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Marmaduke Gentle (Dorset, England)

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Dead Man's Footsteps
Dead Man's Footsteps
by Peter James
Edition: Hardcover

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grace, but not as we know him, 14 July 2008
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This review is from: Dead Man's Footsteps (Hardcover)
I wanted to like this book, having enjoyed the previous investigations by Grace, but this is a weak addition to the series. Although the story is cleverly worked around the events of 9/11 the format of flitting from present to past in short chapters does not allow the reader to engage enough with any of the characters and generally fails to keep the pace moving, as would normally be expected from such punchy presentation. I think that the characters James has created and the world of policing in Brighton are evocatively described but this time 'Ronnie' is nothing more than a 'baddie with a brain' - not someone to get too worried about or in awe of when considering the criminals of current crime fiction.

The last line of the book seems lazy to me for a writer of James' quality but perhaps this is just a setup to be made more of in a later story.

Don't get me wrong, I will buy the next book in the series as soon as it is released but on this occasion I feel the author has missed the mark.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2011 10:40 PM BST


The Ruins
The Ruins
by Scott Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, terrible book, 11 Sept. 2007
This review is from: The Ruins (Paperback)
The advice is simple, do not bother to pick this book up and consider it, even if you have loved and enjoyed A Simple Plan, Smith's previous novel. That was a well told, well paced story but this is pedestrian at best and you feel absolutely no connection with any of the characters. They are generally a hateful selection of people you are quite happy to abandon to 'The Ruins!' Plausibility, like time in this novel, is stretched to new levels.

It cannot be a coincidence that the publishers chose not to mention the blood-drinking, voice-mimicking, super-intelligent jungle vine on the rear of the book. A wise marketing decision.


Field Guide to African Wildlife (National Audubon Society)
Field Guide to African Wildlife (National Audubon Society)
by Peter Alden
Edition: Flexibound
Price: £19.31

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent safari companion, 4 Oct. 2006
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This book is perfect for the safari for two reasons. Not only is it fairly compact so does not take up much space in your luggage, it is also incredibly comprehensive across a broad spectrum of African wildlife. There is a bountiful section of colour photographs of both birds and animals followed by a reference section with the most detailed background for any creature you are likely to see. The book is also boosted by an early section on the geography and geology of Africa including yet more colour photographs. A highly recommended addition when taking a safari in Africa.


Back to Bologna (An Aurelio Zen Mystery)
Back to Bologna (An Aurelio Zen Mystery)
by Michael Dibdin
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Distinct lack of Zen, 26 Sept. 2006
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A short review for a short book. This is the most disappointing and lacklustre Zen novel so far, although referring to it as a Zen novel is tenuous at best because the character cannot feature for more than fifteen percent of the story. Interesting characterisation aside this is a poor addition to the genre.


The Cloud Garden: A True Story of Adventure, Survival, and Extreme Horticulture
The Cloud Garden: A True Story of Adventure, Survival, and Extreme Horticulture
by Tom Hart Dyke
Edition: Hardcover

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orchids are an unhealthy obsession, 16 Jun. 2003
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To describe the kidnapping and subsequent holding of two Englishmen by possible FARC guerillas in The Darien Gap for nine months, it would seem unnatural to use phrases such as funny, entertaining, and horticulturally insane; but they are more than appropriate.
Upon starting the book there is a question over how well it will read with the narration switching between Paul and Tom, however, it does read with fluidity, and the comments each of them has to make about the other are often amusing. Despite the ignorance and sometimes aggressive nature of their kidnappers you can't help but feel some sympathy for them stumbling around the jungle with no specific purpose except to eat, drink, destroy or abuse. The guerillas offer some superb individual characters ranging from the truly horrible "Bitch", to the alarmingly considerate "Will Smith."
No interest in orchids or horticulture are required to enjoy and be fascinated by this tale of bravery and courage under quite absurd circumstances.


Bad Men
Bad Men
by John Connolly
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All been done before, 16 Jun. 2003
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This review is from: Bad Men (Hardcover)
The previous John Connolly novels have been convoluted, bloody, and yet entertaining, but the departure here from the familiarity of Charlie Parker does not work. All that Connolly is trying to achieve has been done before by other authors who are better at the mystery/ghost/horror genre than he is. The premise is creditable however you cannot help but feel as though there was a more complete story to tell and that what we are given is a rushed attempt at something different to appease the publishers. The ghostly island and the freakish characters fighting for both good and evil are unoriginal and given little scope for growth.
Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed Connolly's previous work but this fails to emulate the trials and tribulations of Charlie Parker.


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