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Peliroja (England)

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No Name Lane
No Name Lane
by Howard Linskey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Too slow, 22 Jun. 2017
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This review is from: No Name Lane (Paperback)
I've actually abandoned this halfway through. It's like reading Midsomer Murders. A small village setting with disappearing girls and old skeletons turning up. A large cast of characters I struggled to get to grips with - I knew who was who, but each section with the various protagonists wasn't very long and it all felt disjointed. Coupled with the need to suspend disbelief too far for a police procedural. I know fictional detectives have to go off piste somewhat or there would be no story, but these went further than was credible even with a giant bucket of salt. For example, two DCs turning up to a missing girl's house to speak to the stepfather, then taking him to a police interview room without a lawyer and without anyone else knowing about it........and all while they were supposed to be on another case. Just no.


Orphan X (An Orphan X Thriller)
Orphan X (An Orphan X Thriller)
by Gregg Hurwitz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fast action read, 19 Jun. 2017
Well, this is like reading a film with an actor called Tom in it, if you see what I mean. And, for those who like this style of book, it really is brilliantly done. Personally I found it relentless rather than unputdownable. And you really, really do have to suspend belief.

But the characters were well drawn and I liked the whole idea of Evan Smoak, aka Orphan X, living out in the open with no one knowing who he really is. This leads to some tentative relationships with various people in his building, which I really liked as otherwise the action and sense of urgency would have had no let-up whatsoever. I liked the whole 'human' side to Evan and how his feelings for his 'handler' who adopted him when he was a boy had become deeper than they really should have - from both sides.

I did find the action scenes too long and drawn out - the final showdown was 14 pages for heaven's sake - and with book 2 already on the shelves I kind of knew who won!

I presume this will become a film - even with Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne there is still room enough for Evan Smoak I think. James McEvoy perhaps?


Love You to Death: An Absolutely Gripping Thriller With a Killer Twist: Volume 1 (Detective Ruby Preston Crime Thriller Series)
Love You to Death: An Absolutely Gripping Thriller With a Killer Twist: Volume 1 (Detective Ruby Preston Crime Thriller Series)
by Caroline Mitchell
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, 12 Jun. 2017
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Absolute load of rubbish. Childish prose - the speech in particular was unbearably awful. Imagine you're tied up facing a psychopath. When they take off your gag is this really what you'd say?

"Get me out of here! Do you hear me? Untie me right now - get me out!"

I read lots of crime novels. Trust me. There are thousands better than this. I abandoned it. Don't waste your money.


Love Like Blood (Tom Thorne Novels)
Love Like Blood (Tom Thorne Novels)
by Mark Billingham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My favourite author, but not my favourite book, 11 Jun. 2017
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Mark Billingham is my favourite writer and I have left it a week to review this one as it really wasn't my favourite and I feel bad about that. I just do not like Mark's creation of Nicola Tanner. I didn't like her in the last book and she has done nothing to change my opinion in this one. She's dull. Also, the story did not particularly grab me either - usually with Mark's books I find myself reading them when I should be doing other things as I find them unputdownable. This one I have forgotten already. It wasn't really a whodunnit - more of a try and stop them before they kill more people. It started slowly for me (very unusual in a Billingham) but did pick up about half way through.

There was some great banter between Thorne and Hendricks sprinkled throughout, which saved it for me. I really wish Mark would go back and write one with Thorne and the team back at Becke house. Is Dave Holland still actually breathing? In recent years there have been a couple of standalones (which I liked) one in Wales (which I loved) and one south of the river (which I also loved and had the wonderful Christine Treasure riding shotgun to Thorne.)

I always shell out for the hardbacks for Mark Billingham. This one wasn't worth it. Sorry.


Small Great Things: 'To Kill a Mockingbird for the 21st Century'
Small Great Things: 'To Kill a Mockingbird for the 21st Century'
Price: £4.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unrealistic, 11 Jun. 2017
Well, far be it from me to be the killjoy at the party, but I gave up after 130 pages. It's hard to explain - I know there are, sadly, some vile racists like Turk still around in this world and he was probably quite well depicted. My problem was with the other people - the so-called friends and colleagues - around Ruth, the black midwife who was accused of murdering Turk's baby. Now I'm not black and I'm not American, so I'm not sure if I have a right to say this but I really didn't think she was well portrayed. The book read like it was set in the 1950s. Not for one minute would I consider speaking to any black (or indeed any minority) colleagues in the way Ruth was spoken to by hers. She kept having to grit her teeth and ignore their comments. I just don't believe this happens today - it certainly doesn't in my world. It all became repetitive.

But what got me to give up finally (and this could be constituted as a very minor spoiler alert) was the way in which she was arrested. Surely today, even in America, it is not necessary to use a battering ram at 5AM to arrest a quiet middle aged single parent while she is asleep in her bed. Ridiculous. I honestly don't know how this has so many glowing reviews. Emperor's New Clothes perhaps?


The Killing Hour (FBI Profiler 4)
The Killing Hour (FBI Profiler 4)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced vintage Gardner, 28 May 2017
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Good, solid Gardner here. A fast paced plot with a race against time to solve clues left by a kidnapper/killer to save a girl left in a remote, deadly wilderness. The killer baits the FBI by leaving a body, with cryptic clues on her to the second kidnapped girl, in the grounds of Quantico where Pierre Quincy's daughter, Kimberly, is a New Agent, in the middle of her training. Kimberly finds the body so feels honour bound to take leave of absence and find the second girl before time runs out. Add in a hunky southerner in the shape of Special Agent Mac McCormack, boiling hot, energy-sapping weather, bugs, snakes and a few interesting lessons on flora and fauna it kept me hooked, despite being a touch formulaic at times (in a good way.)


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: The hottest new release of 2017 - a Radio 2 Book Club Choice
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: The hottest new release of 2017 - a Radio 2 Book Club Choice
Price: £7.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing. Would give 10 stars if I could., 20 May 2017
I honestly don't know if I can find the words to describe this wonderful book! I normally read crime, with the occasional historical saga thrown in. This is most definitely neither of these. I was browsing on a website and came across an extract of this book, got to the end of chapter 2 and was so desperate to continue that I went straight out to my local bookshop and bought (or 'purchased' as Eleanor would undoubtedly say!) a copy, paying the full hardback price.

So, what to say that won't spoil it? Thirty year old Eleanor Oliphant is lonely. She's become accustomed to her loneliness and surrounds herself with it like a blanket. She appears odd to all around her - she holds down a job in accounts but doesn't have anything to do with her colleagues. She copes. She speaks when she has to, in shops, getting on buses etc. She speaks carefully and precisely. She comes across as pedantic and unsympathetic. There is a reason for her strangeness. We're not sure what it is, but we know something has happened in her past and that she has the most tyrannical, hateful mother ever imaginable.

One day a chance incident leads an elderly man to have cause to thank her and hold her hand between his. This act of physical human touch starts Eleanor on a path to the realisation that perhaps, just maybe, she does occasionally like people and feel a need for them. Her journey, along with her facing up to her past is hugely poignant and moving and heartfelt and sad and funny and a little strange. I have already cast the film in my mind with Jessica Hynes as Eleanor, Rory Kinnear as Raymond and Katherine Kingsley as Laura. The only person I can think of to play her hideous mother would be Sheila Hancock 30 years ago! This book is screaming out to be made into a film. It's amazing. And it's a debut!

Just read it!

Beyond doubt one of the best books I have ever read.


Year of the King
Year of the King
by Antony Sher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic diary of a RSC actor, 17 May 2017
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This review is from: Year of the King (Paperback)
Have just re-read this after many years and it stands the test of time just fine. Anyone interested in acting should read this. It is Antony Sher's diary entries, depicting his sheer terror and unimaginable excitement from when the seed of the idea of playing Richard 3rd was first mooted to just past opening night. How Richard totally took over his life. His angst at getting everything just right. His terror at being compared to Olivier. A fear, previously unknown to him, of not being able to learn all the lines. His physical struggle playing a cripple after coming back from a bad accident himself.

There are anecdotes of other Shakespearean actors and also those behind the scenes we never get to see - in particular the brusque army Geordie who dressed him at the RSC. There's a hilarious story of a young factory worker who naively chose a Richard 3rd soliloquy to audition in front of Olivier himself. (That factory worker is now himself a Sir and has had part of the the Top Gear racing track named after him!)

But throughout it all is an actor who is totally passionate about his craft, who shows respect to all those around him (though he's not averse to the odd queenly tantrum!) and who writes (and sketches) almost as well as he acts. I wish I had seen that performance. And I wish I could find one of those reviews that Michael Caine suggested that Sher himself had written!


Before the Fall
Before the Fall
by Noah Hawley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 6 May 2017
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This review is from: Before the Fall (Paperback)
This started off so well with pace, suspense and intrigue. Down-on-his-luck loner/artist, Scott, nabs a spare seat on a private jet via an acquaintance, Maggie, the wife of a rich director of a TV news station. The plane goes down and Scott survives and saves Maggie's son with a heroic swim to shore. Everyone else aboard is presumed perished.

Due to some Very Important People aboard the plane the FBI becomes involved and the reasons for the crash are what the story is about. All very intriguing.....except....Noah Hawley chooses to intersperse the action with whole chapters dedicated to the back stories of everyone on the plane. This slows down the action somewhat. Also, a couple of these people are in finance - this was so tedious. 99% of the population earns money, spends money and prays they've got enough to last until the end of each month. Reading about financial money shifting is both boring and beyond most normal people's comprehension. This was a shame as it slowed down the pace and intrigue.

As each back story unfolds we are given clues and red herrings as to who has caused the plane to crash, and why. I thought there may have been a big twist awaiting. To say I was disappointed at the denouement would be an understatement. To say any more would be a spoiler, so I won't. But the ending was a bit frustrating.

All that said, this was a good read with decent characters and enough pace (just) to keep me interested. I would also read more by this author.


He Said/She Said: the gripping Sunday Times bestseller with a shocking twist
He Said/She Said: the gripping Sunday Times bestseller with a shocking twist
by Erin Kelly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £4.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 29 April 2017
It feels like ages since Erin Kelly wrote a book! She's been busy with Broadchurch and her last one, The Ties the Bind, wasn't my favourite. Well, I'm pleased to announce that she's back on top form here with He Said She Said.

I won't go on about the premise - a boy (Jamie) and a girl (Beth.) She says it's rape, he says it isn't; and a witness (Laura) who thinks what she sees is rape....this takes almost second place to the whole underlying menace that 15 years later Laura and her husband Kit (also a witness, but turning up at the 'rape' scene too late to have seen much) live in such terror of Beth finding them that they have gone to extraordinary lengths to change their names and keep out of social media. We don't know why this is the case - they help Beth after the 'rape' and agree to be witnesses at Jamie's trial. So why are they so scared of her? Whatever their terror is we can only guess at. Miss Kelly ramps up the tension, slowly at first, then in the final 100 or so pages hits us with a tsunami of events, twists and secrets all colliding in a grand showdown.

There are 2 time frames, one in 1999, set around the time of the so-called rape and the eclipse in Britain and one set in 2015 during another eclipse, this time best viewed from the Faroe islands. Each time frame is part narrated by Kit and part by Laura. Kit is an 'eclipse chaser,' and his purpose in life is travelling the world to get The Best Experience, along with others who are equally obsessed. Beth knows this and they know it is a risky business as she would know roughly where to find him during each eclipse. The 1999 sections show Beth gradually immersing herself into their lives and we wonder if we are going to have a Single White Female situation. The 2015 time frame begins with Kit about to set off to the Faroe Islands alone, leaving Laura behind heavily pregnant and in terror of Beth finding him. We are drip-fed facts about how their relationship with Beth evolves around the time of the 1999 rape trial as the 2 time frames start to collide and yes, there are a couple of fairly big twists, one of which I guessed and the other I most certainly did not!

I have to admire the amount of research that must have gone into this book. I learnt a fair bit about eclipses, but the dates (and actual weather on the day) were all obviously true and had to be worked into the plot.

The chapters were short and the characters were the right side of ok.......just. I didn't like Beth (I think we weren't supposed to) but Laura and Kit just managed to stay the right side of likeable, along with Kit's twin brother, Mac and Laura's best friend, Ling. The whole thing was fast moving and gripping and I loved it!


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