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A. S. Thompson

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Deliver Us From Evil (Shaw and Katie James)
Deliver Us From Evil (Shaw and Katie James)
by David Baldacci
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Gratuitously violent, 6 Nov. 2015
It is inevitable that an author as prolific as David Baldacci will deliver a turkey now and again.

A flimsy plot is populated with equally unconvincing characters. I got the point about the villain being an evil monster who needs to be brought to justice but fewer descriptions of gratuitous violence would have been just as effective.


The Brass Go-Between
The Brass Go-Between
by Ross Thomas
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass in deceit and treachery!, 1 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: The Brass Go-Between (Paperback)
Ross Thomas, under the pseudonym Oliver Bleeck, wrote five books about New York based Philip St. Ives, a man who both criminals and victims entrust with resolving tricky situations. The Brass Go-Between, published in 1969, is the first book in the series in which St. Ives is paid a ten percent fee to deliver a quarter of million dollars to those who have stolen a prized African shield from a Washington museum. But when he makes contact with the thieves, he hits dead ends and dead bodies.

The novel is filled with cynical humour and action in which Ross Thomas weaves a marvellously tangled web of deceit and treachery. It is highly recommended.


The Liar's Lullaby
The Liar's Lullaby
by Meg Gardiner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay but ..., 24 Oct. 2015
This review is from: The Liar's Lullaby (Paperback)
A bipolar country rock star is desperate for a break that will get her back to the top of the charts. When she is shot in front of a crowd of 40,000 concert fans the San Francisco Police Department is unable to determine if her death was suicide or murder and call on Jo Beckett (a forensic psychiatrist) to get to the truth.

It’s an okay read but the characters are cliche-ridden caricatures and the book is let down by a complicated plot. Overall, it tries too hard although the finale is full of tension and heart thumping action.


The Love Song of  J. Edgar Hoover
The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover
by Kinky Friedman
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Kinky Friedman, 19 Oct. 2015
The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover is Kinky’s ninth novel starring his alter ego, the Kingster, an amateur private investigator living with an antisocial cat in a draughty loft in New York City. A perfectly straightforward missing husband investigation degenerates into a convoluted and improbable tale as the Kingster is shot by the police, locked in a burning limousine by a chauffeur, and finds himself the target of an FBI manhunt.

The jokes, one-liners and anecdotes are irreverent, often outrageously offensive, and extremely funny. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Full House (Full Series, Book 1)
Full House (Full Series, Book 1)
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A couple of chuckles, 16 Oct. 2015
Janet Evanovich has picked up a number of well deserved major crime fiction awards for her extremely amusing Stephanie Plum novels. However, I doubt that she will win any accolades for Full House published in 1989, (subsequently revised with Charlotte Hughes for this 2002 edition). The plot is flimsy and the characters are one-dimensional but I persevered to the end although it was hard going in places. And yet despite this it did make me chuckle a couple of times.


Ten Little New Yorkers
Ten Little New Yorkers
by Kinky Friedman
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Is this the end for the Kingster?, 12 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: Ten Little New Yorkers (Hardcover)
Ten Little New Yorkers, published in 2005, is Kinky’s seventeenth novel featuring his alter ego, the Kingster, a lonely, loveless amateur private investigator living with an antisocial cat in a draughty loft in New York City beneath the pounding hooves of a lesbian dance class.

Kinky Friedman usually makes me laugh but nothing happens for 50 pages (which is just over a quarter of the book). His much beloved cat has gone, the lesbian dance class is silent and the smiles are few and far between as the Kingster ponders the meaning of his increasingly boring life whilst on vacation in Texas.

However, the story eventually takes off and becomes much more enjoyable as corpses start to accumulate in NYC and the Kingster finds himself to be the main murder suspect.

There are plenty of acerbic one liners scattered throughout but all the same it is a curate's egg of a book. Overall it disappoints but I gave it 3 stars because of (for me at least) the surprise ending.


Little Saigon
Little Saigon
by T. Jefferson Parker
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Too much going on in “Little Saigon”, 9 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: Little Saigon (Hardcover)
T. Jefferson Parker, originally from Laguna Beach, California, has written over twenty novels. Little Saigon is his second novel, published in 1988, and is set in Orange County, California where over 189,000 Vietnamese American reside.

It is an ambitious (and at times confusing) thriller about the kidnapping of a Vietnamese singer who is the wife of a US war veteran seriously injured whilst in Vietnam. But underpinning this is an intricate and overly busy plot - subsequent murders revolve around a CIA funded scheme to smuggle arms into Vietnam to support guerrillas still trying to overthrow the communist regime even though the war is over. The novel is also about a paternalistic family and sibling rivalry - and guilt over the death of a sister. And there is deception and corruption and double crosses in bucket loads. It is a complex novel which works reasonably well but too many of the characters are one dimensional and I found it difficult to care about them. The novel needed tighter editing.

In summary, an enjoyable if not an entirely satisfactory read.


Absolute Power
Absolute Power
by David Baldacci
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must-read, 4 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: Absolute Power (Paperback)
Set in Washington, DC, Absolute Power is a sizzling thriller about the ultimate conspiracy: a murder involving the US President and the subsequent cover-up by his Chief of Staff and the Secret Service. However, there is a witness, and more killings follow in a desperate attempt to conceal the truth.

As with many good mysteries, we know who the antagonist is straightaway but the pleasure is one of anticipation as we follow the protagonists as they uncover the facts and at the same time try to stay alive!

Published in 1996 Absolute Power is David Baldacci’s debut novel. With hindsight some reviewers have suggested that perhaps it is not as good as his later novels. That is debatable but it is the case that this is one of the best suspense novels I have read in years.

If like me, you missed this novel all those years ago, catch up and enjoy a good read now.


The Singapore Wink
The Singapore Wink
by Ross Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars All is not what it seems!, 27 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: The Singapore Wink (Paperback)
I have yet to read a novel by Ross Thomas which I did not enjoy. The Singapore Wink (published in 1969) does not disappoint, offering the reader a heady cocktail of blackmail, murder and double dealing, overlaid with slivers of his usual humour!

Edward Cauthorne, a former Hollywood stuntman subsisting in Los Angeles by renovating classic cars, is persuaded by enforcers to search for a former colleague (who also happens to be a Mafia godson) he thought he had killed in Singapore two years earlier. Seemingly his dead colleague is very much alive in Singapore and doing rather well by putting the squeeze on the Mob back in the US.

As with his other books, this is an excellent read for those who enjoy Raymond Chandler, Lawrence Block and Robert Parker. Plenty of surprises and violence.


If You Can't Be Good
If You Can't Be Good
by Ross Thomas
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars US crime writing at its best, 19 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: If You Can't Be Good (Paperback)
I am puzzled that Ross Thomas is not more popular in the UK? A superb American author of gritty crime fiction, he was the author of over twenty superb novels. He died in 1995 and was awarded the Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously in 2002.

“If You Can’t Be Good” is a stand alone thriller laced with corruption, murder, sex, and humour! Published in 1973 and set primarily in Washington DC it remains just as crisp and fresh today. An excellent read for those who enjoy Raymond Chandler, Lawrence Block and Robert Parker.

Highly recommended.


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