Rebus is back. I never realised how much I missed him until I read this book. I never realised how much I missed the writing skills of Ian Rankin writiRebus is back. I never realised how much I missed him until I read this book. I never realised how much I missed the writing skills of Ian Rankin writing about Rebus. Now I do. Rebus is working on cold cases, as a civilian. What else would he do after he reached the obligatory retirement age? I wasn’t sure if he was alive after Exit Music. He is, along with his arch enemy, Cafferty, whose life he saved. Rebus stumbles across a series of missing person cases which he links together in spite of himself. When another young girl goes missing he finds himself in the centre of a murder investigation. He has to cope with a new generation of detectives and a strange digital world which changes everything, except for the crimes that men have always committed. Siobhan Clarke is now a DI and she is on his side. Rebus also has Rankin’s other creation from The Complaints, Malcolm Fox, waiting for him to make a mistake. Rankin is a brilliant storyteller. He has brought Rebus into the digital age without missing a beat. When is the next Rebus instalment due? Highly recommended.
The Shadow Girls was first published as Tea-Bag in Swedish in 2001. It has just been released as The Shadow Girls. I was expecting a crime novel. I waThe Shadow Girls was first published as Tea-Bag in Swedish in 2001. It has just been released as The Shadow Girls. I was expecting a crime novel. I was expecting a good read. I didn't get it. The Shadow Girls is a nothing kind of a book. Apart from the three refugees whose story is woven in pieces through the novel, there are no likeable characters. Jesper Humlin, the protagonist, is an unsuccessful poet. He is afraid of his angry girlfriend, his bitter mother, and his strident doctor. He is whiny, evasive, and fearful in his interactions with his manipulative publisher and his competitive friends. His publisher wants him to write a crime novel. He encounters the refugees. Somehow this is supposed to fit together but it doesn't. The novel ends abruptly and I realised I had just wasted my precious time....more
Save me from authors writing out of their comfort zones. Elizabeth George is trying too hard to become a young adult author. The author who won me overSave me from authors writing out of their comfort zones. Elizabeth George is trying too hard to become a young adult author. The author who won me over with her Inspector Lynley series, has suddenly decided to try her hand at a paranormal mystery and romance. Versatile authors like James Patterson have done this successfully. Elizabeth George has not. Her writing is too stylised for young adult fiction. Her painful attention to detail does not work here. The 496-page novel (in hard cover) is far too long. Becca King arrives on Whidbey Island, near Seattle. She is fleeing from her crazy step-father. Becca can ‘hear’ other people’s thoughts and she has heard too many of Jeff Corrie’s. Her mother contacts a friend on the island who will look after Becca. Unfortunately, she learns her ‘Aunt’ Carol has passed away, when she arrives. Alone, she moves into a motel called The Cliff, where she discovers that the island hides many more secrets than she could have imagined. I don’t recommend this book....more
Dennis Lehane could write about a snail race and make it sound thrilling. He doesn’t though. The author of Shutter Island, Mystic River, and A Drink BDennis Lehane could write about a snail race and make it sound thrilling. He doesn’t though. The author of Shutter Island, Mystic River, and A Drink Before the War is back. Joe Coughlin meets icy beauty, Emma Gould, when he is 19. He is a small time gangster and she is Albert White’s mistress. Joe knows he shouldn’t but he falls in love with her. They start an affair. It’s 1926 and prohibition is in full swing. Coughlin hates his father, Thomas, who is the Deputy Superintendent of the Boston Police Department. Everything he does is an act of rebellion. A robbery goes terribly wrong. His friend dies, they say Emma is dead, and policemen have been killed. Joe ends up in prison where he survives when Mafia Boss, Maso Pescatore, makes use of his talents, and his father’s connections. Joe is eventually released, and moves to Florida to set up shop for Maso. He makes a new life, meets the beautiful Graciela, builds a small empire, and ends up in Cuba. The novel is peppered with pain, and bolstered with beauty. It is empty of clichés and full of storytelling. Lehane remains in a class of his own.
‘Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love…’ Karou and Akiva’s love story continues. In the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the battle‘Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love…’ Karou and Akiva’s love story continues. In the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the battle between the Chimaera and the Angels has turned into full scale slaughter. Akiva’s actions have all but destroyed Karou’s world. He is left to wonder where she could be. Karou is lost, alone in the world destroyed by the Angels, until an unlikely ally, Thiago, appears and asks her to help him build an army. She uses her magic, and all the teeth she can steal (don’t ask – read the books), to fashion monstrous bodies for the souls of the Chimaera. I finished reading this book 10 days ago but it’s taken me a while to write the review. Taylor’s writing is beautiful. She has a way with words. Her ideas are startling. Her premise is solid. The problem with her novels is that there are just too many characters. I have forgotten most of their names and I know I won’t remember them when book three arrives. I would have nothing but praise for her books if she simply halved the cast. She would have more control of the plot and readers would not be intimidated by the novels which are both 100 pages too long.
Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and he decided to spend the rest of his life finding the ending to her favourite story. Gorgeous AuguOnce upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and he decided to spend the rest of his life finding the ending to her favourite story. Gorgeous Augustus Waters meets Hazel Grace Lancaster and they fall in love. Gus discovers that Hazel’s favourite book was written with a cliff-hanger ending. He decides to track down the book’s elusive author, Peter Van Houten, to answer Hazel’s questions. Hazel is 17 and has terminal cancer. Gus is 17 and is a cancer survivor – perfect except for his prosthetic leg. Gus decides to use his ‘cancer wish’ to take Hazel to Holland to find Peter. Hazel’s condition worsens but, with the help of their parents, and the ‘genies’ who grant the wishes, they board the plane. This beautiful, aching story is full of humour, despair, and joy. The unflinching pain pounces off the page and breaks your heart. John Green is a master storyteller. I read the book in three hours, and it takes a genius who has worked hard to layer a book with so much and still make it so readable. Reading The Fault in Our Stars is like watching a slow motion car crash. Only, it’s your loved ones in the car, and you can’t and won’t look away. Definitely my favourite book of 2012. ...more
I am a Jon Ronson fan. I am as fascinated by strangeness as he is. In Lost At Sea, Ronson explores the things people are willing to believe. And we areI am a Jon Ronson fan. I am as fascinated by strangeness as he is. In Lost At Sea, Ronson explores the things people are willing to believe. And we are willing to believe a lot. Ronson, like Malcolm Gladwell, has perfected the art of entertaining non-fiction writing. Gladwell is more serious and leaves you with lots of ‘aha’ moments. Ronson, an investigative journalist, is satirical, but non-judgmental, and at times almost childlike in his observations. He finds the oddest, most outrageous true stories and manages to tell them in a compelling way. The book is an easy-to-read collection of stories. From Indigo Children, Interviews with Robots, The Man who tried to Split the Atom in his Kitchen, Phoning a Friend, to Alpha Courses at church, you will be entertained, alarmed, and sometimes rendered speechless. Ronson is a relentless observer of the human condition. I would recommend Lost At Sea for anyone. I loved it....more
Warner Brothers developed the film Gangster Squad based on the research journalist Paul Lieberman conducted for this book. The blurb promises GangsterWarner Brothers developed the film Gangster Squad based on the research journalist Paul Lieberman conducted for this book. The blurb promises Gangster Squad is a tour-de-force narrative reminiscent of LA Confidential. It isn’t. Lieberman writes about the lives of the members of the Gangster Squad – ‘eight men who met covertly on street corners and slept with Tommy guns under their beds’ – while they watch the Mafia. The problem is the policemen concerned aren't that interesting. Decent dedicated law men having dinner do not make a riveting read. He writes about the LA Mafia, but the characters, Mickey Cohen, Jack Dragna, and others, are almost as boring as the men watching them. There is a lack of focus and conflict. Nothing much happens. And then there’s the writing. Clichés and twee phrases abound. What self-respecting crime writer pens phrases like ‘There were no guarantees in police work, or in life ...’ or ‘all those men had marvellous dark hair’? I’m sure the film will be better. ...more
The workers of Hexam Place, an exclusive street of Georgian houses, decide to form The Saint Zita Society. Zita was the patron saint of domestic workeThe workers of Hexam Place, an exclusive street of Georgian houses, decide to form The Saint Zita Society. Zita was the patron saint of domestic workers. Rendell fills the pages with psychologically damaged characters. Upstairs, we have the unhappily married Preston and Lucy Still; The Princess; Dr Jefferson; Lord and Lady Studley; Damian and Roland. Downstairs, we have au pair, Montserrat, nanny, Rabia and cook, Zinnia; housekeeper, June; chauffeur, Beacon, gardener, Dex; chauffeur, Henry; unpaid servant, Thea.
Rad Sothern, television star, and Lucy’s lover, is accidentally killed by her husband. Montserrat persuades him to cover up the crime and the two dispose of the body. Dex, who tried to kill his mother as a child, and who has been rehabilitated, is then instructed to dispose of Montserrat by Peach, the god who lives in his cell phone. Henry, who is shagging both Lady Studley and her daughter, Huguette, appears for some reason or the other. Rabia, who loves the Stills’ children too much, watches as her employers begin divorce proceedings. Thea is about to marry Jimmy, although she doesn’t love him. And so it goes.
Lost yet? I was. Constantly. As much as I love Rendell’s writing, I could not tolerate the extra characters in this book. It is a feat that she manages to weave some of their lives together. The book would have been better with half of them deleted. Rendell writes another urban caper. The problem with this one is the dearth of likeable characters, and lack of cohesive plot.
I have read most of Val McDermid’s novels. I am a fan. Sadly, I am not a fan of her latest book. The Vanishing Point doesn’t know what kind of novel iI have read most of Val McDermid’s novels. I am a fan. Sadly, I am not a fan of her latest book. The Vanishing Point doesn’t know what kind of novel it is. Stephanie Harker’s son, Jimmy is snatched at O’Hare airport. Everything is going according to the blurb on the book. Another McDermid thriller begins. Or so I thought. Then we are thrust into a long-winded narrative of Jimmy’s history. Steph, as she is known, is a ghost-writer. She tells the FBI the story of Jimmy, and his real mother, Scarlett, a reality TV star, and how she became Jimmy’s mother. The way McDermid spins the story is good, but it insulted my intelligence. What mother would calmly narrate the story over an extended period instead of becoming hysterical? What FBI agent would listen to it? I was lulled into the plot by the always excellent writing talents of the author. I thought she must have a reason for telling the story this way. I became acquainted with Joshu, Jimmy’s father; Pete, Steph’s stalker ex-boyfriend; Detective Sergeant Nick Nicolaides, Steph’s new love interest; Maggie, Steph’s agent; and Simon, Leanne and Marina, all part of Scarlett’s entourage. And then I was confronted with a b-grade ‘surprise’ ending. What a waste of good writing.
Lisa Jewell has a gift. She writes beautifully. After her grandmother, Arlette, dies, Betty Dean leaves Guernsey for London to find Clara Pickle, the mLisa Jewell has a gift. She writes beautifully. After her grandmother, Arlette, dies, Betty Dean leaves Guernsey for London to find Clara Pickle, the mysterious beneficiary in Arlette’s will. The novel flips between Arlette’s youth in 1920s bohemian London and Betty Dean’s adventures in Soho in the 1990s. Arlette, a stunning beauty, followed her heart, found a job, found a great love, and lost it all. She returned to Guernsey, settled down, married and never told anyone she had even lived in London. Betty also follows her heart, finds a job, stays in a dingy apartment, and is wooed by the wrong sort of man. She is determined to find Clara, and her grandmother’s story unfolds as she pieces together the clues. Betty, who adored her grandmother, finds out how strong her grandmother was, and how important love is. Effortlessly written, and easy-to-read, Before I met you is a guaranteed good summer read.