Advance reader's copy review. Leucrota Press did a nice job on the presentation.
It’s quite a few years since I read any British books that came anywherAdvance reader's copy review. Leucrota Press did a nice job on the presentation.
It’s quite a few years since I read any British books that came anywhere near to fitting into this sort of genre. Perhaps it was a Shaun Hutson, when he was trying to pull free from all the supernatural/mutated nature elements that were common in his more saleable works to get back to straight gorefest bad situation thrillers. Unfortunately it was the supernatural elements that first attracted me, perhaps trying to reclaim some of the guilty pleasures of gorefest authors such as Guy N.Smith and the early career of James Herbert that I overdosed on during my teens. Shaun Jeffrey’s Kult has no carnivorous slugs, hordes of hungry rats (well maybe a few) or giant crabs bent on mutilation and dismemberment but it does have some folks in a very, very bad situation.
At first, during the first fifty pages or so, I found I was having problems with Shaun Jeffrey’s writing. Whenever he settled into any extended sections of narrative his sentence structure would became much longer and convoluted. Many times I’d be immersed in the flow of the writing only to be dragged back to the printed page by yet another awkward sounding sentence. Fortunately this seemed to pass after we left behind the first rash of Oracle/victim chapters and introduced Prosper Snow.
Jeffrey writes decent dialogue (though sometimes cheesy) and the story rattles on at a decent pace. The characterisations did seem to be only thinly pencilled in at times, which is fairly common in books of this type, but I do feel characters like Liz deserved more back story and personality. Perhaps she occupies a space in the story only to ask awkward questions of Prosper but I think she needed fleshing out more. A little more restraint with the naming selection would have been good too. The five Kult members all sound like they’ve been culled from Alexis Carrington’s little black book. I get the feeling that this might have been the author entertaining himself. Even though The Kult is generally quite dark, Jeffrey does sometimes dole out a little amusement from time to time. The prose is dotted with little similes and metaphors, some quite clumsy and some even get more than one outing, but if you are in the mood some can also be quite fun. My favourite is:
Prosper didn’t think his heart could sink any further, but if a spiritual Marianas Trench existed, he was in it, three miles down in a bathysphere buckling under the pressure.
There’s nothing particularly bad about Shaun Jeffrey’s work here. There’s nothing to particularly recommend it either. I’ve read worse in the genre and I’ve read better. I felt like giving this two and a half stars but I suppose I can stump up for an extra half star considering this is a British writer still fairly close to the start of his career. ...more
Smallville's Bryan Q. Miller gets the job of introducing the new Batgirl with former Spoiler Stephanie Brown picking up where Cassandra Cain left off.Smallville's Bryan Q. Miller gets the job of introducing the new Batgirl with former Spoiler Stephanie Brown picking up where Cassandra Cain left off. I've always liked the Steph Brown character, with all her flaws she's more human than a lot of the extended Bat-family and a lot more vulnerable. I'm sad to see Cassandra go though. Miller knows how to have fun with his character in these first 7 issues, which includes a highly amusing team-up between our heroine and the newest and most insufferable Robin. Imagine the most annoying ten year old who has ever whooped your backside at Call of Duty while trash talking in a squeaky voice and multiply by a factor of ten and you have the new Robin. Miller milks the the whole 19 year old girl teaming up with 10 year old boy dynamic to the full. Enjoyable....more
With the first five seasons of 'Justified' currently available on demand to Sky subscribers I was tempted into watching this show from the start. I soWith the first five seasons of 'Justified' currently available on demand to Sky subscribers I was tempted into watching this show from the start. I soon got hooked and became curious about the original books featuring sharp shooting US Marshall Raylan Givens by Elmore Leonard. Being a beast with a very methodical nature I grabbed me a copy of book 1 and got started, 'Pronto' isn't really a book about Raylan though. He starts out as a supporting character in what turns out to be a character piece. The main player of the piece is a Miami Beach bookie called Harry Arno who becomes a pawn in an attempt by the police to bring charges to bear on a local mob boss. Arno soon has a price on his head and decides to escape to Italy and a little place he'd long planned to retire to. The story is a simple one no mistake. There's a lot rumination over nostalgia and the difference between folks perceived self and reality and man does Harry have a thing for Ezra Pound. The author writes some great dialogue. Raylan makes the book though. He's a slightly different character than his screen version with a slightly different back story but essentially they occupy the same space both being sharp shooters, masters of the psychological edge that all gunmen need to stay in the game and of course there's the hat. His role as a US Marshall also makes a refreshing change from all the detectives mooching about detecting things. His job normally involves guarding folk. dealing with fugitives and escorting prisoners. Timothy Olyphant really makes the character his own in the tv series, exuding quirky old school charm that hides just how lethal he is. Some scenes and dialogue made it onto the screen in the first episode and a less globe trotting version of Harry's story can be found in episode 4 "Long in the Tooth" which includes the back roads confrontation between Raylan and two mob gunmen. Usually my idea of a box set binge is one episode a week because I like to savour the good stuff but I actually watched two episodes last week. I know... the shame. Anyhow I'll be getting all the books and the short stories but I think I'll pass on the hat....more
Review from Badelynge These three installments in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga are something of a mixed bag. Although they follow on from eacReview from Badelynge These three installments in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga are something of a mixed bag. Although they follow on from each other in the general chronology the publication order was quite different and were published over the span of a decade or so. They all use the field of genetics to fuel the plot and themes. In Cetaganda Miles tries his hand at another bit of detective work. He's on a diplomatic mission to Cetaganda with his 'a bit thick but handsome' cousin. He's not even off the shuttle before he's knee deep in intrigue, and murder, dodging potentially fatal traps as he goes. Spending time in Miles head is always enjoyable and fun. I also enjoyed trying to imagine how beautiful the Cetagandan Haut women were. Probably similar to trying to imagine what Galadriel looked like - an enjoyable exercise but ultimately a futile one. Don't start Ethan of Athos thinking Miles is in it. You'll only be disappointed. The little guy is mentioned quite a bit though and one of the major characters is Elli Quinn, some might remember her from The Warrior's Apprentice. The main protagonist is this chap Ethan. He lives on a male only planet inhabited by blokes who live in superstitious dread of women (otherwise known as uterine replicators with legs). The fun starts when he has to leave his home planet in search of a replacement supply of ovarian cultures to replace the failing existing cultures, without which his society can't reproduce. Massive culture shock ensues (women everywhere). Ethan soon gets up to his neck in problems he's not really equipped to deal with, problems that he's going to have to rely on a woman to overcome. Enter Elli Quinn. It's all quite light hearted but very amusing. Labyrinth is a novella which features Miles back at the helm of the Dendarii cruiser Ariel. Before too long everything goes pear-shaped and Miles finds himself in big trouble. And if being trapped in a dungeon with a sex mad teenage werewolf doesn't qualify as big trouble I don't know what does. As fun as ever but still finds time to ask a few questions about what it is to be different....more
Miles tries his hand at another bit of detective work again in this one. He's on a diplomatic mission to Cetaganda with his 'a bit thick but handsome'Miles tries his hand at another bit of detective work again in this one. He's on a diplomatic mission to Cetaganda with his 'a bit thick but handsome' cousin. He's not even off the shuttle before he's knee deep in intrigue, and murder, dodging potentially fatal traps as he goes. Spending time in Miles head is always enjoyable and fun. I also enjoyed trying to imagine how beautiful the Cetagandan Haut women were. Probably similar to trying to imagine what Galadriel looked like - an enjoyable exercise but ultimately a futile one....more
WARNING!!! This book could seriously disrupt your life on the grounds of it being almost impossible to put down. Originally written in six novellas inWARNING!!! This book could seriously disrupt your life on the grounds of it being almost impossible to put down. Originally written in six novellas in the Dickensian tradition The Green Mile tells the story of a group of prisoners and the guards who watch over them in a small 'death house', waiting their turn at the electric chair in 1932. It stands alongside his Dark Tower books as being some of King's finest work. I can only imagine what it must have been like having to read them novella by novella with time in between: It must have been like Hell and Christmas five times in a year....more