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Reviews Written by
johnverp "@johnverp1" (Budapest)

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by Rose Edmunds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.33

4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read, 17 April 2015
This review is from: Concealment (Paperback)
This is a well-written novel with an infectious story line and some good insights.

I also liked the first person delivery, but some of the actions and decisions of our protagonist frustrated or annoyed me. The plot was pretty plausible, had a good level of intrigue and there was no nonsense with A-Team antics or similar.

I am definitely going for another book by the author which, at this point, means her debut novel. 9/10

Death on Demand (Tito Ihaka)
Death on Demand (Tito Ihaka)
by Paul Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars In two minds about this one - 3.5 stars, 10 April 2015
On the one hand, this was a well-written mystery with a different and likeable protagonist. There was a good twist or two (although the ending was slightly so-so) and Thomas threw in some good insights as well.

On the other, though, I admit to getting thrown by the number of characters and murders. Things were not helped by the very long prologue which lasted for about 10% of the book - there were so many different characters, situations and time periods to get the head around that it was not difficult to get confused once the real story started.

I probably would have left a 3 star rating normally, but have kept it at 4 in case I was the problem by not paying enough attention! 7/10

Falling Glass
Falling Glass
by Adrian McKinty
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, 4 April 2015
This review is from: Falling Glass (Paperback)
I have read three McKinty novels and rated them all highly. This one didn't reach the same heights, in my view.

The writing was OK, but the plot lacked depth as a hide-and-seek game played out. I had trouble warming to the characters, although our protagonist was very much trying to do the right thing. Things were also left open and the ending was otherwise a little strange too.

For me, there wasn't the colour I was expecting based on my prior McKinty reads. Put differently, this was a plain or simple read, albeit with some pace. 7/10

Betrayal (Ryan Drake 3)
Betrayal (Ryan Drake 3)
by Will Jordan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too long and too over-the-top, 1 April 2015
Apologies for being the odd man out here amongst all the 4 and 5 star reviews on both the Amazon UK and US sites, but I must say this book didn't do it for me.

While the "What's going on?" factor was OK and sort of kept the intrigue level up, the book was much too long at roughly 580 pages and contained too many unbelievable elements. Yes, I can accept some considerable licence in fiction, but this novel was just packed with too much nonsense.

So many people had so many lives, there was reversed double-crossing and other elements which made the whole package all so hard to believe.

There was pace, making the book a page-turner, but, for me, the action and nonsense did not make up for a lack of substance.

This is probably for fans of Drake, our protagonist, and those who have read the prequels. But even though some important matters were left open, I won't going back for the sequel.

Gently by the Shore (Inspector George Gently Series Book 2)
Gently by the Shore (Inspector George Gently Series Book 2)
Price: £4.27

3.0 out of 5 stars Too slow and dry, 28 Mar. 2015
To borrow from one of the other reviews here, time has not been kind to this novel. I found it to be quite drab and slow. There is not a bad mystery within - sort of - but the absence of any colour killed the ride for me. We have Gently following his clues and a little bit of police politics, but little by way of characterisations and nothing other than details of a single case occupying the pages.

I have read several other Gently novels so either the formula has worn thin for me or this one was well below par. I am disinclined to seek out any more though.

The Forgotten Holocaust (Ben Hope, Book 10)
The Forgotten Holocaust (Ben Hope, Book 10)
by Scott Mariani
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but avoided being great, 26 Mar. 2015
I felt this book was really going somewhere as I became absorbed very early. We had intriguing action in two different parts of the world and a really interesting historic thread entering the picture too. And with the Jack Reacher type lead, I thought this was going to be a sensational read.

Then the weighting changed, with the story being dominated by a lot of heroics and A-Team stuff. This was a pity because the historical back-story gave the novel quite a deal of substance. (I must say, though, that it surprised me that important historic volumes left with an academic remained untouched for so long).

This was a fast-paced and interesting read which would have been a real mind-blower had the multiple shoot-out activities not over-shadowed some of the other story elements.

Dark Winter
Dark Winter
by David Mark
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.48

3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty plain, 25 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Dark Winter (Paperback)
There wasn't much to this one, IMHO.

The plot starts off pretty well and a good pace is maintained, but the story is shallow, the sleuthing is not great and the ending is quite so-so, or even disappointing. The characterisations don't fly either really and our protagonist, a real plodder, is hard to warm to.

Overall, not enough here for me to turn to any sequel.

Smoke and Mirrors (The Acer Sansom Novels Book 3)
Smoke and Mirrors (The Acer Sansom Novels Book 3)
Price: £1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not as strong as the prequels, but I'm going for the sequel, 25 Mar. 2015
I enjoyed this book, but it is a bit drawn-out and not as strong as the prequel. It falls more into the chase/escape tale category and carries a few far-fetched elements. I also missed the wit and social observations Tidy injects into many of his novels.

I don't think you could read this book as a stand-alone as there is too much from the two prior novels which readers will have missed.

My very considerable respect for the author remains though - he knows how to pace a novel and has a good imagination without letting it run overboard. Interestingly, he achieves this without gore, profanity or sex - not that I'm averse to reading novels with these ingredients in moderation.

There will be a sequel to this book as one major matter remains unresolved. There was certainly enough in this one, which sits at three and a half stars, to have me read it. 7/10
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2015 10:32 AM GMT

Red Notice: How I Became Putin's No. 1 Enemy
Red Notice: How I Became Putin's No. 1 Enemy
by Bill Browder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read, 25 Mar. 2015
This is a great piece of work and engages the reader very early on with its free-flowing style. Browder's ordeals and successes over many years are well explained and draw attention to the way things can work in Russia under the current regime. It is quite a frightening tale which is delivered with authority and credibility. Pleasingly, Browder writes with modesty and without trying to make himself out to be a star or hero. And he writes with a measured tone despite everything which was happening to him and those around him.

Respect to Browder for all he achieved in business, from virtually nothing, for fighting so hard to defend the reputation of his lawyer, and for the actions he took to make sure the lawyer's death was not in vain.

Sheikhs, Lies and Real Estate: The Untold Story of Dubai
Sheikhs, Lies and Real Estate: The Untold Story of Dubai
by JR Roth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 22 Mar. 2015
This was a good and well-written novel which was instructive at the same time. It casts a young British banker, out to make his fortune, during the boom and bust of Dubai in the last decade.

I couldn't quite warm to our lead, Adam, who I found to be both naive and greedy. There was some irony too in him mocking the lifestyles of expats given that he was trying to emulate them.

The case studies used - for want of a better expression - were quite simple, but Roth did well to plant readers into Dubai pre and post-crash. There were a lot of names to deal with and not much in the way of characterisations. For my tastes, it probably lacked a little spark or depth despite providing a very good read of what was happening at the time.

That said, this was an interesting and readable tale with page-turning qualities.

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