I picked this up from the library as I enjoy the TV series staring Martin Shaw so much. I hadn't appreciated how much had been changed from the book wI picked this up from the library as I enjoy the TV series staring Martin Shaw so much. I hadn't appreciated how much had been changed from the book when making the TV series. One of the main differences is the setting, the TV series is set in Northumberland and the books are set in Norfolk, two very different parts of England and it took a while for me to be able to adjust to the original setting. Also George is still based at Scotland Yard rather than having moved permanently to a new police force. The story is set in the early '60s and focuses on a group of youngsters who are into racing motorbikes and listening to jazz records. A bike crashes leaving its rider dead and its pillion passenger seriously injured. Was it an accident or were they deliberately run of the road. The language used is interesting and redolent of the times. The twists and turns of the plot are interesting enough to keep me engaged but I didn't get any sense of who George Gently actually is, he remained a blank canvas the whole way through the book. This might be because this is not the first book in the series and readers who had followed George Gently from the beginning might already know him well enough to not need a great deal of detail about him but for me this was a disappointing book. ...more
This latest book by Robert Crais features Joe Pike rather than Elvis Cole. Elvis does make an appearance but he is not the centre of the story. An oldThis latest book by Robert Crais features Joe Pike rather than Elvis Cole. Elvis does make an appearance but he is not the centre of the story. An old friend of Joe's, a friend from the days when Joe was a professional mercenary, has been murdered. Joe is loyal to these friends from the old days and decided to avenge the death of his friend.
In all the stories where Joe appears he comes across as cool and unemotional. That is one of his strengths but it is also a weakness in this story. Although I can believe that Joe cares deeply about the fate of friends and former colleagues I can't feel it. The book is very dry and didn't engage me on anything but a superficial level. I liked the twists and turns of the plot but I found this easy to pick up and put down, leave for a couple of days, read and chapter one day leave it for a while before continuing. It wasn't gripping or compelling but it was an enjoyable, easy read....more
Set during the period of The Cousins' War (later known as the Wars of the Roses) this series looks at the events that shaped England through the eyesSet during the period of The Cousins' War (later known as the Wars of the Roses) this series looks at the events that shaped England through the eyes of the women of the court. This time the focus is on Anne Neville, the younger daughter of the Earl of Warwick. She is used as a pawn in a political game at a time when no King of England could feel safe on his throne. Married and widowed by age 14, held hostage by her sister and brother-in-law. Secretly marrying the brother of the King. The plot twists and turns like any good thriller but the central points of the story are based in fact. This is someone who lived and loved, who fell as low as being a penniless prisoner and rose to be the Queen of England but found the price was more than she could bear.
Although this is not Philippa Gregory at her absolute best it is still a riveting page turner that illuminates a period of history that has long been glossed over.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend the whole series ...more
An old lady dies and the contents of her will leave the vast majority of her fortune to her son, but he has been missing since the end of WWII and eveAn old lady dies and the contents of her will leave the vast majority of her fortune to her son, but he has been missing since the end of WWII and everybody else thinks he is dead. During the funeral a stranger turns up claiming to be the long lost son. A few days later this stranger is found dead. Was he the missing heir or was he an imposter? Along side this main story are several minor ones that interweave and support the plot. There is a young boy searching for his father, and a policeman searching his soul for the truth about how to live his life.
Dalziel, as always, is in the thick of things. Like a spider he is aware of every vibration on his web and makes sure that any unlucky fly meets its deserved fate. Although this is the 9th book in the series it still feels like an early novel and the characters are still being developed and fleshed out. Having read the books in this series completely out of sequence it's good to note just how well they stand up as individual stories, not necessarily relying on knowledge of previous stories in order to be understood.
Reading the book 25 years after it was first published emphasises just how much the world has changed. This story line simply wouldn't work these days. Somebody missing for 40+ years turns up to claim an inheritance the first thing demanded of the person would be a DNA test to prove identity. No messing about with birthmarks or identifying features but straight to science to confirm or deny the claim. Also the absence of the ubiquitous mobile phone dates this story so completely it could not work in any other era....more
England is at war, inflation is rampant, people are discontent with the state of the country. Sound familiar? Well it's not 21st century England it isEngland is at war, inflation is rampant, people are discontent with the state of the country. Sound familiar? Well it's not 21st century England it is 16th century England. The reign of Henry VIII. The research that has gone into making this story feel realistic is incredible but it never overwhelms the action. I always learn something new about the Tudor period when reading this series but never feel I have been lectured.
Matthew Shardlake is a lawyer, and he has been asked to investigate the circumstances around the wardship of Hugh Curteys, left orphaned as a child. A second story weaves in and around this main one. Matthew is friendly with an inmate of Bedlam and he wants to find out more about the background of his friend and the circumstances that brought her to such a place. The two stories connect but don't have any overwhelming effect on each other.
I only half guessed the mystery surrounding Hugh and was not surprised when Matthew's meddling into the affairs of his friend lost him that friendship.
The story of the sinking of the Mary Rose is one that most people think they know something about but actually find the truth to be very different. I was fascinated with the descriptions of the ships and even knowing about the disaster waiting to happen didn't stop the enjoyment of reading all the details.
There is a lot going on in this story and it repays close reading with full attention. I throughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it....more
Every time I start reading one of the books in this series I think. " not as good as the last one" and then, before I know it I am completely caught uEvery time I start reading one of the books in this series I think. " not as good as the last one" and then, before I know it I am completely caught up in the story staying up late to read just a few more pages and throughly enjoying myself. I like the way Marcus has developed over the years. In the first book he was single, down on his luck and not sure what the future held for him. Now he is a family man, married to the love of his life with two daughters and is the head of the family firm of "informers".
This story gives a lot of information about how the legal system of Ancient Rome worked which means there is more talk and less action in this book than usual but that is not a bad thing. Lindsay Davies employs a few narrative tricks to make sure the reader gets the important information in digestible, bite sized chunks. The dry wit that runs through the whole series is still there and Marcus has a way of looking at things that somehow manages to feel contemporary and modern at the same time.
If you haven't read any of the Falco stories previously I wouldn't recommend you start with this one, treat yourself and go back to the beginning and work your way through the series. If you are familiar with Marcus, Helena, their extended family and friends then this book will be a rare treat and I'm sure you will enjoy it. ...more
A boy is comatose in hospital after apparently witnessing the brutal murder of his mother and sister. His father has also been killed. The only otherA boy is comatose in hospital after apparently witnessing the brutal murder of his mother and sister. His father has also been killed. The only other surviving member of his family is an older sister but nobody can find her in order to make sure she is safe. It is suggested to Detective Inspector Linna that one of the specialist at the hospital might be able to help the boy remember what has happened through hypnotisim and provide clues that would help find the girl.
This is the hook the rest of the story relies on, by practicing hypnotism after having vowed never to do so again Erik Bark brings down the fury of a vengeful former patient upon himself and his family.
I kept waiting for the two strands of the story to intertwine but they never did. This led me to question why such a gruesome lead in story was necessary. It added nothing to the kidnap story that seems to be the heart of the book. It is forgotten about for the longest time and when reintroduced adds nothing to the story but just steps up the level of violence. I kept wondering if I had missed the point completely or if the translation didn't contain the nuances that might have been in the original. In the end I came to the conclusion that the violence was there simply to appeal to those who like blood and gore with no thought about how it actually might carry the story forward and that the translator had done their best with a poorly written original. Perhaps Scandi- crime has peaked and it's time to look for something new. ...more
Ok. I know that if I pick up a Dean Koontz book to read I'm going to be reading to a formula. I guess when you write as many books as he does it's almOk. I know that if I pick up a Dean Koontz book to read I'm going to be reading to a formula. I guess when you write as many books as he does it's almost impossible not to do so. In this story we have the beautiful and talented wife who has rescued her husband from his traumatic past and taught him to love and trust again. The handsome husband who experienced terrible events in his childhood but has come through it and is now the knight in shining armour for those whose lives are touched by darkness (otherwise known as a policeman). Three beautiful and talented children who are good and clever and sensitive, who never misbehave and always listen to their parents. Add to this one very ugly, very bad man who was responsible for the terrible trauma suffered by the husband and now wants to finish the job by killing all the family. Oh and there is the ghost of a golden retriever thrown into the mix for no particular reason. The message of the book seems to be beauty = good and ugly = evil. How you look on the outside is a reflection of who you are as a person. It also seems to say that if you believe in God and are a Good Christian then you will be saved from the worst things in life. I guess none of the other characters in the story who suffered horribly had a deep or true enough faith and therefore deserved their fate!
The story moves along at a fast enough pace to keep you turning the pages and doesn't take that long to finish. This is a good thing as if I had stopped to ponder along the way I probably wouldn't have found the will to finish the book. I had read the short story prequel to this novel when it was first released and found it enjoyable and entertaining which was the main reason for picking up this book from the library. It was a total disappointment and the library can have it back with pleasure. ...more
I've been reading Robert Crais novels for years and always enjoyed them but occasionally they can seem a bit formulaic. Then along comes something likI've been reading Robert Crais novels for years and always enjoyed them but occasionally they can seem a bit formulaic. Then along comes something like Taken which makes everything fresh and exciting all over again. The story isn't presented in chronological order, the section headings make it absolutely clear where in the timeline you are at any particular point but if you don't pay attention you are going to be confused by the back and forth of the story and by who is telling the story. It is set at a fast pace and there is a temptation to rocket through the story but it needs to be resisted in order to keep the story line straight.
I found the storyline horrifying. People smugglers have always struck me as amongst the lowest of the low and the idea that there are gangs who kidnap these groups of smuggled people, with every intention of killing them at the end of their usefulness, and then try to obtain money from distraught relatives who have next to nothing themselves. It makes my skin crawl just to think about it.
On a brighter note it is set in one of my favourite places, ok not a part of the Palm Desert/Palm Springs area I would want to vacation in but places I've visited and know seemed to ring true.
Now that Joe Pike is becoming more of a character in his own right and less of a side kick are we ever going to be given more of an insight into the relationship between Elvis and Joe? This book especially seems to hint at more than a just good buddy relationship...more
Every so often I'll pick up book in the library completely at random. Sometimes I discover jewels but sometimes I find real duds. Unfortunately, for mEvery so often I'll pick up book in the library completely at random. Sometimes I discover jewels but sometimes I find real duds. Unfortunately, for me, this fell into the second category.
Set in the part of the world where I live I expected to find the landscape of the novel somewhat familiar but so often felt like shouting out loud "that's wrong". I didn't recognise the village, the villagers, or the portrayal of village life. I don't know of a Spar shop in the country that doesn't have a till that can read barcodes. A tiny point I know but it really irritated me. Also most small villages don't have a school anymore and most community police officers are based at stations in the nearest town. I don't think I have come across one with the autonomy of Jonas Holly.
I guessed who the killer was very early on while reading this and none of the attempts to throw me off the scent had the desired effect. Not the most enjoyable read of the year and despite a lot of praise in the media for the follow up to this book I doubt I shall bother with it....more
This is a classic locked room mystery except the locked room is a hotel in the Norwegian mountains cut off from the rest of the world by both a trainThis is a classic locked room mystery except the locked room is a hotel in the Norwegian mountains cut off from the rest of the world by both a train accident and the worst storm in living memory. Within the first 24 hours one of the passengers from the wrecked train is dead. Another dies soon after. The puzzle is not only to work out who the killer is but why kill these particular people.
I loved the descriptions of the various characters. It's easy to imagine that on any intercity train there would be representatives of most races, religions and class. People who could happily ignore each other for the duration of a train journey suddenly have to make an effort to get along with each other in less than ideal circumstances. I loved the way some people were depicted as growing in strength and character during the storm, emerging as natural leaders while others fell apart.
A page turner of a book that left me wanting to go read more about Hanne Wilhelmsen...more
After the defection of his wife Bernard Sampson is left to prove that he is a loyal, company man. The way he is supposed to do this is by persuading aAfter the defection of his wife Bernard Sampson is left to prove that he is a loyal, company man. The way he is supposed to do this is by persuading a senior KGB agent to defect. The agent is spotted in Mexico City and Bernard plus colleague is sent out there to start the process of enrolment Although Bernard grew up in Berlin and lives in London he is not particularly cosmopolitan. Len Deighton does an excellent job of having him reflect the typical English bloke of the time who doesn't like travel, foreigners or foreign food very much. He also does an excellent job of describing office politics and all the jockeying for position that goes on. Bernard clearly does not like many of his colleagues who have spent their working lives behind desk rather than in the field. I can sympathise, I recognise many of the characters from my working life and appreciate just how deadly a game it can be.
This is the middle book in a trilogy and very much feels like it. Well worth the read but best read in the correct order...more
Having recently come bcd to Sherlock Holmes after an absence of far too many years I was intrigued by the idea of reading a Holmes story not written bHaving recently come bcd to Sherlock Holmes after an absence of far too many years I was intrigued by the idea of reading a Holmes story not written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It's not long since I read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and so the style of the stories and the voices of Holmes and Watson were still fresh in my memory. I found Anthony Horowitz had captured the style and the characterisations perfectly. There was no jarring note, it felt right. The story has two main strands, one I did think quite obvious the other conclusion to the other came as a surprise. Both had the necessary twists and turns built into the narrative and both were obvious once explained. I found this to be throughly enjoyable and would highly recommend it....more
Normally I wouldn't consider reading a sequel immediately after finishing the previous novel in a series. Usually I need time to digest a story, ruminNormally I wouldn't consider reading a sequel immediately after finishing the previous novel in a series. Usually I need time to digest a story, ruminate on it, savour it for a while, take a break with something completely different and then return for a second helping. Didn't happen this time. I started reading Clash of Kings the day after finishing A Game of Thrones, another week of my life lost to this amazing world. I needed to know what was happening to my favourites, kept reading until I fell asleep over the book. I knew this was the middle book of a trilogy and therefore wasn't expecting too much of it. The filler between the exciting start and hopefully a cliffhanger end. I found each character had their story carried forward realistically, everybody grew a bit, developed a bit, showed complexness in their character. Even characters that are not my favourites caught my interest with the development of their story. It won't be long before I indulge in further instalments of this epic fantasy. ...more
Enjoyed watching Will cope with his dyslexia and the lengths he would go to in order to hide his problem. Faith seems to be an interesting character,Enjoyed watching Will cope with his dyslexia and the lengths he would go to in order to hide his problem. Faith seems to be an interesting character, it might be interesting to see how she develops in subsequent stories. The idea of killing someone and then finding out that what seemed obvious was completely and utterly wrong is scary. Living with the consequences would be terrible. I wouldn't count this as one of the best books I've read this year but the ideas within it are thought provoking and stayed with me much longer than the characters or the story itself....more