The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football
by David Goldblatt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Pub Talker Bar None, 12 Nov 2014
GO back to the early 80s and football in Britain was at a low ebb. Stadiums were scrapyards, urine-soaked animal pens, cauldrons of aggression, deathtraps or at least accidents waiting to happen. Inevitably gates declined, along with clubs and standards.
Nowadays, football is cutting edge, global big business, the grounds are tidy and filling and order reigns on and off the pitch. It seems that money is flowing like a mighty river. That’s good, no? But what has it cost the fans, or the country, or indeed the game itself. And is all as it seems?
Goldblatt argues the toss, pointing out the precarious reality for most clubs, the knife edge they live on and how many have fallen off in the past 20 years. He also talks of how crowds have changed, from the cloth capped diehards to the Boden-clad hoorays who are the only ones who can afford season tickets these days. And how lower leagues are affected.
This is the best pub talker of a book for years.


Funny Girl
Funny Girl
by Nick Hornby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.90

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boy, Funny Girl's Good, 12 Nov 2014
This review is from: Funny Girl (Hardcover)
SOME say Nick Hornby is the best writer in Britain right now, even better than all those top literary types yer intellectuals fawn over. Those who doubt the truth of that should give his latest a go – it may be beyond doubt with this gem.
The scene is the Sixties and the popular TV comedies that had the nation glued to their sets and guffawing on their sofas.
Bursting into the era comes a busty Northern lass with a gift for comedy. She’s soon linked up with a couple of scriptwriters and a producer. Barbara becomes the main attraction in Barbara (and Jim) and before you know it she’s a household name.
Those of a certain age will recall how huge a thing that was in those days, and how iconic characters like her were. Acts like The Likely Lads, Till Death Us Do Part, Morecambe and Wise and such were not the flash-in-the-pans of today’s Big Brother era. But Funny Girl will appeal to all ages, which is where the genius of Hornby comes in. The story draws you along with the warmth of its characters, its quietly observed human touches, the gentle failings and hopes of its subjects and the familiarity of its surroundings. Then, without you even knowing how or where it happened, you’re ‘feeling’ genuine hurt or sadness, and the sort of problems we can all understand.
For all the others’ skills there’s no-one quite able to do that the way this guy does. The age old tip to write what you know has never been more aptly displayed than here. Nick Hornby knows humanity, and Funny Girl could not be more human.


5 Seconds of Summer: Hey, Let's Make a Band!: The Official 5SOS Book
5 Seconds of Summer: Hey, Let's Make a Band!: The Official 5SOS Book
by 5 Seconds of Summer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.45

2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 Seconds' lasting impression, 17 Oct 2014
LET’S be quite clear, it helps if you’re aged around 15 to even want to contemplate buying this book. Beyond that age, even the cover will repel you.
But sometimes it pays to be fair minded, and surely it can’t hurt to find out just how a bunch of irritating Aussie teenagers managed to go from zero to filling stadiums planet-wide in about…well, five seconds.
The quartet of clearly Green Day inspired post-pubescents turn out to be terrifyingly normal lads filled with that endearing teen blend of humility and arrogance, modest talent but bags of drive and enthusiasm. They suggest bemusement at their meteoric rise yet perform as if anything other than global fame never entered their minds.
Theirs is an annoyingly interesting story, one for young girls to swoon over, young boys to emulate…and, happily, for parents to approve.


Letters of Not
Letters of Not
by Dale Shaw
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing betters Letters, 17 Oct 2014
This review is from: Letters of Not (Hardcover)
ABOUT now the publishing industry decides it’s time to hit the Christmas market and launches several million books in the ‘humour’ category – around 99 per cent of which would fit comfortably in the ‘crap’ genre.
But if Letters of Not isn’t the cleverest, funniest, brilliantly worked effort of the lot someone’s simply forgotten to release theirs.
It’s a collection of letters and notes by famous people past and present which gives you a greater insight into how their minds really worked. They’re all made up, of course, by comedy genius Dale Shaw, but they couldn’t be more hilarious. Patti Smith’s gym membership application is a belter, arty film-maker Werner Herzog’s letter to his cleaning lady is already a winner on the Net, and the Mark E. Smith audio guide is inspired.
Dale Shaw has got to be this generation’s John Lloyd. Buy this as an ideal Christmas gift – then keep it, and write a letter of excuse to whoever you were going to give it to.


Eye for an Eye: A Dewey Andreas Novel
Eye for an Eye: A Dewey Andreas Novel
by Ben Coes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.27

4.0 out of 5 stars Eye for action, 17 Oct 2014
STARVED of violent action? Rely on a hardman Yank to deliver. Clued-up thriller ace Ben Coes brings his special forces turned CIA operative Dewey Andreas back to rack up another impressive body count.
Trouble starts, and that’s an understatement right there, when the boss of Chinese security tries to take out Dewey in revenge for a past job…and winds up wiping out his fiancée.
Red mist, rage and the tit-for-tat dance of death begins in earnest at a skin-stripping pace. Crisp, sharp, lethally spare prose from a proven master. It’ll leave you feeling as good as a punishing gym workout.


Dark Tides
Dark Tides
by Chris Ewan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Tides a page turner, 17 Oct 2014
This review is from: Dark Tides (Hardcover)
IT’S always a plus when you can learn something while being taken on a scary ride. For instance, what do you know about
Hop-tu-naa? Turns out it’s the Isle of Man’s version of Halloween, and it’s central to this corking chiller of a mystery.

The main character, Claire Cooper, is not the luckiest sort. Her mum vanished during the Manx festival when she was a kid.
And as a teenager disaster struck again during a game of dares for Hop-tu-naa with pals.

All grown up, she’s a cop on the island and not enjoying the fact that those chums from the past are quietly or violently dying in dodgy circumstances, and there’s every chance she’ll be joining them soon… unless she can nab the suspect.

The countdown to a deadly confrontation is studded with twists you won’t easily spot and a satisfyingly high suspense factor. There’s an eerie tone to the tale, too, that can keep your nerves on edge and bowels troubled.

A top book to read by torchlight in bed during Halloween while ignoring all the mask-clad pests demanding mini-Mars bars or egging your gaff.


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