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Woody (Dublin Ireland)

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Here Be Dragons: A Short Story
Here Be Dragons: A Short Story
Price: £1.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!, 11 April 2016
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Stunning, brilliant, powerful, explosive, nerve-shredding - what more can I say? Sharon Bolton is one of the greatest crime novelists writing today and I have read and adored all of her books, especially the Lacey Flint series. Here Be Dragons is a quick read (I think it took me about an hour to finish) but it had me totally on the edge of my seat throughout and the ending - Wow!
If you haven't read Sharon's novels before, they are all top-notch; her standalone work is brilliantly plotted, topical and original but Lacey Flint is unique and the stories about her deserve to be read and enjoyed in sequence - you won't understand how fulfilling this short story is unless you know Lacy and Mark Joesbury's back stories. Start reading and spread the word - Sharon Bolton is ace!


The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
by Joanna Cannon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.74

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful debut novel, 11 April 2016
I absolutely loved this book and found myself totally immersed in the world of 'The Avenue'. Joanna Cannon's writing really captured the essence of the time in a delightful way - I found something enchanting in almost every page, especially the childish wonder of Grace & Tilly.
I remember the summer of 1976 extremely well; I spent a couple of weeks on holiday in Corfu that summer and came back home to discover that the weather was hotter and sunnier back in South London so I can understand and empathise with this major component of the story.
Minor spoiler alert.... The gradual reveal towards the end of the book is unexpected and heartbreaking but is the perfect explanation for so much.
Joanna - how are you going to better this with your future novels?


Broken Dolls (Jefferson Winter)
Broken Dolls (Jefferson Winter)
by James Carol
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Cliched and unbelievable, 9 Feb. 2015
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I cannot understand how this book has achieved so many 4 and 5 star ratings. The main character, Jefferson Winter, is unlikeable, arrogant, and totally unbelievable in the way that he assigns genius-status to himself and comes up with profiles, descriptions and scenarios instantly with virtually no information to go on. The way he behaves with some witnesses and interviewees would not be condoned anywhere and the police working with him just stand by and let him get on with it with only token reprimands that are totally ignored. Most of the characters are clichéd and wooden and many of the situations are lifts from other ideas (Psycho, anyone?).
I finished the story in the hope that it would eventually redeem itself, but sadly the answer was no; I shan't be reading any more of Mr Carol's work.


The Sword of Albion: The Sword of Albion Trilogy Book 1 (Sword of Albion Trilogy 1)
The Sword of Albion: The Sword of Albion Trilogy Book 1 (Sword of Albion Trilogy 1)
by Mark Chadbourn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware - this is Fantasy, not historical fiction!, 3 Dec. 2012
Big mistake on my part.... I thought this was going to be a historical fiction novel in the vein of Sansom, Forrester, Clements etc but I should have checked the reviews a bit more clearly.
This is a historical FANTASY novel, as I realised when I read that Mary Queen of Scots head continued to talk and curse at the witnesses to her execution for several minutes after it was removed from her shoulders by the axe!
I'm sure it's a great book for those who like their fantasy, but sadly not for me.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2014 1:57 PM GMT


Vengeance in Mind
Vengeance in Mind
by N. J. Cooper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK, but that's about all..., 26 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Vengeance in Mind (Paperback)
I picked this book up in the library as it looked interesting and I hadn't read any of the authors novels before; in all honesty it's not necessary to have read the first 3 in the series although these will clearly provide the background history for Karen, Will and Charlie.
The story starts off well with an intriguing murder scenario; not quite the 'locked door' style of mystery, but a similar approach - body found in house, all doors locked, one person in house therefore prime suspect?
Sadly the story then loses it's originality and the plot seems to borrow bits of popular themes, trafficking, East European thugs, multi-millionaire victims etc, and the psychologist helping the police getting drawn into trouble.
Yes, the writing and characterization is good and I did read the book to the end, but I was very disappointed at how obvious the guilty parties were and how little was made of the processing of the suspects.
A bit long and drawn out and unnecessary romatic episodes that added nothing to the storyline. A few superfluos characters thrown in to pad out the plot.
2 stars only, and I won't be reading any more of the series.


88 Killer (Harper & Levene 2)
88 Killer (Harper & Levene 2)
by Oliver Stark
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not up to the standards of American Devil, 27 Jan. 2012
Having read and enjoyed American Devil and seen many of the reviews of 88 Killer, I was looking forward to reading it. However, I found myself very quickly working out what was going on conceptually (too similar to American Devil - is this going to become his trademark or will he branch out into a different style?)and I had (correctly) guessed the killer about a quarter of the way through the book.
It is far too long, and as another reviewer stated, there are far too many narrow escapes for the killer, and the book stretches credibility at times with how the killer manages not to be recognised by anyone else involved in or on the fringes of the killings.
3 stars because Stark is undoubtedly a good writer and overall I did enjoy the book, but he misses out on a higher score because I want to read authors who challenge my mind and don't resort to some of the simplistic plot devices used in this novel.


The Leopard: Harry Hole 8
The Leopard: Harry Hole 8
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The best yet from Nesbo, 25 Feb. 2011
How can the publishers put those 'The next Stieg Larsson' stickers on Jo Nesbo's books? Those of us who have faithfully read Nesbo's novels over the last few years will know that his work is far superior to the Millenium Trilogy (not to detract from Larsson's novels - I enjoyed them but they're a bit hard going in places).
Anyway, The Leopard is without doubt Nesbo's tour-de-force so far; this is a magnificent novel with brilliantly imagined plotlines and a great cast of characters - I suspect we have not heard the last of Mikael Bellman, the head of Kripos; a truly egotistical and power-hungry character with a serious anti-Harry attitude!
Harry Hole outdoes himself this time round in his excesses, but that only seems to make him more human (or superhuman, as he still manages to survive falling off the wagon yet again....). He is without doubt my favourite policeman and there can be few better-described and gritty characters in crime fiction.
There are some truly brutal scenes but Nesbo knows just how far to push the descriptions so that it enthralls rather than appals.
As mentioned in another review, one of the key plot devices does rely on coincidence, but then so does life from time to time, and it does not lessen the impact of the story. Just be prepared to lose yourself for hours on end in this brilliant book and enjoy.
For those who have never read Nesbo previously, there are frequent references to his last novel, The Snowman, and it would be helpful to read that first. In fact, read all of Nesbo's novels; each one will drag you in and refuse to let you go!


A Quiet Belief In Angels
A Quiet Belief In Angels
by R.J. Ellory
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written, masterful story - 10 stars if possible...., 25 Jan. 2008
I was quite unsure about whether to read this book initially as I am a bit sceptical about the 'Richard & Judy best read' recommendations. Silly me; I will be paying far more attention to their recommendations in future.
Faced with a long-haul flight and near the end of my current book, I picked up 'Quiet Belief....' at the airport; this was one of the best decisions I have made in a lifetime of reading. The book is simply a masterpiece of literary construction and the story of Joseph Calvin Vaughan's life pulls you in and doesn't let go.
Starting out in depression-era Georgia when tragedy initially strikes the Vaughan family, this tour-de-force follows Joseph's life through to the modern day. You live his triumphs & disasters, his loves and his losses and you can feel the atmosphere of each period in time that he passes through.
Weaving through Joseph's life is the horror of a series of murders of young girls that began in Joseph's home town and seem to haunt him, and become an obsession throughout his life. The effect and impact of these murders on Joseph and the other key characters in this story is beautifully , excruciatingly explored. You cannot help but be moved by some of the things that Joseph experiences and lives through.
And oh, what a clever story it is too.... Ellory leads the reader down a number of paths trying to guess the true villain and at the end, it should have been obvious, but it wasn't.
I just loved this book and cannot recommend it highly enough.


Exit Music (A Rebus Novel)
Exit Music (A Rebus Novel)
by Ian Rankin
Edition: Hardcover

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent end to the series, 18 Sept. 2007
Ian Rankin's Rebus series is without equal. Each story has been wonderfully crafted with every character well realised, and Rebus himself is a masterpiece of literary creation. Those of us who have been dedicated followers of Rebus down the years have known that the time would eventually come when our man would have to retire, but what a way to end the series! This book is magnificent; as usual there is more than one strand to the story, and these intertwine to keep the reader frantically turning pages. The ending is hugely satisfying and Rankin is obviously leaving the door slightly ajar.... for what, who can say? I feel privileged to have read this series and feel certain that whatever Ian Rankin decides to do with Rebus in his retirement, or whether Siobhan will now become the lead character in her own right, he will continue to treat us to masterful and thrilling writing.
Thanks Ian, and slainté John Rebus!


The Caller
The Caller
by Alex Barclay
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good writing, but disappointing end......, 30 May 2007
This review is from: The Caller (Paperback)
I read Alex Barclay's debut novel Darkhouse last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was, therefore, looking forward to a similar experience with her new novel The Caller.

The storyline is good although it borrows from a number of other serial killer novels in some aspects, the detail is well researched, and there are a few tense moments in the book.

However, I cannot find myself sympathising with the lead characters - they are very stereotypical - and I didn't feel myself getting sucked into the story in the way that a good thriller should do.

The main let-down for me was the weak ending. There was never any explanation for why the killer behaved the way he did, why the bodies were posed the way they were, why the phone calls were made, etc etc.

It seemed to me as if Ms Barclay had the idea for the story but really didn't know what to do with it at the end and just finished it as quickly as possible.

Hopefully her next novel will address these faults as she is basically a good thriller writer......


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