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Reviews Written by
Richard Brown (Aberdeen, Scotland)
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The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy
The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy
by Peter May
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Immersive Crime Fiction with an exciting conclusion!, 17 Oct. 2014
Peter May's five years on Lewis researching 'The Black House' was well spent. You get a wonderful feeling of time and space both in the third person "now" and the first person "then" told through the random memories of main character Fin MacLeod.

I generally steer clear of crime fiction that dwells too much on police procedure, forensic detail etc. and I felt slightly worried when a post-mortem chapter edged towards that - but the character doing the post-mortem was a hoot, like so many others here.

What we get instead are a well-imagined community of Gaelic-speaking Lewis 'teuchters' and a narrative driven along by the cause-and-effect of the past on the present.

Although I guessed "whodunit" reasonably early, I couldn't quite guess the motive. It makes for a far-fetched yet very exciting ending and a feeling of satisfaction as you close the book.


The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81
The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81
Price: £1.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and poignant by turns, 8 July 2014
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Time spent with a JB Morrison character is always time well spent. Frank Derrick is no different, from his collection of animal ornaments, itemised DVD collection and his relationships with board game fanatic ex-punk Smelly John, Bill the cat and temporary care worker and potential love interest Kelly Christmas. It's a real page turner - funny and poignant by turns.


The Weight of Souls (The Society Book 1)
The Weight of Souls (The Society Book 1)

4.0 out of 5 stars Great imagination!, 3 Dec. 2013
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Just like her first book, Angel 's Fury, Bryony Pearce has fused believable characters with unbelievable situations and the end result is a real page-Turner!


The Crash of Hennington
The Crash of Hennington
by Patrick Ness
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written - too many characters?, 15 Aug. 2013
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The Crash of Hennington is a really well-written book with some delightfully surreal situations and brilliantly realised characters - the problem may just be that there are too damn many of them! I was a little surprised by the brevity of Ness' chapters at first, before I realised they needed to be brief in order to cram in all he wanted.

It does mean that the ending is somewhat apocalyptic as Ness tries to tie everybody up in a hurry and, with some of them, you end up thinking, 'what purpose did they actually serve?'

But the writing is of an excellent standard, the story well-crafted and the ideas suitably crazy!


Broken
Broken
by Daniel Clay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to put down, 20 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Broken (Paperback)
I bought the book having really enjoyed the recent adaptation at the cinema and read it from cover to cover in a day.

Often reading a book immediately after seeing the cinematic version leaves you following the actors in your mind, going about the same actions as you have seen. But the original novel of 'Broken' is sufficiently different to the adaptation with different and more shocking events leading up to the same ending.

Yes, as some have said, Daniel Clay won't be winning any awards for his poetic prose, but it's the free-flowing nature of it that keeps you gripped, just as the book will remain so in your hands.


The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.19

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice story but let down by the writing at times., 4 Feb. 2013
There is a lot to like about 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' - the central message, the metaphorical 'journeys' taken by several characters within - particularly Harold's wife Maureen - and the gentle nature of the titular character himself. My main criticism is with the writing. Sometimes a weak phrase jumps out from the page and smacks you just as you are getting lost in the story. At other times the tiresome repeated telling of central themes (and this is direct telling - as if the reader cannot work it out for themselves) really grates.

A good book, then, but not worthy of the widespread acclaim.


Crossing the Line
Crossing the Line
by Gillian Philip
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to be a teenager to enjoy this., 10 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Crossing the Line (Paperback)
I read this book from cover to cover in a matter of hours - that's how well the story sucks you in and keeps you wanting to read on. There were very well observed inclusions of contemporary culture throughout, very believable characters and, at the heart, a strong moral on the choice you make when electing to carry a knife. There is also an insight into the strife caused by an elderly and loved family member descending into dementia. There is not a character wasted in this book and they interact seamlessly to create a believable plot.

Although it is intended for teenagers, and thus must be careful with language and theme, Gillian has managed to present the same language, thoughts and actions that we all know teenagers say, think and do but in a restrained and subtle way. Happily I can say it can also be enjoyed very much by those who have long since left their teenage years behind them!


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