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H. Lacroix (France)
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October Skies
October Skies
by Alex Scarrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deserves 5 stars at the beginning but only 1 at the end!, 1 Sep 2012
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This review is from: October Skies (Paperback)
I am so disappointed in this! If I'd been writing a review after reading the first 150 pages I would have given five stars without hesitation. The story was just gripping right from the start, from the moment a skeleton like figure is seen in a small town out west in 1857. Then we get to the best part, the long and dangerous trekk out west, through desert and salt plains until the group of pioneers reaches the mountain too late in the season to make it across. They then have to camp the winter out and try to survive for several months, until spring will melt the snow and allow them to continue on their journey. But something will be there with them... and this is where it all goes terribly wrong!!! I don't mean by that that some of them start dying, although they do, but the book then meanders into where it should never have gone, superstitions, faith, the occult...After such a great start it was a real pity having to read all the preposterous things the writer had in store for us. Credibility is stretched to the maximum and for me it just didn't work. Let's just say because it isn't a spoiler as such, that no evil spirit is at work there. Again this is no spoiler as it is obvious that it is someone from the camp that's causing all the disturbance and that's also why it doesn't work. Out alone, in the dark and cold, with no food, this creature manages to ouwit, kill and disembowell men much better fed and much better rested, even when there are two or three of them together. The ending is atrocious, something out of a Matrix film or some such, the creature being able to climb trees and leap in and out of them as silently and nimbly as Daredevil or Spiderman or any other superhero... It gets so absurd that the end makes painful reading. As for the 21st century part of the novel, it really beggars belief! I won't say anymore about it except about the murder of Tom Griffith!!!! Honestly!!!! Do you really think that if someone knew somebody had entered their house they would stay in their baths listening? How long does it take to get out of the tub, even for an overweight asthmatic? About three seconds I guess which would have been more than enough to lock the door and call 999! The guy had time to hear a stool moved in his kitchen and careful steps on the stairs, he had time to get out of the water...It certainly doesn't mean the police would have been there on time or that he wouldn't have been killed but it would have been less stupid than letting him sit in his bath like a lame duck! That the character should have been made to stay in the water patiently waiting to be killed without trying anything at all to try to get himself out of this predicament is simply ludicrous...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2012 7:31 PM GMT


Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
by Tom Franklin
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 point five in fact!, 29 Aug 2012
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If I were only giving my opinion on the second half of the book it would be 4.5 but I cannot forget how slow going the first part was, as slow as the Southern drawl... For the first 100 pages I really couldn't get into it and was bored most of the time.I even stopped reading for two or three days as my interest was more than flagging. Then, by page 120 or thereabouts it picked up and became seriously good!I wonder why it wasn't so, right from the start! There's a lot to like in the second half of the book so if like me you find it disappointing at first don't let go, you'll be rewarded later on!


The Suspect
The Suspect
by Michael Robotham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Had it ended as it started it would have been five stars, 13 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Suspect (Paperback)
The beginning is simply stunning, very good writing, great insights into the characters and their stories,the book had me hooked in a matter of a few pages. And it stayed that way for quite a while. But once Joe is suspected of Catherine's murder and has to go on the run the story became somewhat less believable which is why I gave it a four! As it is it still continued to interest me even though I wasn't as gripped as I had been before. All in all it was a good read and I will most definitely see what else Robotham has on offer!


A Dangerous Fortune
A Dangerous Fortune
by Ken Follett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite silly but entertaining nonetheless!, 11 Aug 2012
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This review is from: A Dangerous Fortune (Paperback)
' A Dangerous Fortune' tells the story of Hugh Pilaster and his family - bankers and influential people-from his days as a schoolboy and the mysterious death of Peter Middleton, a schoolfellow- a death in which Hugh's cousin Edward might well be implicated- to the family bank's collapse some twenty years later.It is full of intrigue, love, murder, plots, blood... It is highly nonsensical most of the time. All the characters are either villains of the deepest hue or near saintly goodies. Implausible turns and twists abound and credibility is stretched to the maximum , so stretched in fact you can hear it snap quite a few times. But it is nonetheless entertaining. I've been so disappointed in what I've read lately that ' A Dangerous Fortune', in spite of all its flaws, was like a bit of unpretentious fresh air. It amused me a lot and I kept reading because I wanted to know what would happen next rather than because I wanted to throw the book away. I must say that Ken Follett didn't waste any subtlety on this one. Aunt Augusta for example, who manages to manipulate everybody, doesn't have too difficult a time plotting and planning. A few well chosen sentences and everybody does her bidding. You don't believe in it one moment but funnily enough it never annoyed me. And it is exactly the same with all the other characters. Even the main protagonist Hugh, shrewd and talented man of business with impeccable flair for arranging profitable mergers, goes and marries a feckless fortune hunter when it is obvious that alarm bells should have been ringing in his head and creating quite a cacophony.You have to admire the sheer nerve it took to write so much nonsense with great aplomb. But I did enjoy it and it doesn't bother me to admit it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 30, 2013 4:35 PM BST


Pure
Pure
by Andrew Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An idea doesn't a plot make!, 5 Aug 2012
This review is from: Pure (Paperback)
That this book should have received a prize is extremely surprising once one has read more than the first chapters. The beginning is interesting and full of promise. Jean Baptiste Baratte, engineer, from the Ponts et chaussées school of engineering, is charged with clearing the cimetière des Saints Innocents in Paris. The excessive number of inmates seems to be slowly poisoning the whole neighbourhood.So far, so good! But to have a good idea for a novel is not the same as having a plot. Without a plot a book flounders and here it is just what happens. There is actually not very much to tell, so the author will then randomly add facts, go into flights of fancy and embroider round what is basically an empty husk.The ramdomness of events is especially difficult to digest. Why should Ziguette, the daughter of the house where Jean Baptiste lodges, suddenly try to kill him using his brass ruler? Why should she commit this act of madness when there is no inkling either in her words or actions before, that her mind is not sound? Why should Lecoeur rape the little Jeanne? And why, although this occurs at the beginning, should the level- headed, educated Baratte follow Armand, the organist, as he does, spending money on both of them, having a ridiculously expensive and altogether unsuitable suit made? And why should he follow Armand and his revolutionary friends on their night escapade painting slogans on the walls of Paris? Why should he later fall for Héloïse, the prostitute? There is no earthly reason for it, apart from the fact that she is pretty!! All this is so annoying that I couldn't wait to finish this unbelievably fanciful and boring story. Another book people should not hesitate to give a miss to.


The Lock Artist
The Lock Artist
by Steve Hamilton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I'd like my money back please!, 2 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Lock Artist (Paperback)
A reviewer wrote that 'the Lock Artist ' was juvenile. It's both very true and very kind. I would call it something else entirely if I wanted to waste time on writing what I think of this. As it is I've wasted enough time reading this thing I don't even want to call a book. Time to go on and try to find something worth reading!


Any Human Heart
Any Human Heart
by William Boyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Even great authors err..., 31 July 2012
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This review is from: Any Human Heart (Paperback)
If, like me a few weeks back, you haven't read 'Any Human Heart' and imagine that with William Boyd you cannot go wrong, I would advise you to think again. Yes, it is indeed a sad thing to find that this great author has written such an unappealing book but so it is. The journals of Logan Gonzago Mountstuart are a lot less original than the main protagonist's name and as for heart, well there isn't that much in it as Logan is, most of the time, a selfish and arrogant man, only redeemed at times by his love for his children or his fidelity to old friends. Something else which soon annoys is the constant name dropping. Mountstuart is a writer and as such encounters some modest success at the beginning of his literary career. This is an opportunity to make him meet everyone, from Virginia Woolf to Hemingway, to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and many more but it gives the reader absolutely nothing. The same treatment is meted to great events of the twentieth century. Mountstuart goes everywhere and witnesses nearly everything from the Spanish civil war, to WW2 ,to the Bahamas, to Nigeria in the 60's, and terrorism in the 70's but to no avail. Anecdote after anecdote, events sometimes skimmed over in a few dozen pages and we learn nothing. Very soon read, very soon forgotten! I will admit that there are glimpses of much better reading material here and there but they are so few and far between. I must say that I enjoyed the few pages concerning his stay in hospital after his near fatal collision with a postal van. This episode really made me laugh. What better way to expose the indignities people have to suffer when they are most vulnerable than by making us enjoy the fact that it isn't our turn quite yet! Logan Mountstuart's battle to have doors installed in the lavatories cubicles and to fight the patients' chronic constipation was a moment of joy in an otherwise tedious literary journey!


Dead Simple (Ds Roy Grace 1)
Dead Simple (Ds Roy Grace 1)
by Peter James
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Rather enjoyed reading this!, 25 July 2012
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It's the first Peter James novel I have ever read and in spite of some faults I found it an entertaining story. I suppose that the premise is indeed very good. Michael Harrison who is about to get married has his stag night organised by five of his friends. They have concocted something decidedly unsusual and potentially highly dangerous. Because they suffered Michael's often tasteless pranks they have decided to pay him back and to bury him alive in a coffin for a few hours. But when the deed is done the four (one of them has been delayed and is supposed to join them later) will lose their lives in a car crash leaving Michael in a perilous position. And Mark, the one who missed the fun and knows exactly where his friend is, has an agenda of his own and prefers not to say anything to the police. All this of course cannot fail to raise your anticipation of what will be coming next and it is in this that Peter James doesn't disappoint. What I found problematic considering the considerable input of police officers involved is that it is not them but somebody else who finds the grave first. I thought it was really detrimental to the idea I have of the efficacy of the police force as it clearly shows that if they had done it right they would have been the first there. And when one person outsmarts the police it is never something I enjoy! But all in all it was a good thriller and I can recommend it!


Good Morning, Midnight
Good Morning, Midnight
by Reginald Hill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't like it much!, 22 July 2012
This review is from: Good Morning, Midnight (Paperback)
It's a disappointing Dalziel and Pascoe mystery. First there isn't a murder to solve, which in crime fiction is quite a drawback. Had the author found something extraordinary to satisfy our appetite with, it wouldn't have mattered much. As it is, we have a sometimes tedious read, in which somebody commits suicide (reproducing the way his own father had done the same ten years before) and tries to implicate his hated stepmother and the big question is to see whether the police will get her off the hook and whether they will shed any sort of light on the father's demise. The 'confessions', by that I mean the pages where different protagonists tell their stories adorned with lies or not, according to what each has to hide, made tedious reading material and considerably slowed the pace which had never been fast to start with. Add to that two corpses, one at the beginning, one at the end, whose identities we learn about but without having any inkling as to who dispatched them... and some ponderous and sinister spy concoction- Spooks meets Bond- and the whole gets somewhat difficult to digest and enjoy!!


The Marriage Plot
The Marriage Plot
by Jeffrey Eugenides
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as original as Middlesex but worth reading nonetheless, 4 July 2012
This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Paperback)
The problem for authors who quite early on in their career have produced something as good and inventive as 'Middlesex' is that their next offering will be scrutinized and compared and will probably fall short of that other book that happened to be very close to what many wouldn't hesitate to call a masterpiece.It is just so there!' Middlesex' was a wonder and 'The marriage plot' isn't. But even though I did prefer 'Middlesex' I have to say that 'the marriage plot' is worth reading. Madeleine, Leonard and Mitchell's triangular relationship provides good reading material. I thought that Leonard 's manic depression was particularly well described and that the author really gave his readership an excellent insight into what that condition is and what it entails. I can't say that I like the ending as it is not as I would have wished the book to end but all in all , if one takes into account how the story develops, it is by far the most logical way to end although it isn't the most satisfying for readers. Mitchell is also a very interesting character but I think there would have been more suspense as to which one of the two Madeleine was going eventually to fall for if Mitchell and she had been more together in the story. As it was the triangular relationship never really was. Madeleine and Mitchell spend too little time together and this is to be deplored. To sum up I enjoyed reading it, it wasn't an exceptional read but it was entertaining!


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