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Reviews Written by
johnverp "@johnverp1" (Budapest)

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The Summons: 3 (Peter Diamond Mystery)
The Summons: 3 (Peter Diamond Mystery)
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A great story by a great author, 19 Jun. 2015
I think this is now my third Lovesey novel and I continue to be impressed. I also continue to be disappointed that I didn't find him earlier.

He constructs good stories with interesting characters. Here, again, we have plenty of mystery and twists and turns to keep the reader engaged from the outset. There is no gore, no profanity and no Superman nonsense, and we have a story which, for the most part, is quite believable (actually, as this is quite an old novel, we didn't really have mobile phones or technology here either, making it quite a change for me, given my recent reads).

I can't really add more than to confirm this as a very enjoyable read which will have me searching for more by the same author. 9/10


Forty Acres
Forty Acres
by Dwayne Alexander Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

3.0 out of 5 stars A good, steady effort, 15 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Forty Acres (Paperback)
This was an OK read, but the plot is very far-fetched so readers will need to be prepared to suspend disbelief to enjoy it. A modern day slave camp and race issues are central to the story. Despite the book not being directly political, the race elements may make some readers uncomfortable, so it won't be for everybody.

The book had been on my Kindle for a while and I couldn't remember why I bought it, or what the story line was. That made for a very good start as Smith did well to develop the intrigue. But the middle of the book really meandered before the pace resumed towards the end. I also felt that were too many "Oh, really?" moments throughout. That said, readers remain very much invested in making sure our protagonist succeeds in doing what he perceives to be the right thing.

In the end, this was a page-turner built around a very ambitious theme, but, in my view, the result was an average rather than brilliant piece of work. 7/10


The Art of Staying Dead
The Art of Staying Dead
by Joel Hames
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, 6 Jun. 2015
I liked the infectious writing style here - I warmed early to both the plot, with its intrigue, and our protagonist, Sam.

His story is delivered in the first person and he shows himself to be likeable and even self-deprecating at times. Importantly, he is a down-to-earth professional who does not act as an action hero, nor aspire to be one. There's wit in the novel too, but we don't overdose on it.

Hames constructed the story well and included some twists along the way. I did feel that the intrigue and wit faded in the second half of the book though, making it less strong than the first half. I also came to worry about some of the detail and the reliance on coincidences.

That said, I enjoyed this novel more than the author's first, partly because our protagonist was easy to align with and partly because the mystery element was much stronger. 7/10


Canyon Sacrifice (National Park Mystery Series)
Canyon Sacrifice (National Park Mystery Series)
Price: £4.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Just so-so, 28 May 2015
This is a kidnapping story set in the Grand Canyon region where an archaeologists's step-daughter disappears.

Although the tourism and historical aspects of the Grand Canyon setting were interesting, some of the descriptive material made the story drag.

I didn't really fully warm to Chuck, our protagonist, either, with his strange relationships, thoughts and - especially - decisions.

The major thing for me, though, was the absence of substance or any "wow" factor in the mystery, although there were red herrings. I didn't quite get the reason for the kidnapping and thought the play-out was quite lazy (deliberately vague to avoid offering a spoiler). I also wondered whether you really would observe a kidnapper's instruction not to involve the police and yet go full-on in social media to enlist support.

This was a story in a different setting with a good deal of potential but, for me, the mystery element was not strong and our lead was not somebody I could align with easily. Reviews on Amazon.com are more favourable than mine, so readers may care to wander over there for a bit of balance. 5/10


Hollow Mountain: A Spike Sanguinetti Mystery (Spike Sanguinetti 3)
Hollow Mountain: A Spike Sanguinetti Mystery (Spike Sanguinetti 3)
by Thomas Mogford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars I think you need to have read the prequels, 24 May 2015
I think I felt disadvantaged not having read the two previous novels and didn't understand the roles and relationships in ways I perhaps should have to get the best out of this book.

There is a bit of a treasure-find story here, as well as a separate lost-love story (a legacy thread). But there is nothing really deep here as a crime mystery. I guess I expected more courtroom time, or sleuthing, because Spike, our protagonist, is a lawyer, and his friend, Jessica, is a policewoman. I didn't fully warm to him either because of a couple of strange things he did.

I found the Gibraltar angles to be both fascinating and instructive and these certainly gave the book a unique dimension.

In short, though, while the setting was interesting, I found it hard to catch up and wasn't blown away by the mystery elements. 7/10


Touching Distance (Jimmy Suttle Book 2)
Touching Distance (Jimmy Suttle Book 2)
Price: £3.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read, 19 May 2015
This was an OK rather than sensational read.

The core plot was a little mundane and didn't contain too much intrigue. That said, the police team worked the available clues well. The ending, I felt, was a bit lame as well and the wrap-up was aided by a rather large coincidence.

Our "protagonist", Suttle, didn't really carry the role I expected he would, being one of many rather than the stand-out. But there were strange characters and relationships too and, I must say, I had little time for Suttle's estranged wife.

The novel provides a number of messages about participation in the Afghanistan war, but is not overtly political or offensive in the way these are delivered.

I liked the novel as an easy read and would read more by the same author, but I didn't really find much which was special about this effort. 7/10


The Exit
The Exit
by Helen FitzGerald
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow and dull, 12 May 2015
This review is from: The Exit (Paperback)
There are suspicions that mysterious deaths are occurring at a Care Home, but the accuser is an elderly patient suffering from dementia. Our other protagonist is a twenty-three old who finds temporary employment at the home.

I almost threw the book in several times but kept going in the hope that some mystery or intrigue would develop. Sadly, I stayed disappointed. I also found it difficult to align with anybody and the characterisations otherwise were weak.

I worried that the first and third person deliveries, coupled with past and present narrations, would make the read challenging, but I must say these aspects were well-handled and didn't cause confusion. The story does get gruesome, without being graphic, if that makes sense, so the book won't be for everyone.

I just didn't find any substance to the novel and really couldn't have cared how things played out. I just wanted the book to end. Sadly, therefore, I need to be the exception here and report that this novel did very little for me. 5/10


Air Apparent
Air Apparent
Price: £2.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Colourless and Slow, 4 May 2015
This review is from: Air Apparent (Kindle Edition)
Gee, this was a slow and uneventful read. I really couldn't get into it, but finished the book in the hope that the story would take us somewhere. Sadly, it all stayed pretty mundane.

At times I thought the author was trying to be light or funny with the tale but, if that were case, the humour failed to keep up.

There were a few typos and instances of mis-placed punctuation in the Kindle version, but nothing terminal.

I think I'll skip more by the same author given the absence of any real mystery, intrigue or pace here.


The Lie
The Lie
by C.L. Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, different and suspenseful, 28 April 2015
This review is from: The Lie (Paperback)
This is a very different novel which captures a present day life story and relates it to events during a venture in Nepal five years earlier. The tale is delivered in the first person.

I was worried that the timeline changes would become intimidating or confusing, but the author dealt with the two threads seamlessly and thus built the intrigue level skilfully.

You do need to get used to some strange scenarios (unless a hippie lifestyle is your thing), and relationships, and also accept some weird behaviour by our protagonists. That said, the story is well-constructed and delivers a good deal of suspense.

There were a couple of typos and some problems with tenses too, I think, but neither issue will spoil a reader's enjoyment of the novel.

In summary, this was not an outstanding read, but there was enough there for me to read more by the author. I am vacillating between 3 and 4 stars so have called it 7/10.


All the Lonely People (Harry Devlin Book 1)
All the Lonely People (Harry Devlin Book 1)
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good mystery, 25 April 2015
This is a well-written novel with some good twists and turns as Harry, our protagonist, seeks to work out who killed his estranged wife. It is a somewhat dated novel (early nineties perhaps?), but this does not come at any cost to the reader as the mystery element is strong.

At the same time, Harry is both a person to align with, given his predicament, yet also quite a source of frustration given many of his actions.

A few typos in the Kindle version, but nothing terminal.

Overall, there was enough in this book for me to look for more by the same author.


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