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Reviews Written by
MarkW "WGCReviewer" (UK)

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To Do and Die
To Do and Die
by Patrick Mercer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good start to a new series., 17 April 2011
This review is from: To Do and Die (Paperback)
I have read a number of fictional accounts, based on fact, of people involved in the Crimean war and this had a markedly different approach to those others. Although the 'Thin red line' and the Charges of the Heavy and Light brigades are mentioned they are relatively minor parts of the story in which the protagonist of the story has little involvement. What made this story particulalry interesting to me is the emphasis on the rest of the Crimean campaign, and you really get a feel for the conditions that the soldiers lived under and the length of the war, which other books I have read have not provided to the same degree. On the down side, I find the Charge of the Light Brigade to be very interesting and just hearing about it through two non-combatants making, to my mind, surprisingly knowledgeable comments on what they were watching seemed fairly unsatisfactory way of covering it. (George MacDonald Fraser's 'Flashman at the Charge' contains some very interesting background to this). Also, unusual for this story, I found the lead character more fallable than in similar fiction, which in some ways was refreshing. Parts of the story jumped about a bit, and some parts concentrated on other characters, so to me this disrupted the flow of the story a bit. So not the best fictional account of this piece of history that I have read, but I will be reading more in the series.


The Bricklayer
The Bricklayer
by Noah Boyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read, 15 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Bricklayer (Paperback)
I was a bit put off by the start of this book as the opening chapter which should have set the scene - just failed to do it for me. Other writers have done this well (sorry - have to mention Lee Chlds here) building up the suspense to grip you right from the start, but the details of this opening were just too sparse, predicatble, quick and lacking in mystery or suspense to excite my interest. However I persevered and I am glad I did as the story improved, with fairly relentless action. Slowly the lead characters bagan to grow on me, and I wanted to keep reading. The plot is highly complicated and implausable, some minor characters a bit two dimensional, but I found it an undemanding and largely enjoyable read. Not top of my list of authors, but I am sure that I will be reading others in this series.


Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
by Paul Torday
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read - but lacking something, 13 Mar. 2011
It took me a while to get used to the style of this book - laid out a a sequence of documents (diary,email, interview notes etc) but I gradually got engrossed in this unusual story. The observation of the political system, a key part of the story, is quite cutting but in my opinion was fairly heavy handed satire, particularly about a proposed television program. Maybe as a result of the format used, the characters to me lacked depth. The author avoids the cliched ending, but still I found it a fairly uninspiring conclusion. Also, although later explained away as shock, I did not think the main characters reaction to the final events, fitted the story - as I never got the feeling that his passion for his project, or his disfunctionality, was so great as to make him that untouched by the impact of events on people that he probably ought to have cared about.


Memoirs of an Invisible Man
Memoirs of an Invisible Man
by Harry F. Saint
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea - Great Story, 10 Mar. 2011
I really like the approach taken to this - take one wayout premise - what if someone did become invisible - and then logically think about what this could really mean. How would this really work? How would other's react to it? This cleverly thought-out and entertaining story combines action, humour and a great deal of suspense as the protagonist, Nicholas Halloway tries to stay a step ahead of the sinister government agents try to track him down.


You're Next
You're Next
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action Packed Read., 1 Mar. 2011
This review is from: You're Next (Kindle Edition)
Right from the start I found this to be a gripping and exciting read. The flashbacks of the main character's past neatly interlocking with the unexplained events of the present. You get a real sense of menace and mystery as events close in. The pace is unrelentless during the first three quarters of the book and it makes for a great read. Round about this point you find out the motivation for what is happening and that I found slightly diasppointing as this seems fairly implausable and the way he finds out extremely implausable. Without giving anything else I can not see why anybody in his situation would have been doing what he did to find out. Without the mystery the last section of the book is less frantic and builds to a fairly satisfactory conclusion, although I felt that some aspects do fall together rather conveniently. Overall though I did really enjoy the book and if you go with the flow and don't examine the plot in too much detail it is well worth reading.


Ordinary Thunderstorms
Ordinary Thunderstorms
by William Boyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars No Ordinary Thriller, 21 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Ordinary Thunderstorms (Paperback)
I had only read one William Boyd book previously (Brazzaville Beach), which I had not enjoyed, I do enjoy a lot of crime fiction, and I had fairly low expectations for this book. However on starting this I soon found myself gripped by the story - the plot is unusual and the characters interesting and engaging. Although I found this a generally a very enjoyable read there were a few major things that let it down for me. I found the rapid slide of the main character from a researcher eating in an Italian restaurant to homeless eating a seagull was just to sudden and unbelievable. Among other unlikely coincidences and events the motivation for the conspiracy also seemed simplistric and highly unlikely to the extent that I was not sure that I had really understood it - there surely had to be more to it. The ending seemed to me inconclusive and lacking impact. So I did really enjoy the journey to the finish - but felt a little bit let down when I got there.


The Neighbour
The Neighbour
by Lisa Gardner
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 8 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Neighbour (Paperback)
I was gripped by this book as soon as I had read the first few pages and thought it was extremely effective the way the story switched between the different perspectives of the characters, each time revealing more about them and how they got to be where they were. Though beautifully constructed the conclusion to me did not seem to really satisfactorily explain what had happened. However, the journey to that conclusion is so good I can almost forgive that - but I can't quite give it 5 stars. (Also can't see the relevance of the name 'The Neighbour').


Washington Shadow
Washington Shadow
by Aly Monroe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric but aimless, 10 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Washington Shadow (Paperback)
Although I know very little about the events of this period in history, from what little I do know, I get the impression that this is a well researched and reasonable attempt to portray this period, and the plot background is unusual and interesting. However the plot itself ambles along without clear direction, and it was not clear to me how many of the earlier events have any relation to what happens later on - and what happens later on is all fairly inconclusive and lacking in drama or impact. What does not help is the way that the main character's actions are described - he comes across as bland and unemotional and he seems to just drift along with few decisive actions. So for me it was atmospheric but not much else.


Taken (Extended Harder Cut) [DVD] [2008]
Taken (Extended Harder Cut) [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Liam Neeson
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £1.30

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, 28 Nov. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With an exciting, and intelligently handled plot, this film spends a while at the start very effectively setting the scene and then is fairly non-stop action to the finish. One of the things that I like about the film was that it had to me, a greater feel of realism than many action films, and rather than these protacted, acrobatic stunt filled fights where people take all sorts of punishment and walk away, most of the 'fights' in this film finish quickly, abruptly (and violently) in just a few seconds. The pace is just right, giving a real feeling for the urgency, and lengths that the main character will go to in order to save one of his family. Liam Neesom is superb in the leading role as devoted father, and relentless pursuer, prepared to go to any lengths to achieve his goal. The torture scene is unpleasant, and I would have liked to have seen some explanation of what happened between the culmination of the chase, and the heros return home, but these are very minor points. All in all, just a really good action film.


The American
The American
by Martin Booth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High brow, low action, 28 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The American (Paperback)
What swung me to buy this book was the picture on the front - taken from the film showing George Clooney running with a gun - that combined with the brief plot synopsis made it sound like a good action thriller. When I got into I found that although there is an interesting plot leading up to an action conclusion, a lot of the book is around the main character attempting to moralise on what he does and describing his life in the village where he lives, considering history, religion, food and drink etc of the area. It is well written and has some interesting observations - and his reminiscences relate to how he got to be where he is and do to some extent set the stage for what follows. However it moves quite slowly and while the suspense builds it could have built up better in my opinion, as things close in on him, for a more exciting conclusion. Good thoughtful read if you don't expect a Hollywood thriller pace.(I have now seen the trailer for the film, and that still appeals to me, so not sure how much film diverges from the book.)


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