ARRAY(0xadb8b684)
 
Profile for Trevor Coote > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Trevor Coote
Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,529
Helpful Votes: 640

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Trevor Coote "Trevor Coote" (Tahiti, French Polynesia)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-15
pixel
Mysterious Depths: An African Adventure
Mysterious Depths: An African Adventure
Price: 3.68

4.0 out of 5 stars Ancient traditions and superstitions interwoven with the spirit world, 28 Mar 2014
Young Mamuke is sent by her beloved sister Sisim to search for her missing husband and the father of her unborn child, Otobo. What follows is a curious, Alice-like adventure into a nether world of spirits, oracles, vengeful gods and sacrificial rites. However, danger lurks around every corner and Mamuke’s adventures become ever more bizarre and violent, her trials more demanding and her foes more numerous and sadistic, culminating in battle scenes and confrontations that are positively Homeric.
Mysterious Depths is written with extreme clarity and an unusual amount of care as there are very few errors. It is in turns exciting, touching and gory and is obviously a world in which the author feels comfortable, and she is a fine writer. So what are its faults? Few really, once it is accepted that it is not a traditional novel but rather a folkloric tale. Yes, the characters are delineated into saintly good and irredeemably bad but that works in this kind of quasi-fantasy where ancient traditions and superstitions are interwoven with the spirit world. There is one moment of Hollywood (a bugbear of mine) where one of the heroines (no spoiler here) encounters three armed adversaries who, for reasons best known to them, instead of simply overpowering her, come at her one at a time enabling her to dispatch all three one after the other. But this minor quibble should not deter anyone from reading this enjoyable and highly imaginative African fable.


Gangsters of Shanghai - An International Mystery Thriller
Gangsters of Shanghai - An International Mystery Thriller
Price: 2.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Out of the frying pan..., 13 Mar 2014
At a time of heightened IRA activity in troubled 1920’s Ireland Michael Gallagher, son of an upright sergeant in the RIC, takes a lowly post in the Shanghai police force and finds himself in an even more turbulent location. Simmering pre-war Shanghai is a seething hotbed of corruption, violence, vice and intrigue fomented by local gangsters and mischievous and exploitative foreigners. From the explosive opening sentence Gangsters of Shanghai casts the reader into this distant, colourful, but squalid and chaotic world with enviable authenticity. The work is impeccably researched, reasonably paced, always interesting and, despite the subject matter, highly likeable. Just about everything is right in this impressive first novel. Yes, there are a number of typos and a few anachronisms but nothing too jarring. The characterisation is not very deep but that is not always a fault (cf Dickens, Naipaul) when the storytelling is as compelling as this. One observation, but not to detract from the quality of the work, is a tendency so common in modern novels to see things through the eyes of Hollywood, here noticeable in later chapters and most evidently in the dialogue – ‘I can do you like I did your old man,’ he said. ‘You can try but you won’t get out of here alive…’ – and the rather hurried denouement. Sometimes it is as if the author (not especially this one) has one eye on a future screenplay.
In summary though, a fine and enjoyable read which I would recommend to anyone over the age of 13 (there is nothing too lurid or explicit within) who enjoys unchallenging modern historical fiction.


Skinhead Away
Skinhead Away
Price: 1.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taut and authentic, 4 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Skinhead Away (Kindle Edition)
Taut and authentic, this compact subculture fable kicks off at a slow pace, moves up a gear and then accelerates and explodes into well-timed seaside violence. Skinhead Away is a bruising piece of pulp fiction for hoolie-lit disciples with short attention spans.


The Last Seminarian
The Last Seminarian
Price: 2.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality crossover fiction worth a visit for non-SF devotees, 15 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was sent what on the face of it was a standard science fiction title to review. I don't normally review genre fiction but decided to give it a go as it looked reasonable, and I am very pleased that I did. Within a couple of pages I realised that I was reading a novel written by an experienced writer (but see caveat below), though in the absence of any other traceable fictional works, I presume that it must be in some other domain.
Set in an imaginary future, virtuoso computer programmer Bill has written his friends from the past into a virtual world where they are able to revisit and re-experience events, both joyous and painful, inside their Catholic seminary in the early 1970's. Most of the novel takes place there and is an irreverent look at the shenanigans of the young seminaries, few of whom have any real religious conviction. Mixed in with the fun and the irresponsibility of youth the friends argue about matters both existential and spiritual, and there are some (very intelligent) discussions about the existence of God. The writing is slick, the characters well-drawn, the technology believable and the narrative pace steady over a relatively long work.
On the down side, the text is littered with typos, the penalty of employing a spellcheck rather than a proof-reader. However, all are relatively minor and do not interrupt the flow.
The Last Seminarian is quality crossover fiction which is worth a visit for non-SF devotees. I wish, though, that the author would come out of the shadows and provide us with a potted biography, a paperback version and a follow up title.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 4, 2013 6:23 PM GMT


Daddy Was a Punk Rocker
Daddy Was a Punk Rocker
Price: 3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Trying to pick up the pieces when they all have jagged edges, 20 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a terrific first book but the title and the blurb are somwhat misleading. They give the false impression that we are about to experience a light-hearted, nostalgic romp through a sunny English childhood but DWPR is not light-hearted - though it tries to be - but transparently candid and solemn, a painful tale of neglect, rejection and alienation. The sprinkling of humour somehow makes it all the more poignant, like someone making one-legged jokes through tears and gritted teeth, after an amputation. These are not criticisms but merely observations. If I have any criticisms I feel that the choice of tense (as noted elsewhere), the rather sparing prose and the jerky structure (like a poorly edited film) don't entirely do this melancholy memoir justice. And despite, or rather because of, the rather generic popular musical tastes of his dad, there is little sense of period, or for that matter place, other than city names. But these are minor quibbles. The overall impression is one of a powerful and accomplished piece of work.
This is plainly a cathartic book and I hope that it worked for the author as he has poured his heart out without bitterness and it makes quite unhappy reading at times, though it is so well paced (apart from the occasional jerkiness) and neatly written that it never becomes tedious and certainly never cloying and that is admirable. Make no mistake; candour is not easy when writing about life experiences, painful or otherwise. My own attempt was anything but candid. In the end, though, it is all so deeply personal. Having got the obligatory quasi-autobiographical first book successfully completed and out there it is, for a writer of this quality, time to dip his toes in other less murky waters.


Seventy-One Guns: The Year of the First Arsenal Double (Mainstream Sport)
Seventy-One Guns: The Year of the First Arsenal Double (Mainstream Sport)
by David Tossell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.48

4.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Era: mud bath pitches, tackles from behind, long balls up the middle..., 28 Dec 2012
Unlike The Glory Game, which gave a rousing insight into the whole ethos of football while concentrating on one team (Tottenham), this book will appeal strictly to hardened Arsenal fans. Although sometimes threatening to be as functional as the team which it describes (sorry) it does still serve as a reminder of a sport that has transformed into something quite different, though the seeds of change had already been planted in society at large by the Double year.
What has football lost since Bertie Mee's muscular assemblage of Celts powered their way to achieve what only one other side had previously achieved that century (Tottenham again)? Mud bath pitches, ruthless tackles from behind, endless long balls up the middle, two point victories, local born players, open terracing and end gangs, half-crown entrance fees. The last bastion of working-class sport finally fell to a mixture of gentrification, commercialisation and corporate greed. Seventy-One Guns is written in too bloodless a style to incorporate any true nostalgia, though. It often reads like a series of newspaper reports but it is interesting for Arsenal fans to be reminded of players from the misnamed `Golden Era' and to read their take on what it was like. Because, despite the loss of loyalty or connection to the surrounding community, football had to fit into the modern world, even if there are still vestiges of its macho past (the only sport where no player would dare admit to being gay). It is safer: the Ibroxes, Bradfords and Hillsboroughs are a thing of the past, as are the gangs of violent boot boys who infested the terraces, trains and stations of the 1970's. It is cleaner: Where Seventy-One Guns does succeed is in depicting the thuggish brutality of league football at that time. And above all, it is better: How many of the Arsenal double-winning side would get into even the moderate Arsenal side of today? Quite simply, none.


My Life With Kate Bush
My Life With Kate Bush
by Riaz Ali
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better a life with Kate than with George!, 4 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Life With Kate Bush (Paperback)
The author himself describes his semi-fictionalised (I believe) autobiography as a `hugely affectionate and humorous romp...' But in fact it is more than that. It is a gentle meditation on seventies/eighties British suburban life, an existence familiar to the many thousands who were cast adrift in bland, faceless provincial towns in the latter part of the twentieth century, just before the world went completely mental. MLWKB is an amiably peopled, humorous and touching work which describes how it was to grow up in a mixed race, broken family in a mediocre Welsh town in the 1970's/80's. The author uses a multitude of contemporary technological and cultural signposts and minutiae but does not attempt to weave the social upheaval (and clichés) of that period (the Winter of Discontent, inner city riots, the miners' strike, unemployed millions, money men in red braces) - into the fabric of a very personal, candid and almost introspective take on young life. Yes, there are moments where painful familial or cultural issues are broached but they are dealt with in a muted and delicate manner so as not to impinge on the general light-hearted tone of the work. The author portrays himself as a gauche, naive and sensitive youngster whose shyness is manifested in a quiet obsession with the singer Kate Bush. There is nothing creepy about his love and admiration of his heroine and her music. It is merely an innocent teenage crush which lingers into adulthood and which cleverly forms the backdrop to the story. The bottom line is that the author has created a lovely, warm and entertaining book that can be enjoyed by all but the most hardened cynics. Well done, Riaz!


Offshore
Offshore
by Penelope Fitzgerald
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Going with the ebb and flow, 18 Dec 2009
This review is from: Offshore (Paperback)
I came to reading the novels of Penelope Fitzgerald at almost advanced an age as she came to writing them. They are in the main exquisite vignettes of life written with a delicate charm which give windows into the lives of small communities: a 1950s East Anglian coastal town, BBC wartime radio presenters, a cloistered Cambridge college in Edwardian times and, in Offshore, the houseboat community of Battersea Reach in the 1960s.
In this 1979 Booker Prize winner we find ourselves in the middle of a close, isolated community bobbing around in the tidal Thames: Nenna, a sad young woman estranged from the husband that she loves but who is unable to get him back and her two young children who are growing up barely noticed by their mother; Maurice, a kindly homosexual whose `job' is only whispered about; Richard, an ex-Navy man and his troubled marriage to Laura; Willis, the marine painter who has never been to sea. All are searching for the means to stabilise their current bumpy lives and to give structure to their existence. But as important to the story as the human element is the eclectic mix of floating vessels which are characters in their own right: Dreadnought, Maurice, Grace and Lord Jim. The community, however, is in decline.
Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the finest British novelists in the second half of the twentieth century.


Anil's Ghost
Anil's Ghost
by Michael Ondaatje
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Human rights issues in a country where the true enemy is unknown, 17 Dec 2009
This review is from: Anil's Ghost (Paperback)
It must be a painful experience for a writer to witness the meltdown of his or her country of origin from the comfort of exile. For Canadian author Michael Ondaatje that country is Sri Lanka. The paradise island of tea and cricket has over the last twenty years descended into a morass of barbarity where a hapless population is terrorised by insurgents, secessionists, terrorists and government death squads. Ondaatje returns to his country of birth in the form of Anil, a forensic anthropologist assigned by a human rights organisation to investigate a series of massacres that appear to be part of an organised campaign. Working with Sarath, a government-employed archaeologist assigned to aid her investigation, she hopes that by taking the skeleton of one murder victim as a sample and uncovering the details of his death they will shed light on the culprits behind the murder campaign. But this is a risky business in a country from where she has been absent for so long that she no longer speaks the language fluently, and where the true enemy is unknown.
Anil's Ghost is a beautifully written, meticulously researched, exposition on both a country locked in a cycle of violence, some part of which has arisen as a by-product of a deep history and entrenched local customs and superstitions, and the difficulties faced, and assumptions made, by the Human Rights industry. It is, however, composed in short sections which tend to hinder the flow of the narrative and remove a certain depth from the central characters, despite their obvious sympathy. Quality literary fiction.


Freedom Evolves
Freedom Evolves
by Daniel C. Dennett
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `The real threats to freedom are not metaphysical but political and social', 14 Dec 2009
This review is from: Freedom Evolves (Paperback)
The moment that a commentator introduces the notion of `Darwinian' into a discourse on a subject other than pure biology (and, in America, often that) the knives are out and there are immediate accusations of (genetic) determinism. Daniel Dennett follows on from his acclaimed `Darwin's Dangerous Idea' and dives into the shark-infested seas of free will versus determinism. However, any author who suggests that human behaviour and morality, or the mental faculties that control or influence them, may have evolved, tends to spend one book outlining his theory and the rest of his life answering his critics.
The author acknowledges that a naturalistic account of how our minds have evolved appears to threaten the traditional concept of free will, but feels that this fear has distorted philosophical and scientific investigations into the subject. He states his position at the outset: that the traditional link between determinism and inevitability is a mistaken one. He then sets about breaking that link and spends three chapters deriving his theory from first principals using models that demonstrate that inevitability is a design concept not a physical one. This is fundamental to his belief that evolution of the mind (whether or not it is a deterministic process) is not incompatible with free will.
Of course, contemplating the very organ that you are using to contemplate with is by definition difficult and ultimately limited. Dennett is an extremely lucid (and sometimes humorous) writer and there could be no clearer account of the ideas expressed in this book. But they are difficult. Knowledge of philosophy is not a prerequisite but it is more rewarding if the reader has a basic understanding of how philosophical principals work, and the author gives the reader the option of skipping the early chapters detailing the models used to uncouple determinism and inevitability. Freedom Evolves is a wide-ranging discourse (too detailed to discuss in any length in a brief review) encompassing many aspects of philosophy and evolutionary biology. The author addresses many of the criticisms to date and pre-empts some of those to come, making an important and truly original contribution to the discourse. It is not for the faint-hearted and if you find it too much of a struggle, the take home message is the author's own: that `The real threats to freedom are not metaphysical but political and social'


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-15