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joc66 (United Kingdom)
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The Heist
The Heist
Price: 6.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good addition to this excellent series but maybe start with the earlier books before reading this, 19 July 2014
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This review is from: The Heist (Kindle Edition)
I look forward each summer for the next Gabriel Allon adventure and this latest instalment did not disappoint. The familiar ingredients are here for those who have read the previous books. Chiara is now pregnant with twins, and the story begins with the couple living quietly in Venice although we already know that the tranquillity cannot last because soon,Gabriel will have to return to Israel to take charge at King Saul Boulevard, home of Israel's secret service. The combination of art with espionage might seem unlikely but works really well. Allon is drawn into the darker side of the art world - stolen masterpieces as a form of investments for those who may find their more traditional assets frozen. In this case, stolen art leads Allon to the money at the heart of the Syrian regime, and of course The Office has to construct an elaborate plan to strike at an enemy of Israel. The plot didn't feel to me like it had quite the complexity of some of Silva's earlier books and there are quite a lot of characters and events from previous outings referenced here so this may not be the place to start if you are unfamiliar with this series. Having said that, this is a good addition to an excellent series and I'm already looking forward to finding out how Allon's career develops in the next book.


Five Days
Five Days
Price: 1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Sad, slow moving and thoughtful, a beautiful novel, 16 July 2014
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This review is from: Five Days (Kindle Edition)
I've read other Douglas Kennedy novels and this one doesn't seem to have quite as much plot as some of the others but for me this didn't detract from the overall experience. I won't summarise the story as that has been done by previous reviewers but I will say that I found the two main protagonists well drawn and believable although some of the more tangential characters less so. The novel is structured around five days in the life of Laura although during those days we learn a lot about her earlier experiences too. As a framework for the narrative, I felt this device worked quite effectively. This is a beautiful story of so many missed opportunities and "might have beens" set in New England. It reminded me in some ways of some of Anita Shreve's work so if you like that then I think you will probably enjoy this as well. This is a poignant, beautiful read which I thoroughly enjoyed.


A Colder War
A Colder War
by Charles Cumming
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Another enjoyable spy thriller from Charles Cumming, 18 Jun 2014
This review is from: A Colder War (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really enjoyed Charles Cumming's previous novel "A Foreign Country" featuring Thomas Kell, so I was keen to get hold of this second outing. Kell's flagging career is revived when he is asked to investigate the death of the chief of the Ankara station. As you'd expect, nothing is straightforward, and there are suspicions of a mole feeding secrets to the Russians, as well as echoes from Kell's own past to drive the story forward. There is also a love interest for Kell. The plot is satisfyingly complex and Cummings evokes well the Turkish and Greek locations for his story. I was not disappointed by this second outing for Thomas Kell and eagerly await the third instalment in his story.


Ricoh WG-4 GPS Waterproof Digital Camera - Blue (16MP, 4x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD
Ricoh WG-4 GPS Waterproof Digital Camera - Blue (16MP, 4x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD
Price: 279.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Another good waterproof camera from Ricoh (previously Pentax branded), 18 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I reviewed a similar model last year, and this most recent version is basically a slight change of looks, but in all other regards, it is pretty similar to the Pentax WG-3.
In my review for that camera, I said that this is definitely the camera for you if you are into outdoor adventures and that is still the case for this new one. It's built with a rugged robustness which suggests that it will cope well with the great outdoors, come rain (because it's waterproof) or shine. The 4x optical zoom doesn't protrude beyond the camera, but is all sealed in, and the charging port is behind a waterproof seal too, although you can buy an additional accessory to charge wirelessly. More accessories are now available for this new model including three different types of mount, including a suction cup mount, although these need to be purchased separately as they are not included in the box. As with the previous model, photo quality is pretty good, sharp well exposed images and a responsive zoom. The optical zoom is on 4x but I guess this is the price you pay for it all to be sealed inside the waterproof and rugged casing. The camera is quick to respond to pressing the shutter button.(this is important. Shutter lag drives me crazy!) The HD video looks pretty good too. The menus look a bit dated to me although there quite a few options both when shooting and viewing images, most of which I probably won't use. This updated version of the WG-3 now has shutter priority mode which you might find useful.
All in all then, a pretty solid camera which should suit the most intrepid explorer although you might want to ask yourself how much you really need underwater shooting, or a GPS on your camera and the other bells and whistles this camera has in order to decide whether it's worth the price tag to you. If you don't need shutter priority mode, or the option of more mounts for your camera, then you might instead seek out the WG-3 from Pentax which is effectively the same camera but at a lower price because it is last year's model.


Staedtler Karat Aquarell 125 Professional Watercolour Pencils Tin - Assorted Colours (Set of 48)
Staedtler Karat Aquarell 125 Professional Watercolour Pencils Tin - Assorted Colours (Set of 48)
Price: 40.94

4.0 out of 5 stars High quality, although quite pricey, so definitely a set for the more serious artist, 18 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are very good quality pencils. They don't break easily and there is a really wide range of colours included in this set. They blend really well and when used with water, create a good depth of colour if you press hard enough. Some water colour pencils I've had before have gone soggy when used with water. These don't and that is a definite advantage. The overall effect is good and looks good on paper. If high quality is important to you, then this set is worthy of your consideration. However, if price is your main consideration, then you may wish to look elsewhere.


The Murder Bag
The Murder Bag
by Tony Parsons
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 5.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recognisably Tony Parsons and a good detective story too, 8 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Murder Bag (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you've read Tony Parsons' previous work, there are themes within this which you will recognise. DC Wolfe is a single parent, trying to juggle life with his daughter Scout and his dog after his wife has left them for a new life. I think we are supposed to think early on that Wolfe, recently appointed as a detective, is a bit of a maverick, prepared to go it alone but with a strong instinct which will lead him to find truth in the cases he investigates. In this story, it seems that there is a serial killer at large, taunting the police through the use of social media, and apparently waging war on the rich on behalf of the poor. But there is a connection between the victims - they all went to school together, and as the body count increases (at an alarming and quite unrealistic rate), it is to the past that Wolfe and his fellow detectives turn to try to unravel the explanation for the violent series of events. It's a competent enough police procedural with a sufficiently complex plot to keep you guessing until the end. I enjoyed this and will look out for Wolfe's next outing which will come next year.


I Am Pilgrim
I Am Pilgrim
Price: 1.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping thriller that does not disappoint, 27 May 2014
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This review is from: I Am Pilgrim (Kindle Edition)
This is a clever and readable thriller that moves across continents at a dizzying pace as a former high ranking US agent is drawn back into the intelligence world to save America from a deadly threat. Cleverly linking a murder in New York, the 9/11 attacks and global terrorism, the plot is topical bad chilling. The story is told from two perspectives - we learn not only of 'Pilgrim's' efforts to foil a terrorist attack but we also learn of the journey undertaken by Saracen, the attacker too. I can see this novel being turned into a Hollywood blockbuster action adventure. At times, it is perhaps a little formulaic, but this never gets in the way of it being a really cracking read which I enjoyed very much. I will certainly look out for this author's next novel.


SanDisk Sansa Clip Sport 4GB MP3 Player - Black
SanDisk Sansa Clip Sport 4GB MP3 Player - Black
Price: 39.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for exercise out and about!, 22 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've had several SanDisk MP3 players before and they are always excellent sound quality. My untrained ear tells me this, but SanDisk also regularly gets good reviews from audio experts as well.. This Sport Clip model is no exception and the small screen makes it a far more appealing proposition than the iPod Shuffle because you can easily navigate through your music collection. The included earphones sound better than many included with MP3 players and it is easy enough to add non DRM music via my Macbook by dragging and dropping the files and you can also listen to audio books. I've never found the FM radio included to be particularly great because the radio always uses the earphone cable as the aerial so reception is never brilliant, but this is a bit better than some although I'd still prefer a stand alone radio. All in all, this is a pleasing little package for the exercise enthusiast. Small enough to use on the move, with a useful clip and a stopwatch too, this is another great little MP3 player from SanDisk.


AmazonBasics DSLR Gadget Messenger Bag Medium with Grey Interior
AmazonBasics DSLR Gadget Messenger Bag Medium with Grey Interior
Price: 16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good value as AmazonBasics products usually are, 22 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
You could pay a lot more for a camera bag than this but I doubt you will find better value for money anywhere. This bag is suitable for my Canon EOS 100D plus a couple of spare lenses either side of it. The internal padding is fleece lined to help to prevent damage to your kit, and I feel that this bag provides adequate protection when out and about. The bag closes with a clip and underneath the flap there is a small zipped pocket and a couple of flap over pockets presumably designed for the storage of memory cards. In front of the main compartment there is a further zipped pocket with two inner mesh compartments for extra bits and bobs. This is a good product. It's a shame that it doesn't have an all weather cover like a similar LowePro bag that I also own but for the price, I think you'll find this hard to beat!


The English Girl
The English Girl
Price: 5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Fine contemporary espionage thriller - Definitely a 5 star read, 15 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The English Girl (Kindle Edition)
Daniel Silva's series of novels featuring art restorer and Israeli spy Gabriel Allon never fails to please. This latest instalment is another satisfying tale of international intrigue and espionage as well as dark dealings at the heart of the political system. The story begins with Gabriel Allon is asked to investigate discretely the disappearance of a young English political adviser who has been the secret lover of the British Prime Minister. The story leads from London to the island of Corsica and then to the heart of Russia where the Israeli spies have run into difficulties in the past. Gabriel's usual team is involved in the complex investigation which reveals the truth about what's really going on, with the `old man' Ari Shamron, still going strong. As usual, Daniel Silva's plot twists and turns with one or two developments which I did not see coming. It is grounded in current security concerns; you can imagine that events such as these could possibly unfold. Allon is soon to be the chief of the Israeli security services and I was concerned that this might mark the end of the series. I am therefore thrilled to see that the next story is due for publication in the summer. I've already pre-ordered my copy! Long may the Gabriel Allon series continue. If you enjoy good contemporary spy fiction, then you should definitely read these books. You could start with this one which is an excellent example or you could start with "The Kill Artist" and read the series in order. If you are new to Daniel Silva, I envy you having all those wonderful books to immerse yourself in.


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