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johnverp "@johnverp1" (Budapest)

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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 not 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: £12.91

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.


Tell Tale: A DI Charlotte Savage Novel
Tell Tale: A DI Charlotte Savage Novel
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yep, brilliant, 22 Mar. 2015
I really should start writing down how I discover my new reads because I've forgotten here once again. It was probably from a Twitter feed, but I can't be sure now and would like to have gone back for some more suggestions by the same source.

I felt this book had a slow and confusing start and I was on the cusp of throwing it in but am now so glad I didn't. This was a brilliant read - a well-written novel with a cleverly structured plot to keep the reader invested. I also liked the fact that it wasn't a one-dimensional crime story with only a single story thread to get the head around. Put differently, it was a great police procedural with all the right ingredients - heaps of intrigue and characters for readers to enjoy.

I am disappointed I was unaware of the author, but will certainly be going back for more now.


Loose Ends (The Acer Sansom Novels Book 2)
Loose Ends (The Acer Sansom Novels Book 2)
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars More good reading, 20 Mar. 2015
I have written the same review for Books 1 and 2 in this series, and not for convenience only. In my view, you can't read book one without committing to book two, and you can't read book two without having read book one (this holds less true for book 3, I think, as Acer, our lead, starts afresh here, from what I understand).

Again we have a simple yet engaging tale which keeps the reader interested. Tidy throws in the story hooks very early in book one and introduces us to a protagonist who it is difficult not to align with. Over the two novels, there is an excellent story core, good mystery and good twists and turns.

I worried about the early body count and what I thought would be a race to vigilantism, but my fears were unfounded. I probably would have liked to have seen a little more depth and less licence taken in places, but the overall package really was that good that these preferences really just may be me nit-picking. Book one does leave too much unfinished business though and compels the reader to go on to the next. The closure for book two though is both good and sound and some may even choose to stop at this point as things are reasonably, but not fully, rounded out. I did wonder whether both books should have been condensed into the one novel, with some savage editing, but I suspect we may have created a Nelson DeMille type monster that way.

No typos to speak of in the Kindle version, which was good to see.

It goes without saying that I am heading for book three in the series and more by Oliver Tidy. Great stuff.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 25, 2015 1:39 PM GMT


Dirty Business (The Acer Sansom Novels Book 1)
Dirty Business (The Acer Sansom Novels Book 1)
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Another great series, 20 Mar. 2015
I have written the same review for Books 1 and 2 in this series, and not for convenience only. In my view, you can't read book one without committing to book two, and you can't read book two without having read book one (this holds less true for book 3, I think, as Acer, our lead, starts afresh here, from what I understand).

Again we have a simple yet engaging tale which keeps the reader interested. Tidy throws in the story hooks very early in book one and introduces us to a protagonist who it is difficult not to align with. Over the two novels, there is an excellent story core, good mystery and good twists and turns.

I worried about the early body count and what I thought would be a race to vigilantism, but my fears were unfounded. I probably would have liked to have seen a little more depth and less licence taken in places, but the overall package really was that good that these preferences really just may be me nit-picking. Book one does leave too much unfinished business though and compels the reader to go on to the next. The closure for book two though is both good and sound and some may even choose to stop at this point as things are reasonably, but not fully, rounded out. I did wonder whether both books should have been condensed into the one novel, with some savage editing, but I suspect we may have created a Nelson DeMille type monster that way.

No typos to speak of in the Kindle version, which was good to see.

It goes without saying that I am heading for book three in the series and more by Oliver Tidy. Great stuff.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 25, 2015 1:38 PM GMT


A Dog's Life (The Romney and Marsh Files Book 4)
A Dog's Life (The Romney and Marsh Files Book 4)
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Another really good one, 9 Mar. 2015
This is my fourth Tidy novel and my respect for the author has grown with each outing.

This is not complex or heavy reading, but it is engaging. If you've read the prequels, you'll also enjoy the colour that Tidy adds to each of his now known characters and some of the social observations he throws in. But the bigger strength here, I think, was in plot construction. I was sucked in early, stayed very interested throughout and was impressed with the turns each of the two main story threads took. All of it plausible and without the nonsense which populates many novels in the genre these days.

Still a couple of minor typos in the Kindle version, but the editing is significantly better than it was in the first novel I read.

Impressive stuff and I'm definitely going back for more. 9/10
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2015 6:20 PM GMT


Spider Trap
Spider Trap
by Barry Maitland
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.07

4.0 out of 5 stars A good police procedural, 9 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Spider Trap (Paperback)
I rather enjoyed this police procedural. It is pretty well-written and carries a good amount of intrigue to keep the reader invested. There is also little nonsense to deal with.

On the flip slide, the story is quite slow to develop and despite the pairing of a male and a female detectives as leads, I didn't feel much was done with the characterisations. Quite a large coincidence holds things together as an incident investigated by the lead detective a generation ago is connected with a current murder investigation.

No typos to speak of in the Kindle version, which was a relief.

In summary, this is a pretty good police procedural, but one which doesn't make it into the brilliant mystery category. 7/10


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