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J. Newman "james_newman99" (Thailand)

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Price: £3.48

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accomplished Thriller, 19 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Vortex (Kindle Edition)
A few pages in there was no turning back from Vortex. Guess there was a clue in the title. Carrell understands the need to raise stakes and
build tension to keep the reader hooked in this accomplished novel which I'll loosely describe as a financial thriller set in a tropical locale.

We follow the building and eventual collapse of a branch of an investment bank in the Far East. Most novels should have an overall message and the message that settles after Vortex has fallen is something along the lines of - Trust No One.

This is a story of greed and deceit in the shady world of investment management. A world that the author obviously knows well. Well enough to detail an elaborate scam unfold from cradle to grave. People get hurt, careers ruined, relationships faked and drugs taken... The prize of one billion dollars sits before the winner proving if any proof be needed that the greed for hard currency is indeed at the root of all evil. Vortex is described as a whirlpool - get too close and you get drawn in and thrown to the depths of the ocean. This a page turner and once you're in, you'd better have a few spare hours.

If I were to be picky I might say that the book can give too much information at times. This is, however, a problem with crime novels when they are based on politics, law or in this instance, finance. Too much technical details needs to be explained to make the story legit....Slip the information into dialogue and it would read like the script for a made-for-TV-movie.

Carrell has made a brave choice to inform in narrative which he does without devaluing the story. What we have here is not only an entertaining yarn but also an informative look at the world of corporate investment slugs and a peep into how and why capitalism often fails all but the super-rich. Look forward to reading more from the author starting with the football book A Matter of Life and Death.

A Case of Noir (Atlantis)
A Case of Noir (Atlantis)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended dark Euro sleaze for lovers of the dark stuff..., 19 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Paul D. Brazill’s world here is one of peroxide Berliner blondes wearing PVC raincoats with blood red lipstick smeared across their lips. Barbarous gangsters and shyster scam artists, drunken literary agents and pop producers shelter in cities ruined by war and Vodka, drenched by decadence, spent of hope, driven by desire. Here we meet protagonist Luke Case who is drifting on a stream of booze and loose women from Poland to Madrid to Granada to London and then Oxford where he finds himself at a well observed and illustrated literary crime festival - the majority of the guests seem to be enthusing over something called Nordic Noir – whatever that was.

Witty observations, a shady past, and a name that conjures up images of coffee and nuts. Sly references to Molly Drake and The Last Words of Dutch Schultz keep things interesting plus of course the use of FADE IN FADE OUTs, camera directions... These are welcome touches.

Bleak yet humorous landscapes fertilized with witty dialogue and sewn up with spare descriptions. Brazill doesn’t waste words, instead he plays with the images they provoke and he has more ways to describe a hangover than there are ways to create one - Shards od sunlight sliced through the slats in the blinds, like a kick in the eye from a stiletto heel.

My only reservation was later in the book backstory was explained perhaps for those who hadn’t been paying attention or maybe the stories were written separately and then later welded together.... Either way it read like a slight slip in confidence in an otherwise bold journey .

It matters not really for this is a great slice of Noir from an assured talent residing south of Norway.

I read A Case of Noir twice in one sitting. Recommended dark Euro sleaze for lovers of the dark stuff...

Perfect Night Live In London
Perfect Night Live In London
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £15.88

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great live album, 12 Mar. 2007
I recall after watching the gig a few years ago, walking over Waterloo Bridge, and thinking that it would be great if the concert had been recorded. It has.

Anyone who has followed Reeds career knows that it has been a bumpy ride. The excellent first Velvets album followed by a somewhat rushed second (White Light/ white heat) record, a personal deep third (The Velvet Underground) and then a poppy last band album (Loaded)

The early seventies were good for Reed with the awesome "Transformer" record and then the beautifully bleak "Berlin". Then things got a bit strange during the mid seventies / early eighties and, in my opinion, Reed only started to record seriously when he sobered up with "The Blue Mask" and later "Magic and Loss" and "New York" Since then his studio recordings have not managed to shock and innovate in the way they had previously achieved.

This live recording is probably up there in the top three for Reed live albums. The others being "Take no prisoners" and the newish "Animal Serenade" It's an acoustic set with the usual Reed backing band. The set list is a nice representation of Reeds career. Some good songs form an extensive back catalogue. There is no "Walk on the Wild Side", "Satellite of Love", "Sweet Jane" or "Waiting for the Man" There are however some big tracks on here. Stand out tracks are "I'll be your mirror" "Perfect Day" "Vicious" and "Dirty Blvd"

A good addition to any Lou Reed fan's collection. And a better record than most of his later studio adventures.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2015 3:30 PM GMT

Trick Baby: The Story of a White Negro
Trick Baby: The Story of a White Negro
by Iceberg Slim
Edition: Paperback

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Con, 26 Jan. 2007
Ice Berg Slim is a true master of the word. His dialogue is dazzling. His cast so real you can almost touch them. "Pimp" is the book to start with, but Trick Baby is just as good and stands alone as a brilliant example of American writing.

Trick Baby is a term used for the offspring of a black prostitute who has given birth to a baby who is half white. The baby of a white John (client of the prostitute) is considered a trick baby. Half black. Half white.

After his mother is gang raped and put into a secure mental hospital, White Folks (trick baby) falls into the company of Blue, a grifter con-man who teaches Folks the art of Con. How to hustle for money in downtown Chicago. Folks has an advantage as he looks like a peckerwood (white man) Blue and Folks play the con and earn lots of money on the grifter circuit.

They play to close to danger and the con catches up with them.

Quote from Trick Baby. Folks and Blue talk about religion.

Blue: "My conviction is that God never existed. I believe the Bible was written by the slickest bunch of peckerwood grifters that ever crapped between two sandals" .... Brilliant!

Read this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 5, 2012 11:39 PM GMT

by Tracey Emin
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bed Time Reading, 4 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Strangeland (Hardcover)
I read this book in one sitting and found it, for the most part, quite disturbing, and partly entertaining and also in parts quite dull. Emin writes this book with a painful honesty and a navity that both devalues it's literary worth and paradoxcally makes it all the more interesting. I enjoyed her style of writing and the book had a good voice in parts. It is all out there for thoose that want to read it. She has led an interesting life and she will continue to do so. It is, however, shocking to discover that so many female readers relate to this work, bearing in mind the blunt scenes of sexual abuse that the author describes. This is not a book that is easy to put down.

That said, I would venture to suggest that had this book not been written by an established artist, then it would have never been published. This does not mean that book is mot worth reading. On the contary, it just means that you have to put the story into context with who she is. If you Enjoy Emin's art then you must buy this book. If you are interested in her as a person, than borrow it from a friend.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2011 4:19 PM BST

Helen and Desire ("Rebel Inc." Classics)
Helen and Desire ("Rebel Inc." Classics)
by Alexander Trocchi
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trocchi Erotica, 4 Nov. 2006
I picked up Helen and Desire after being impressed with Trocchi's "Cain's Book" and "Young Adam". Trocchi is a writer with an unique unmistakable skill that is recognisable within every sentance that he creates.

It is a tragic shame how overlooked Trocchi's work has become over the years. It was, I think, due to this lack of commercial succcess that led the author to write this erotic novel, for the now infamous Parisian Olympia Press, that turns out mostly adult books. Trocchi would not have choosen to write an erotic novel had his serious litreture been rewarded with the reception it deserved. He wrote this book for money, and he wrote this book within a matter of weeks.

The author did, however, approach the task of writing this erotic novel with the same proffesional approach that he endorsed with all his work.

I am not a fan of erotic books. I have not read any erotic books apart form this one. Honest.

The author writes in the first person. The first person is an Australian girl who travels across the globe in pursuit of sexual encounters with men that she encounters across her travels. The book is set out as a diary. It is interesting how Trocchi can picture Australia, the Far East and India without (to my knowledge) having ever been there.

This is an acomplished novel by an overlooked master of the word. It is worth reading this novel as an example of a true writer turning his hand to a new genre.

The Ginger Man
The Ginger Man
by J. P. Donleavy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 12 Oct. 2006
This review is from: The Ginger Man (Paperback)
I became aware of this book after recently reading a Hunter S. Thompson biography, wherein it describes how Hunter discovered the book in New York, and did his best to imitate Dangerfield's lifestyle. After reading the Ginger Man it became apparent that Hunter had at last found a hard act to follow in terms of womanising, alcohol abuse and empty promises.

Apparently the Ginger Man was turned down by something like 40 publishers before finding it's way to the mainly pornographic publishers Olympia Press in Paris. Despite turning out mostly smut, Olympia owner Maurice Girodias also published some early works by the likes of Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs, Henry Miller and Jean Genet amongst other rising literary talents of the time.

I mention the publication as it's interesting to note that Donleavy entered into 20 plus years of litigation with the publishing house. He eventually won the case and subsequently owns Olympia Press.

But anyway, the book. It is, for better or worse, very real. The "hero" Sebastian Dangerfield is a reluctant family man and a reluctant student of law. He just doesn't care about the things which we assume he should care about. He is constantly in a state of scheming his way into the next free drink, or getting into the knickers of an easily led girl. He has no morals, nor does he feel that he should have. He is banking on an inherited wealth which will be his once his sick father dies.

The style of the book is modern for the time of it's writing. Donleavy uses both the first person narrative and the third person narrative to illustrate his main character. This can be confusing at first, but I found that after a few chapters, it adds to the urgency/pace (first person) and the backgrounds (third person) as he switches between the two different types of narration. This could not be achieved by sticking to either one of the disciplines.

The plot is quite simple, as a character novel should be. The backdrop is Dublin and then later London. Both are described well.

The dialogue is at times simply brilliant. One of the few books where you find yourself laughing aloud, and re-reading passages in an attempt to recall lines and slip them into a conversation at some point in the future. It is so easy to see why this book has since been turned into a stage production. I would imagine that the theater would be in fits of giggles.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the development of modern literature. And for that matter anyone with an open mind and a good sense of humour. It is in many ways one of the best novels of the 20th century.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 13, 2013 6:18 AM BST

The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Velvet Underground & Nico
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VU, 13 Aug. 2003
Well, Lou Reed wrote "The Ostrich" for his fly-by-night record label in the mid sixties. This record became an unexpected minor hit and the label needed someone with "long hair" to complete the promotional tour lineup. John cale, a student studying advent garde classical music in NYC stepped in and an unlikely alliance with Lou was born.
Advent garde rock was born.
So, Lou and John joined by Sterling Morrison (and old friend of Lou's from college) And Mo Tucker, a sister of a friend joined a band, hung out in New York befriended Andy Warhol and made a record with a European chanteuse, namely Nico.
Sunday Morning is the opening track and never has Lou's vocals sounded so perfectly whimsical, stealing the show from Nico who was scheduled to sing the track. Waiting For The Man is a great rock song, the rolling piano, sarcastic bass line and unforgetable lyrics are timeless. Other highlights are of course Venus in furs and Heroin. All Tomorrows Parties works as a whole track with Nico really holding the mike strong. In other tracks she seems almost shy. This was Warhols favorite track, and we can see why.
All in all, this is a record we all should treasure in our collection, because if we don't, we will not have a chance at understanding where modern music has come from and why it is so special...

Post Office: A Novel
Post Office: A Novel
by Charles Bukowski
Edition: Paperback

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY THIS BOOK, 23 Jun. 2003
This review is from: Post Office: A Novel (Paperback)
This book proves that Bukowski was at his best as a writer when he was down and out. Thankfully for the reader he was mostly down and out during his prolific career, a slave to beer and whiskey and low life friends.
He gave up working for the post office and wrote this book in a matter of days. He had to produce a great book and make some money and he did so by recording his time at the Post Office. Makes you want to give up the day job and do likewise. But who could do the job as well as Buk?
For me, Post Office is Buk's best work along with Ham on Rye, Factotum and the short story collections. Bukowski uses simple language which is understandable to everyone, but there is a deep underlying sense of acceptance of life imprinted in every page. He never asks for pity, although you know he really deserves it.
This novel makes you feel good as when you read it you understand things could be worse. You could be Buk. That said, this novel is far from being depressing, quite the opposite in fact it is at times so amusing you have to put it down and laugh aloud.
If you are feeling hard done by, buy this book and learn how to laugh in the face of failure like the great Bukowski.

The Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Catchy, 7 April 2003
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
The ultimate "coming of age novel" finds the narrator quiting school taking a train to New York and cursing everything and anything that gets in his path. Sound familiar? Well, many must admit a certain empathy with the young lad dispite his misgivings, just through the memories of their own teenage frustrations. From reading the first page I was hooked and finished it in one read. Not much of a plot, but a great insight into the wild activities of an adolescent mind.

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