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Max (Italy)

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White Death
White Death
by Tobias Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just very very bad, 16 July 2011
This review is from: White Death (Paperback)
This book is just very very bad. I think that I Keep buying Mr. Jone's books to satisfy my perverse curiosity as to how bad a book about Italy/set in Italy can be when the author knows so little about the Country.....and I have not been disappointed in my twisted pleasure. The book just reads awfully and is full of inaccuracies. I am looking forward to Mr. Jones' next book to see whether there is a limit to an author's self destructive presumption to write about something (in this case Italy) he does not know at all.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2014 7:41 PM BST


Relentless
Relentless
by Simon Kernick
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written page turner, 31 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Relentless (Mass Market Paperback)
I enjoyed this book. The story is original and told at a breakneck pace, and the author can actually write, which is not so obvious in thriller novelists. As in all Simon Kernick's books the baddies are VERY bad. In this case Lench is a cold-blood killer who trained in the Balkans' battlefields during the war following the melt-down of former Yugoslavia. He is strong, organized and reliable, all qualities which make him an asset to his employer, the English super rich Paul Wise. But money is only one of the reasons why Lench has chosen this profession, the other reason being passion. In fact he truly enjoys inflicting pain on other people and torture is his specialty. On this occasion Lench's target is Tom Meron, a software salesman who will find himself caught in the middle of a very dangerous situation. Although Tom is not used to confronting cold-blood killers, he soon finds the strength to react as required under the circumstances and, eventually, comes out as a pretty cool character. However what is quite annoying about Tom is that every other page he deems it necessary to remind himself (and the reader) of how strange this situation is for a straightforward next-door type of guy like him. Tom will be helped out by Michael Bolt, a policeman in the organized-crime squad with a dark past who is prepared to skip procedures when it comes to protect the public. The author's style is neat and fast an, overall, I truly enjoyed this book.


Flesh House (Logan McRae, Book 4)
Flesh House (Logan McRae, Book 4)
by Stuart MacBride
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast, violent and funny, 1 Mar. 2011
The first part of the book is truly unputdownable. Then, after Inspector Insh's family is dragged into a spiral of violence and Wiseman, the man suspected to have been butchering dozens of women and men throughout Great Britain in the past 20 years, is detained, the pace slows down considerably. In fact, the reader is taken through countless police procedural episodes, false leads and politics- fighting within the police department. All this contributes to making the book very realistic, but also, at some point, one has the impression it is just dragging on for too long. However the attention is kept alive by the dialogues, which are quick and realistic, and the general underlying sense of humour which is especially personified by the character of Inspector Steel. The last few pages will surprise you and make you realize that nobody is really safe until the game is over. Sergeant Logan McRae is a likable guy, but maybe his character is a bit too weak and submissive in this book.


The Real Deal: My Story from Brick Lane to Dragons' Den
The Real Deal: My Story from Brick Lane to Dragons' Den
by James Caan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts off nicely, but very annoying end, 2 Feb. 2011
The story of James Caan and his very successful business ventures is very interesting in the beginning. This east end boy becoming a rich entrepreneur when he is not even 30 sounds like the perfect British self made man story. Caan is humble enough as to recognize that much of his fortune is just a result of certain circumstances, i.e. being at the right place at the right time. But, obviously, as you go on reading the book it appears evident that luck is not enough to make a successful businessman, but must be accompanied by very hard work. The way Caan describes his early ventures with his wife Aisha in the fashion industry is quite interesting. But more inspiring yet is learning how Caan conceived, gave birth and turned to growth Alexander Mann. For example his idea of a Rec 2 Rec niche is just so inspiring as well as his idea to set up a recruitment franchise. I thought it was also quite interesting to know how he got out of his business, firstly by giving up control of its day to day management and then by selling it altogether to a fund. However towards 3 quarters of the book, after he sells Alexander Mann, his life doesn't read so exciting anymore. He is obviously looking for something else to do - a rich 40 year old man with truckloads of money sitting in his bank account. So he first decides to go back to school...but, well, the chapter about his masters at Harvard Business School is so boring that I started skipping pages...but the book doesn't get any better even if you skip a few pages at that point. Caan starts making donations to charities in favour of poor people in Kosovo, Kashmir, Pakistan...which makes you wonder why all of the beneficiaries of his charitable donations are Muslim...is it a coincidence? I don't think charitable donations should be made on a religious basis (although I am a Christian, I donate to all sorts of charities regardless of the religion of the beneficiaries)...this sounds just sectarian. Summing up, interesting book in the beginning, but the last 100 pages are boring and, sometimes, annoying.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2015 1:38 PM BST


A Good Man in Africa
A Good Man in Africa
by William Boyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 7 Jan. 2011
This review is from: A Good Man in Africa (Paperback)
I loved this book. I loved the main character, Morgan Leafy, with all his imperfections, uselessness, black moods...but I think, after all, deep down Morgan is a good man. And as you go by reading the book you realize where all his bitterness comes from: coming from a working class family doesn't certainly help in the snobbish environment of the British diplomatic world of the seventies of last century. The description of the Britons living in Africa are is also very funny and, I suspect, worryingly accurate since the author was born in Africa from British parents and must know that sort of environment pretty well. The ending is highly dramatic and just adds to the merits of this book. I loved this novel and will never tire of recommending it.


Caught
Caught
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, 19 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Caught (Paperback)
What can I say? Shallow characters (including the protagonist - you never care about her and at some point you almost wish she is taken down by whoever the killer is), sloppy writing (conversations are supposed to be realistic - but do Americans really speak like this??) highly unrealistic ending. Just awful.


An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain: or Sixty Years of Making the Same Stupid Mistakes as Always
An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain: or Sixty Years of Making the Same Stupid Mistakes as Always
by John O'Farrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, 18 Dec. 2010
I have mixed feelings about this book. The bad thing is that I did not find it funny, at all. I mean, honestly, I found the sense humour was pretty cr.p...However, the book is quite nicely written and certainly informative. The author quite evidently leans to the left, but once you know it (and the author is quite transparent in this respect) this doesn't prevent you from enjoying the book, whatever your political views are. Overall I feel I know much more about British history after reading this book, however perhaps some periods (e.g. the Thatcher's years) aren't addressed as accurately as they would deserve.


Eye of the Needle
Eye of the Needle
by Ken Follett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 18 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Eye of the Needle (Paperback)
I could not recommend this book more. The descriptions of life in the UK during the second world war is accurate and engaging: the London bombing, the obsession with German spies, life in the countryside, the black outs. The Needle, the German baddy, is a cold killer, but also a patriot and somebody who has endured enough duress as to be ready to fall in love with what I figured in my mind as a very typical English rose. Even life (and fighting) on the claustrophobic Storm Island is masterly depicted. This was an excellent unputdownable book and I am sure I will be reading it again.


The Increment
The Increment
by David Ignatius
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 and 1/2 stars, 3 Sept. 2010
This review is from: The Increment (Paperback)
Other reviewers have defined this book as realistic. It might be so (although not being a secret agent nor an Iranian dissident I am not in a position to confirm), but the outcome risks to be boring. In fact this is not one of those books that I really want to pick up as soon as I have a spare moment, on the contrary... The main character (Harry) is certainly no superhero. Still depressed after the death of his son in Iraq, he is going through a very difficult patch with his wife. Things are not any better at work, since he is the only guy within the CIA who seems to oppose the invasion of Iran by the US. He is really surrounded by very aggressive colleagues who are really keen on bombing Iran, and soon even the US President gets convinced of the necessity of a new war. However his boss, the CIA Director is still quite unconvinced (he actually seems quite unconvinced about just about everything - a curious figure always dressed in his navy uniform, that for some reason reminds me of the chief in "Police Academy"), so Harry gets permission to betray his country and work for MI6. Working with MI6 Harry discovers that the Brits are so much better than the CIA: whereas the Americans are uptight and aggressive, the Brits are laid back but efficient...until Harry realizes that even the MI6 is not as good as it seems...The plot includes a few quite detailed descriptions of Teheran (although in the acknowledgement section the author let us know he was only there for a couple of weeks several years ago) and Turkmenistan (whose description seems to have been put together out of a post card collection)...2 and 1/2 stars is the very maximum I can be pushed to grant this book. Shame.


Dead Spy Running
Dead Spy Running
by Jon Stock
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good points but overall average, 3 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Dead Spy Running (Paperback)
This book has a few good points. I like the way the head of MI6 is portrayed, just as I like how the father's character is depicted. In fact such characters glare of an Englishness that , as an anglophile, I cannot not appreciate. Other parts of the book are shallower. For example those parts set in India, when the author's knowledge of India seems to be just that of a mainstream tourist's. I also found this book's anti-Americanism a bit over the top. The CIA are really described as a bunch of brainless and angry amateurs. Overall the book was an easy and quick read. I have a feeling the author could have performed better if he had spent more time researching and had kept away from a few Hollywood stereotypes (e.g. why all main characters, males and females, need to be so beautiful??...this makes things just even less credible).


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