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The Man from Berlin (Gregor Reinhardt)
The Man from Berlin (Gregor Reinhardt)
by Luke McCallin
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic historical crime fiction!, 15 Sept. 2014
How true is the saying 'never judge a book by it's cover'. For that is exactly what I did when given this book to read. Described as literary crime fiction, and with the page of Waffen SS; Wehrmacht; and British Army ranks at the beginning I honestly thought that this novel would be beyond my historical knowledge of the Wars. I don't like to write a book off without trying the first few pages, and I'm so glad I did!!

I fell in love with the main character, Gregor Reinhardt, straight away. A Captain in the Abwehr, having been part of both wars, he feels despondent and depressed with his lot in life and his role in the war.

As an ex-police officer he is asked to investigate the murder of a German officer, found dead in the home of a local woman, who was also murdered at the scene.

As his investigation develops Reinhardt finds himself up against the local police and old enemies, who are trying to deter and belittle him from his duties. He also finds friends in the most unexpected places. Intrigued by the evidence he finds and the fact officials are trying to block his progress, he finds a new lease of life and determination to do the right thing....

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. I can't wait to read the next Gregor Reinhardt instalment!

By Leigh Russell - Fatal Act (Di Geraldine Steel 6)
By Leigh Russell - Fatal Act (Di Geraldine Steel 6)
by Leigh Russell
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me :-(, 23 Mar. 2014
I have never tried a Geraldine Steel novel and I'm afraid to say I won't be trying another......I have had to abandon this novel about 3 chapters in as I'm finding it quite boring. It started off with potential, I was intrigued to know who had killed Anna. Unfortunately from what I have read, you are either placed at the scene of the crime, the police station or the suspects house and that is it. There is no depth to the characters - we do not learn anything personal about them, therefore I could not warm/get to know any of them with any feeling.
I like to engage with main and central characters from the start and learn more about their lives and enjoy the story. Sorry, this wasn't for me.

The Silent Wife
The Silent Wife
by A. S. A. Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good thriller, nothing more....., 20 Jan. 2014
This review is from: The Silent Wife (Paperback)
This psychological thriller is written from the perspective of him, Todd Gilbert, and her, Jodi Brett. They have been together for twenty years, though never married.

Their relationship has become stagnant, running on a day by day
routine; Jodi, working from home, has the dinner prepared when Todd comes home from managing his property development company, Jodi then washes the dishes and shuts the house up for the night while Todd walks the dog, there is no time for meaningful conversations anymore, even in the mornings Todd gets up for work and usually leaves Jodi in bed.

Jodi is aware of Todd's affairs and being a psychotherapist has been able to control and hide her feelings from Todd. Todd has no idea that Jodi is aware of his indiscretions with other women. His latest 'on the side' is Natasha, the daughter of his best friend from high school, Dean. But this latest affair has become more serious......

When Todd announces another ' weekend fishing trip with the boys ', Jodi resigns herself to being alone. What Todd doesn't realise isJodi has her own little ways of taking revenge.

Then Natasha tells Todd she is pregnant and she has told her father. Dean is furious with Todd and disowns him. Dean calls and tells Jodi what has happened.

Jodi confides in a friend over dinner but chooses not to confront Todd when he comes home drunk. Instead she mixes the sleeping pills she found in his pocket earlier in his nighttime drink and puts him to bed. When he wakes the next afternoon he can't believe he has missed the whole morning. Natasha calls Todd and confirms that Dean had spoken to Jodi and she knows.

When there is no confrontation from Jodi, Todd carries on with his routine at home. When away from home he is under constant pressure from Natasha to leave Jodi so they can move in together and get married. Todd leases an apartment for them, and feeling frustrated Natasha calls to tell Jodi. On moving day, Todd accompanies Jodi on the early dog walk to tell her he is leaving her.

Trying to keep things on decent terms, Jodi has Todd over for supper but several days later she is contacted by Todd's lawyer. She has been served an eviction notice. Jodi withdraws from the world for days. When a 'street savvy' friend visits, Jodi goes along with a plan to 'get rid' of Todd before his will is changed and Jodi is no longer his beneficiary. After selling some items Jodi pays her friend in cash. Todd cancels Jodi's credit cards.

While Jodi is away at a conference, Todd is shot and killed. She returns home and the police interview her. Her friend has become unreachable. The police are suspicious and Jodi is one of their leading suspects, but it comes to light that Dean has been arrested for the murder. As the worry and guilt heavily descend on Jodi she is hospitalised but when back home the police visit to confirm that Dean hired men to kill Todd..................

This a good read but easily forgettable as there is nothing new in the plot, and I found it a bit long-winded at times. I wouldn't rush to read it again........

Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1)
Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1)
by Conn Iggulden
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fab historical fiction............, 22 Oct. 2013
It's 1443, and there is still unrest in France over the lands that the English own there.
The king's spymaster, Derry Brewer, and William de la Pole - the Duke of
Suffolk - easily persuade the young and weak-minded King Henry VI to consider
taking a French wife. They have their eye on Margaret Anjou.
Henry's father, King Henry V successfully fought for the English lands in France. A 20 year truce with
France via the marriage, and the return of Maine and Anjou to the French should bring a long outstanding peace between the two countries.

Richard, Duke of York, is the leader of the English army in Normandy, and a staunch
supporter of the old King Henry. After the wedding ceremony in France, Richard is furious when he learns that the French army are waiting in Anjou to reclaim the land.....Over the next few months in Normandy, Richard watches more and more English families, turfed from their homes and farmland, arrive to seek refuge in the town. He refuses to order the English army to help the innocent, biding his time in silence to see if the landowners revolt.

Margaret arrives in England and as Margaret spends more time beside Henry she notes his mental and physical weaknesses. She demands to see all future documents before Henry signs them.

King Charles is unhappy at the damage the English rebellions are doing to his army and declares the truce now broken. He vows to take back all the lands of France belonging to the English.

The Duke of Suffolk arrives in Normandy to relieve Richard of York of his duty. Richard is humoured as he is aware of the fight coming from the French King. The Duke of Suffolk goes into battle against the huge French army but the French force the English back across the channel.

Jack Cade, a rebel against the king's men, has raised an army of a thousand men - farmers and former land owners in France who are bitter at how they have been treated. They create havoc - murder and looting - across the Kent countryside and upon hearing of the unrest in the city, Jack decides to take the fight to London.

Derry Brewer is called to attend the Speaker of Commons, Tresham, at parliament. There is a charge of high treason - someone has to pay for the loss of thousands of men in France and Lord Suffolk is the main suspect. Brewer sends a messenger to intercept Suffolk and stop him coming to London but Lord Suffolk refuses to act like a coward.
Richard of York, Cardinal Beaufort and Tresham pressure Suffolk into signing a confession. After being tortured Suffolk gives in and signs the confession, leaving himself at the king's mercy.

With the peers and lords of the King gathered in the king's chambers, the injured Suffolk is brought in. Suffolk regains his strength of mind and denies all charges. The king's final judgement is read out. The King banishes Suffolk from Britain for five years. Brewer has already arranged supplies and safe passage to France for Suffolk.
Furious, Richard of York has the support of his followers behind him when he asks Tresham to set a new law of parliament - that another heir to the throne be selected until a child is born to the King and Queen.

Suffolk boards the merchant cog that Brewer has arranged for him. A warship intercepts them at sea and the crew are killed and thrown overboard. The captain of the warship addresses Suffolk by name. Just as Suffolk has time to realise he has been betrayed, the captain takes a blade to Suffolk's throat.

As the news reaches London that Jack Cade and his entourage of a thousand men or more are on the outskirts ready to raid the city, Margaret refuses to leave but the King is escorted to his castle at Kenilworth.
Jack Cade and his army fight their way over London Bridge. As a diversion Cade and the main force of his army head towards the Guildhall while some of his other men head for the Tower and the royal mint. As dawn approaches Cade joins his men at the tower. His remaining army of men are exhausted or still drunk from the nights fighting and looting. As much of the gold and silver they can carry is taken from the tower as they head back for London Bridge.

Brewer arrives at the tower, relieved to see Margaret is safe. Margaret sends a pardon to Cade and his men on the understanding that they leave London alone. Cade agrees and spreads the wealth of the looting among his most loyal men.
With the freedom of the pardon Cade and his men have enjoyed a few months of peace with the law and are starting to settle down and make a life for themselves. Jack and his friends are building his home when the new sheriff and his men come upon them. Jack is under arrest for treason and murder of the king's men. Jack fights for his new life but they are outnumbered, his men are killed and he is mortally wounded.

At the beginning of the queen's pregnancy the King organises a hunt for his lords and earls. He is taken ill that evening and five months later as he stills lies in a comatose state, a meeting of the king's lords is held in Westminster. As most present are supporters of Richard of York, he is voted in to rule as Protector and Defender of the Realm until such time as the King resumes his health or there is a successor to the throne........

Conn Iggulden is a master at weaving fiction into history and history into fiction.......a fantastic and entertaining read. I look forward to reading the next in the series.

Never Coming Back: David Raker Novel #4
Never Coming Back: David Raker Novel #4
by Tim Weaver
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling and entertaining read, 30 Aug. 2013
In Devon, England, a body is washed up in the coves. DCI Rocastle, is in charge of the investigation.

David Raker is recovering from a near fatal wound. Five months ago a man had tried to kill him, part and parcel of his work as a missing persons investigator. When Emily, an old girlfriend turns up on David's doorstep his interest in the missing is reawakened. Ten months ago, Emily's older sister Carrie, her husband Paul Ling and their daughters, Annabel and Olivia had just disappeared from their local family home. Leaving behind a scene of homely domesticity - dinner cooking, tv and computers on, mobile phones, wallets, the family car, the dog - they had simply vanished into thin air and the case was still unresolved. DCI Rocastle had been in charge of the investigation.

Some months before their disappearance, Carrie and Belle are visiting a Dr Schiltz at his home in America. Belle is recovering from surgery on her leg and this is the last visit with the doctor before leaving for England. Left in Schiltz's study, Carrie takes a real interest in a photograph of Schiltz and two other men, Ray Muire and Carter Graham.

Schiltz is at a private villa in the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas. The villa is run by Jeremy Cornell who selects exclusive high-end businessmen from all over the world, oil tycoons, CEOs, surgeons, and provides gambling and women for their pleasure. Cornell, who goes out of the way to protect the reputation of the men who use the villa overhears Schiltz on a phonecall mentioning an old photograph. When Schiltz is off the phone to Carrie, Cornell shows concern about the caller showing interest and whether the photo is incriminating enough to be a threat to their 'set-up'. When they discover his laptop, containing the photo, has been stolen from Schiltz's hotel room Cornell demands the name of the caller.

Carlos Soto, head of security at the Bellagio, and an ex-policeman who is already suspicious of Cornell and his quiet but threatening and dangerous demeanour and the goings on at the villa, gives Cornell the hotel footage as a way of keeping himself off Cornell's radar, but Soto remains aware of his movements.

Pursuing the Ling's disappearance David Raker discovers there were sightings in the area a day after their disappearance, Carrie and Paul were 'seen' with another male by the gardener on the land of Carter Graham, a rich, worldwide businessman. David visits Farnmoor Manor but discovers Ray Muire has since died in an accident. Raker takes a dinghy out to Miln Cross, the ruins of a village on the edge of the cliffs that was mercilessly taken by the sea and killed most of the villagers. Although they were also seen there he finds nothing of interest. When a friend gives him all the police records of the Ling's case, he discovers that another witness, to the sighting of the girls in London, has also since died of an overdose. He becomes suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the only two witnesses.

David gets invited to a meet with Graham Carter, who is completely co-operative but seems totally unaware of the importance of this photograph of himself, Schiltz and Muire. As the investigation becomes more and more centred around this photograph and the other two men in it and all those with any involvement are turning up dead, David calls Carter to warn he is in imminent danger. When David arrives he finds Carter, his PA and the security guard are all dead.

As Raker finds out more about the men turning up dead and their connection to a villa in Vegas, he gets in touch with Soto at the Bellagio, but Soto is reluctant to talk about Cornell to anyone, until he knows their involvement with the man.

Carrie's professor gets in touch and confirms she was doing her thesis on a man called Daniel Kalb. His last contact with Carrie was on the day the family disappeared, she had told him her dissertation was on the laptop. Raker goes to the Ling's house and discovers Carries dissertation hidden in a toy laptop. Photos are revealing the man Kalb, in uniform, a Waffen-SS member and leader of the Sobibor Nazi extermination camp. One of the pics reveals Kalb had been at Miln Cross. Carrie had recognised Kalb in the background of the photo of Schiltz and had realised who he was.

In the middle of the night Raker goes back out to the ruined village of Miln Cross. Practically blind in the dark he hears movement and sees Cornell carrying a body into one of the houses. He follows him and is attacked by Cornell but Raker breaks Cornells knee. Leaving Cornell tied up he circles the house and goes to look for the body but there's a voice behind him, and DCI Rocastle is raising a gun to his head.

Having been bought by Cornell, Rocastle had been involved from the start, misleading and corrupting the police investigations into the Ling's disappearance and the body on the beach (Kalb). Rocastle is riddled with guilt for all the killings that have got way out of control and kills Cornell before taking his own life. Rocastle had confessed that Paul and Carrie are buried in the walls of the house they are in, and the girls, Belle and Olivia were taken to the States to be killed in the desert.

Emily begs Raker to go to the States to find the girls bodies. She confesses to Raker that Annabel was his daughter, raised by Carrie and Paul as their own. On his arrival in Vegas, Raker is approached by Carlos Soto. Carlos tells Raker that he had been following Cornell for a while and told him of a place in the desert he had regularly followed him to. Raker goes on his own and enters the property. He finds a room with its walls plastered with photos of Kalb throughout his life. In the next room a man is waiting with a gun, none other than Carter Graham.

Kalb was Carters father and Cornell is Carters son. The three men had spent all their lives protecting the identity of Kalb and keeping his existence a secret so that he would never go to trial for his crimes to humanity. They used the money made from the elite group meeting at the casino to build the property in the desert, complete with high tech security and an underground bunker.
Carter tells Raker the girls bodies were under the house, thrown down a shoot that led from a trapdoor in the room. When he leans in to look he can see Olivia's toy on the floor..........

A day later, after Raker has told the police as much as he can to investigate Carter and Cornell, Raker meets Soto at a local diner before he leaves for England. Soto confesses that at one time when he was following Cornell, he watched Cornell at arrivals in the airport. Cornell met two girls who looked terrified of him but as he was about to leave with them Cornell was taken for questioning by the airport security. Soto had taken the chance to rescue the girls and Soto introduces him to Annabel and Olivia.......

A complex, but gripping and entertaining thriller, well worth a read.

MOFRED® Black Executive Leather Multi Function Standby Case for Apple iPad Mini / Apple iPad Mini 3 with Built in Magnet for Sleep / Wake Feature + Screen Protector + Stylus Pen (Available in Multiple Colors)
MOFRED® Black Executive Leather Multi Function Standby Case for Apple iPad Mini / Apple iPad Mini 3 with Built in Magnet for Sleep / Wake Feature + Screen Protector + Stylus Pen (Available in Multiple Colors)

5.0 out of 5 stars Compact and tough!, 2 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This product is perfect for the ipad mini, it isn't bulky at all, the mini ipad sits perfectly inside, the magnetic
strip inside ensures when the cover is closed that your ipad goes to standby so no battery is wasted, and as soon as the cover
is open, your ipad is ready to use again. The screen protector is fab and you get a stylus too. A great solid product.

Sword and Scimitar
Sword and Scimitar
by Simon Scarrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The first Simon Scarrow book I have tried - and loved it!, 7 May 2013
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Paperback)
It's 1545. Sir Thomas Barrett is a young knight serving the Order of St John, based on the island of Malta. They are Christian knights who wage war at sea against the Ottoman Empire and their Islamic faith. In one successful battle they capture a galley with a female prisoner aboard, Maria de Venici. She is taken back to their fort on Malta and held until her family pay the ransom but in the meantime her and Thomas have a secret love affair. When they are discovered, Maria is left abandoned in disgrace by her family and Thomas is exiled from the island and the Order.

Twenty years later at his home in Hertfordshire he is summoned back to the Order. The Sultan Suleiman is massing an army to destroy all the Christian kingdoms in Europe, ultimately Rome, and the Order on the island of Malta are under serious threat of being wiped out.
He is also ordered to attend a meeting with Sir William Cecil and Sir Francis Walsingham in London. They commission Thomas to travel with an agent, Richard Hughes, in the guise of his squire, whom is to discover the whereabouts of a secret document that King Henry entrusted to a knight in Malta. All Thomas knows is the document, in the wrong hands, could bring about a war of faiths between the British people and up-end the protestant Queen Elizabeth of England's reign.

Upon arriving in Malta, Thomas finds his old captain, La Valette, is now Grand Master of the Order. Thomas is elected as one of the select few on the war council but an old friend, Oliver Stokely, who also fell in love with Maria, still harbours bitter feelings towards Thomas and informs Thomas that Maria is dead and that she had bore Thomas a son whom also died. As Richard begins to investigate the possible location of the document the Turks surround the Grand Harbour. When the citizens of Malta descend on the Fort for protection Thomas discovers Maria is among them. She disappears before they have a chance to meet again. Thomas's love for Maria is re-ignited. Richard makes a pact, in return for Thomas's help in finding the document, he will help Thomas find Maria.

As the Turks bombard one of the main forts, a religious ceremony is held. As most of the town is distracted Thomas and Richard break into the dungeons and find the hidden document. Afterwards Thomas secretly follows Maria to her home only to discover she is married to Oliver Stokely. Fort St Elmo is soon to be taken by the Turks and Thomas volunteers as part of the reinforcements, knowing he will be fighting to the death. With one last chance he visits Maria. She informs him their son is still alive and was sent to England for protection. A picture reveals their son to be none other than Richard Hughes. Thomas confronts Richard, who believes he was abandoned by his parents and is still bitter towards Thomas. When Richard discovers the document has been taken from his hiding place he knows he is now in danger and demands to join Thomas in the battle at St Elmo.

With only a day or so before Fort St Elmo is taken by the Turks, Oliver Stokely arrives with the last of the reinforcements. As a man about to face certain death he admits to Thomas that he is resigned to the fact Maria still loves Thomas. He admits he stole the precious document from Richard, as he was aware of the content. The document is the last will of King Henry V111. Towards the end of his life it states Henry's decision to revoke the dissolution of the monasteries and return all the property and lands to the Church of Rome at the insistence of the Vatican in return for his absolution. The will has the power to incite a civil war against the throne and Oliver has once again placed the document in safe-keeping prior to his imminent death.

As the battle for the fort nears its end, Thomas takes a hit from an incendiary and Oliver is mortally wounded. Richard helps his father to the chapel where they mean to make their escape. Oliver gives Richard the key to the hiding place of Henry's will and pleads that Richard destroys it. Thomas and Richard make it to Fort Angelo and after Maria nurses Thomas back to health he moves in with her. The remaining knights of the Order and islanders then band together to make one last heroic stand against the enemy................

I had not had the pleasure of reading a Simon Scarrow novel before. This was a truly excellent read which takes you straight to the heart of the battle. As well as a great story line for the main character there is plenty of action and suspense. A must read for fans of Sean Thomas Russell and Bernard Cornwell.

Trust Your Eyes
Trust Your Eyes
by Linwood Barclay
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping throughout......., 27 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Trust Your Eyes (Hardcover)
You cannot fault Linwood Barclay for taking you straight into the heart of a story and keeping you gripped.

Two brothers in their mid thirties, Ray and Thomas, are forced into spending time together when their father dies in a gardening accident. Ray, an illustrator, takes on the responsibility for his brother and his fathers will. Thomas has schizophrenia and from the age of seven has had a passion for map reading. Since Whirl360 was developed Thomas can now access all the cities across the globe from his computer and believing that in the future, when no paper maps are available and a global virus will wipe out the internet, he is on an obsessive mission to memorise every city street in the world.

When Thomas sees an image of a potential murder in an upper storey window in New York he feels that he should investigate. His brother Ray feels obliged to help but little do they know that it will start a chain of events that are out of their control.

Meanwhile, Howard Talliman, chief advisor to Morris Sawchuck - a rising politician - is trying to protect a secret that could cost him and Morris their hard won livelihoods. When he involves Leroy, a bodyguard and hit-man, Howard finds himself caught up in a murder that goes horribly wrong.....just how far is he prepared to go when his career is at stake?

Linwood Barclay delicately touches on the subject of schizophrenia and how it affects family relationships and gently introduces us to the full character of Thomas, whom you can't help but warm to when his brother tries to help him become more independent.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed Trust Your Eyes and couldn't put it down, for me, the ending was slightly far-fetched but overall another super read from Barclay.

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