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Gerard Houllier: The Liverpool Revolution
Gerard Houllier: The Liverpool Revolution
by Stephen F. Kelly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far too many errors for an author of Kelly's experience., 8 Nov. 2003
This so-called biography does not do justice to Gerard Houllier and is an insult to the intelligence of Liverpool fans who, after all, are the target audience expected to shell out 19 quid for the dubious privilege of reading this error-ridden book.
For the passing neutral, with no great knowledge of Liverpool FC circa 1990-present, the book would probably be given pass marks. It would come across as reasonably informative and give the neutral some sort of insight into a traumatic period where Liverpool went from being the number one team in the country, to a complete laughing stock and back to something approaching potential greatness. The last part largely due to the professionalism, passion and all-round managerial ability of Monsieur Houllier.
Unfortunately, for the scrupulous Reds fan, it is impossible to see past the many factual errors that the author makes and, therefore, no enjoyment is forthcoming. Also, because there are so many inaccuracies that any fan that has followed Liverpool through the past decade-or-so can easily identify, it becomes impossible to believe anything the author tells you. It was getting to the point where it wouldn’t have been a complete surprise if the author had suggested that Phil Babb could play a bit.
A couple of irritating examples:
1. The author, when commenting on the Souness years, laments the decision to play the newly arrived, and struggling, Nigel Clough every week, when the mercurial Peter Beardsley was available to step in and take the pressure off the new boy. Someone should have told Kelly that: Beardsley left the club in 1991; Clough arrived in 1993.
2. Discussing Liverpool’s awful run around December/January time of the 2001/02 season, the author states that Liverpool went into the match with Manchester United at Old Trafford five points behind the leaders after only winning one of their last nine premiership games. No problems so far. In the very next sentence, however, he claims that Liverpool had, prior to the poor run, been 11 points behind United, but that the mancs had suffered a poor run of their own. The author obviously didn’t stop to think for a nanosecond exactly how Liverpool, with only one win in nine remember, had managed to gain six points on the team that at that point in time was still leading the table. Liverpool were, of course, 11 points clear of Manchester before their run of poor form commenced. Manchester, far from suffering a bout of poor form of their own, had put together an impressive run of results that had turned an 11-point deficit into a 5-point lead. Honestly, if Kelly cannot get his facts correct on something that happened less than two years ago then how can he be trusted to provide accurate data of more historical events?
There are so many other examples that we could be here listing all the errors from now until the time that Everton manage to finish above Liverpool in the table (or even take a point when the two meet at Goodison). It’s just not worth the effort though…
Alas, all is not lost to Liverpool fans who want to read about the good things that Houllier has done for the club and who would like more of an insight into what makes the man tick. Conrad Mewton has written a book: “The Red Revolution – Liverpool under Houllier”.
Redmen and women alike would be well advised to pick up a copy of Mewton’s book if it’s a choice between one and the other.


The Distant Echo
The Distant Echo
by Val McDermid
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The usual high standard from Val., 20 Aug. 2003
This review is from: The Distant Echo (Hardcover)
"The Distant Echo" takes Val McDermid back to her roots - the book being set in Fife rather than the north of England. Four students discover the body of a young woman and are subsequently thrust into the frame as the prime suspects, however, no evidence is forthcoming and the lads are never charged. Not that the lack of evidence stops the general consensus from being that the four did indeed rape and murder 19 year-old Rosie Duff; obviously they must have been clever enough to cover their tracks sufficiently well, being students an all.
Twenty-five years passes by and within a matter of weeks two of the quartet find themselves murdered - the first in an arson attack and the second in an apparent burglary gone wrong. Alarm bells start ringing for the surviving two that, somehow, someone is taking revenge for Rosie Duff a quarter of a century on. The race is on: the two must find the real killer of the girl before they themselves are sleeping with the fishes.
It's hard to find any fault with this novel - not that anyone familiar with McDermid's back catalogue would expect to find anything but a believable, well thought out, tension filled, exhilarating read. I suppose the only minor gripe would be that the killer of Rosie Duff was relatively easy to work out from quite an early stage; having said all that, the identity of the vigilante working his way through the former students certainly surprised me.
"The Distant Echo" moves along at a fairly rapid pace, the then and now time frame had me reminiscing about Dennis Lehane's quite excellent "Mystic River" and to steal a blurb from the back of the dust jacket - the plotting is impeccable.
There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that McDermid continues to be ranked alongside the great Americans - Ellroy, Block and Connelly. Not bad for a lass fi Kirkcaldy.


The Distant Echo
The Distant Echo
by Val McDermid
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The usual high standard from Val., 16 Aug. 2003
This review is from: The Distant Echo (Hardcover)
“The Distant Echo” takes Val McDermid back to her roots – the book being set in Fife rather than the north of England. Four students discover the body of a young woman and are subsequently thrust into the frame as the prime suspects, however, no evidence is forthcoming and the lads are never charged. Not that the lack of evidence stops the general consensus from being that the four did indeed rape and murder 19 year-old Rosie Duff; obviously they must have been clever enough to cover their tracks sufficiently well, being students an all.
Twenty-five years passes by and within a matter of weeks two of the quartet find themselves murdered – the first in an arson attack and the second in an apparent burglary gone wrong. Alarm bells start ringing for the surviving two that, somehow, someone is taking revenge for Rosie Duff a quarter of a century on. The race is on: the two must find the real killer of the girl before they themselves are sleeping with the fishes.
It’s hard to find any fault with this novel – not that anyone familiar with McDermid’s back catalogue would expect to find anything but a believable, well thought out, tension filled, exhilarating read. I suppose the only minor gripe would be that the killer of Rosie Duff was relatively easy to work out from quite an early stage; having said all that, the identity of the vigilante working his way through the former students certainly surprised me.
“The Distant Echo” moves along at a fairly rapid pace, the then and now time frame had me reminiscing about Dennis Lehane’s quite excellent “Mystic River” and to steal a blurb from the back of the dust jacket – the plotting is impeccable.
There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that McDermid continues to be ranked alongside the great Americans – Ellroy, Block and Connelly. Not bad for a lass fi Kirkcaldy.


Get Shorty
Get Shorty
by Elmore Leonard
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Meet Chili Palmer: The Connoisseur of Cool., 12 July 2003
This review is from: Get Shorty (Paperback)
Miami based loanshark Chili Palmer is in Hollywood tracking down a defaulting customer and like everyone else in that town he wants to be in the movies. As well as the outstanding thousands of dollars owed to Chili, the customer in question, Leo Devoe, fakes his own death in an airplane crash then runs off with the 300 grand in compensation that his wife receives from the airline. Chili's on Leo's tail and real life being stranger than fiction he can't help but feel the case has all the makings of a blockbuster movie. Inconveniently, incompetent Mafia hood, Ray Bones, also knows about the 300 grand and he's not far behind the shylock, plus he's still smarting from an altercation twelve years earlier when Chili took him out of the game with one punch over a jacket; add to that the fact that Bones still displays the scar where Chili shot him in the head not long after the coat incident.
While in Hollywood, Chili comes into contact with a host of interesting characters: Harry Zimm, a failing budget-movie-producer who wants Chili to come on board to help persuade A-list actor Michael Weir to star in a new project (Chili has his own burgeoning movie idea of course) that he thinks will be a big winner. Karen Flores - failed actress but still sexy and a premier league screamer, always a handy quality to have in budget horror flicks. Bo Catlett, drug-running gangster who, despite his wealth, is desperate for a piece of a movie - any piece - as long as his name is included in the credits at the end of the film. Catlett has absolutely no problem whatsoever with disposing of Chili Palmer if it enables him to get closer to Harry Zimm's side and realise his dream of seeing his name lit up in bright lights.
As with all Leonard novels that I've been fortunate enough to read, "Get Shorty" is awash with attitude; also the way the author presents dialogue between the different characters you feel as if you are actually present in the scene. The book fairly zips along, it's very entertaining and with regards to the main man, Chili, I wouldn't say there's the same level of moral ambiguity that you sometimes find with Elmore's characters: yes, he is a loanshark but he's trying to extricate himself from the business and he's not really a bad lad.
I wouldn't quite rank "Get Shorty" up alongside my favourite Leonard novel to date, "City Primeval" but Chili Palmer is a wonderful creation and it's no surprise that he appears again in a sequel, "Be Cool".


Lost Light
Lost Light
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Paperback

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best Bosch novel since "The Last Coyote"., 4 Jun. 2003
This review is from: Lost Light (Paperback)
There's something special about that time of the year when Harry Bosch comes out to play. I tried to take the latest in the Michael Connelly series at a nice slow pace in order to savour the moment. Easier said than done: the pages demand that they are turned over in as quick and efficient a manner as possible.
Followers of Bosch will know that "Lost Light" heralds a new beginning for the detective after the dramatic ending to "City of Bones". Anyone not up to date with the series is advised to stop reading this review right now unless they want the surprise turn of events at the end of the last novel spoiled for them.
So, how does Harry cope now that he's no longer a Homicide Detective? After an initial period of savouring the joys of retirement he wants to get back to his mission in life: catching bad guys who have up to that point literally got away with murder. This shouldn't be a problem as, Bosch being Bosch, he didn't walk out the door of the department for the last time before taking with him a bundle of unsolved case notes. One of these cases is providing Harry with something to get his teeth into during the course of "Lost Light". However, without the cover of a badge Bosch manages to antagonise both his former colleagues at the L.A.P.D. and the F.B.I. while undertaking his private investigation. Of course, not carrying a badge gives the former police officer far greater flexibility in his movements.
So, does the new format work? It most certainly does - the plot is extremely good and releasing Bosch from the bondage of having to answer to Chief Irving and co. for his every action is a good move.
The other change to the ninth Bosch novel is the switch from third to first person in the narrative. I wasn't sure about how this would play but in truth you couldn't help but slip effortlessly into the book; also, Bosch telling the story added a lot to his character depth - he was already one of my favourites in the crime genre alongside Rebus, Scudder and Robicheaux.
In conclusion: not quite up to the standard of "The Last Coyote" but the best Connelly in a number of years and a massive improvement on his last stand alone thriller "Chasing The Dime". Harry Bosch's change of direction should ensure a steady flow of top quality additions to the series from Mr Connelly in the coming years.


Lost Light
Lost Light
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars The best Bosch novel since "The Last Coyote"., 16 May 2003
This review is from: Lost Light (Paperback)
There’s something special about that time of the year when Harry Bosch comes out to play. I tried to take the latest in the Michael Connelly series at a nice slow pace in order to savour the moment. Easier said than done: the pages demand that they are turned over in as quick and efficient a manner as possible.
Followers of Bosch will know that “Lost Light” heralds a new beginning for the detective after the dramatic ending to “City of Bones”. Anyone not up to date with the series is advised to stop reading this review right now unless they want the surprise turn of events at the end of the last novel spoiled for them.
So, how does Harry cope now that he’s no longer a Homicide Detective? After an initial period of savouring the joys of retirement he wants to get back to his mission in life: catching bad guys who have up to that point literally got away with murder. This shouldn’t be a problem as, Bosch being Bosch, he didn’t walk out the door of the department for the last time before taking with him a bundle of unsolved case notes. One of these cases is providing Harry with something to get his teeth into during the course of “Lost Light”. However, without the cover of a badge Bosch manages to antagonise both his former colleagues at the L.A.P.D. and the F.B.I. while undertaking his private investigation. Of course, not carrying a badge gives the former police officer far greater flexibility in his movements.
So, does the new format work? It most certainly does – the plot is extremely good and releasing Bosch from the bondage of having to answer to Chief Irving and co. for his every action is a good move.
The other change to the ninth Bosch novel is the switch from third to first person in the narrative. I wasn’t sure about how this would play but in truth you couldn’t help but slip effortlessly into the book; also, Bosch telling the story added a lot to his character depth – he was already one of my favourites in the crime genre alongside Rebus, Scudder and Robicheaux.
In conclusion: not quite up to the standard of “The Last Coyote” but the best Connelly in a number of years and a massive improvement on his last stand alone thriller “Chasing The Dime”. Harry Bosch’s change of direction should ensure a steady flow of top quality additions to the series from Mr Connelly in the coming years.


Lost Light
Lost Light
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best Bosch novel since "The Last Coyote"., 27 April 2003
This review is from: Lost Light (Paperback)
There’s something special about that time of the year when Harry Bosch comes out to play. I tried to take the latest in the Michael Connelly series at a nice slow pace in order to savour the moment. Easier said than done: the pages demand that they are turned over in as quick and efficient a manner as possible.
Followers of Bosch will know that “Lost Light” heralds a new beginning for the detective after the dramatic ending to “City of Bones”. Anyone not up to date with the series is advised to stop reading this review right now unless they want the surprise turn of events at the end of the last novel spoiled for them.
So, how does Harry cope now that he’s no longer a Homicide Detective? After an initial period of savouring the joys of retirement he wants to get back to his mission in life: catching bad guys who have up to that point literally got away with murder. This shouldn’t be a problem as, Bosch being Bosch, he didn’t walk out the door of the department for the last time before taking with him a bundle of unsolved case notes. One of these cases is providing Harry with something to get his teeth into during the course of “Lost Light”. However, without the cover of a badge Bosch manages to antagonise both his former colleagues at the L.A.P.D. and the F.B.I. while undertaking his private investigation. Of course, not carrying a badge gives the former police officer far greater flexibility in his movements.
So, does the new format work? It most certainly does – the plot is extremely good and releasing Bosch from the bondage of having to answer to Chief Irving and co. for his every action is a good move.
The other change to the ninth Bosch novel is the switch from third to first person in the narrative. I wasn’t sure about how this would play but in truth you couldn’t help but slip effortlessly into the book; also, Bosch telling the story added a lot to his character depth – he was already one of my favourites in the crime genre alongside Rebus, Scudder and Robicheaux.
In conclusion: not quite up to the standard of “The Last Coyote” but the best Connelly in a number of years and a massive improvement on his last stand alone thriller “Chasing The Dime”. Harry Bosch’s change of direction should ensure a steady flow of top quality additions to the series from Mr Connelly in the coming years.


Lost Light
Lost Light
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best Bosch novel since "The Last Coyote"., 14 April 2003
This review is from: Lost Light (Paperback)
There’s something special about that time of the year when Harry Bosch comes out to play. I tried to take the latest in the Michael Connelly series at a nice slow pace in order to savour the moment. Easier said than done: the pages demand that they are turned over in as quick and efficient a manner as possible.
Followers of Bosch will know that “Lost Light” heralds a new beginning for the detective after the dramatic ending to “City of Bones”. Anyone not up to date with the series is advised to stop reading this review right now unless they want the surprise turn of events at the end of the last novel spoiled for them.
So, how does Harry cope now that he’s no longer a Homicide Detective? After an initial period of savouring the joys of retirement he wants to get back to his mission in life: catching bad guys who have up to that point literally got away with murder. This shouldn’t be a problem as, Bosch being Bosch, he didn’t walk out the door of the department for the last time before taking with him a bundle of unsolved case notes. One of these cases is providing Harry with something to get his teeth into during the course of “Lost Light”. However, without the cover of a badge Bosch manages to antagonise both his former colleagues at the L.A.P.D. and the F.B.I. while undertaking his private investigation. Of course, not carrying a badge gives the former police officer far greater flexibility in his movements.
So, does the new format work? It most certainly does – the plot is extremely good and releasing Bosch from the bondage of having to answer to Chief Irving and co. for his every action is a good move.
The other change to the ninth Bosch novel is the switch from third to first person in the narrative. I wasn’t sure about how this would play but in truth you couldn’t help but slip effortlessly into the book; also, Bosch telling the story added a lot to his character depth – he was already one of my favourites in the crime genre alongside Rebus, Scudder and Robicheaux.
In conclusion: not quite up to the standard of “The Last Coyote” but the best Connelly in a number of years and a massive improvement on his last stand alone thriller “Chasing The Dime”. Harry Bosch’s change of direction should ensure a steady flow of top quality additions to the series from Mr Connelly in the coming years.


Black Money (CRIME MASTERWORKS)
Black Money (CRIME MASTERWORKS)
by Ross MacDonald
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex, compassionate and thrilling., 5 Jan. 2003
"Black Money" is the first novel I've read by Ross Macdonald and it most certainly will not be the last.
The book features Private Investigator Lew Archer, who is hired to look into the background of a Frenchman who has stolen Archer's client's girlfriend. Things are not quite as simple as they appear on the surface and in the course of his investigation Archer meets a large number of interesting characters, some with a hidden secret or two. The Detective begins to wonder if current events somehow tie into an apparent suicide seven years earlier.
What I liked about Lew Archer was his humanity: he was genuinely concerned about, and sympathetic to, unfortunate people who crossed his path, rather than ridiculing them for their obvious deficiencies. There was none of the macho nonsense that is sometimes prevalent when reading P.I. novels. Archer came across as an all round compassionate guy, reminding me in some ways of the James Lee Burke character - Dave Robicheaux.
I'm glad I stumbled across Ross Macdonald and hopefully it'll be possible to track down some of the other books in the Archer series.


Sanctum
Sanctum
by Denise Mina
Edition: Hardcover

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as Rankin or McDermid!, 12 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Sanctum (Hardcover)
“Sanctum” is Denise Mina’s fourth novel, but the first not to feature former psychiatric patient Maureen O’Donnell as the central character.
Lachlan Harriot’s wife, Dr Susie Harriot, has been convicted of murdering a notorious serial killer; she’s also been accused of having sexual relations with the man prior to the murder taking place.
Lachie is convinced that his ‘darling wife Susie’ is completely innocent and is determined to uncover evidence that will help to overturn the murder conviction.
The book is written from the point of view of Lachie through a series of diary entries that he composes in Dr Susie’s secret study each night. He documents his progress (or lack of) in coming up with evidence to make an appeal possible; he has as his disposal a plethora of information as his wife was actually the psychiatrist of the man whom she was accused of murdering. Lachlan is also struggling to come to terms with the forced changes in his life: he has a young daughter to look after with no mother around to help; the press are taking photograph’s that make him look fat & ugly; and horror upon horrors – his Mother and Father are coming to stay.
As the story progresses, Lachlan is forced to examine the fact that things at home have never been quite the way he always assumed them to be. Maybe Susie did commit the murders after all. But what reason could she possibly have to do so?
“Sanctum” is far removed from Denise Mina’s Garnethill trilogy: although murders have taken place and there are a few shocks and surprises as the story unravels, the atmosphere of the book is nowhere near as dark and disturbing as Mina’s previous novels.
The writing is wonderful – as we have come to expect from the author – and it’s quite possible that reading a shopping-list written by Denise would be a rewarding experience. One particular description of the Selfridges sweetie department had me salivating at the mouth; my plain old dairy-milk chocolate bar didn’t taste so good that night.
Overall: top quality plot, characterization and prose make this book a welcome addition from an exceptionally talented Scottish writer.


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