This is painting by numbers, Michael Connelly has taken what was once an amazing and compelling character and in the last few books churned out the flThis is painting by numbers, Michael Connelly has taken what was once an amazing and compelling character and in the last few books churned out the flattest most plodding drudgery I have ever had the misfortune to read. I stuck with it because it's Bosch and well I feel a loyalty to him but to be honest the book was only marginally less of a waste of time than The Drop, hence the 2 stars. It seems that since his heyday of the 90's and early 2000's Mr Connelly has tired of the character and taken him as far as he can. My assumption being that pushy publishers are forcing him to revive a character he would rather let die because of the mighty dollar. At least I hope that's the case because otherwise a once great crime writer has now be lost, I never thought I would say it but I'm done with Harry Bosch....more
Having heard about this book and wanting to consume a good old fashioned ghost story I dived into it expecting an atmospheric haunted house story. AltHaving heard about this book and wanting to consume a good old fashioned ghost story I dived into it expecting an atmospheric haunted house story. Although it did give me what I was craving at times I just felt on the whole it all fell a bit flat for me and wasn't anywhere near as good as I had been lead to believe. Shame....more
I'm not a snob and don't consider myself to be above any book or author, unfortunately after reading 3 Harlan Coben books (this being the third) I havI'm not a snob and don't consider myself to be above any book or author, unfortunately after reading 3 Harlan Coben books (this being the third) I have come to realise Harlan truely is a 1 trick pony. The problem with that trick is that he has forgotten how it goes, he's not quite sure how he executed it so well the first time and so just attempts an approximation of it. That approach has resulted in a badly paced plodding "thriller" that is anything but thrilling. Contrived characters and scenarios that lead to obvious twists and a fizzle rather than a bang of an ending. it reminds me of the once great sportsman who comes out of retirement for a final shot at glory, it's all a little sad and depressing, sorry but I think Harlan and I will be parting ways....more
I really enjoyed this book, a very atmospheric and well paced crime thriller. It really brought to life the paranoia and persecution in the final daysI really enjoyed this book, a very atmospheric and well paced crime thriller. It really brought to life the paranoia and persecution in the final days of Stalin's Russia....more
I have read every book Michael Connelly has written, at least I thought I had. That was until I read the synopsis for The Concrete Blonde, I knew of tI have read every book Michael Connelly has written, at least I thought I had. That was until I read the synopsis for The Concrete Blonde, I knew of the book, even thought I had read it but the blurb just didnt click. It rang no bells in my head, nothing. The excitement was overwhelming, could it really be? A Bosch book I havent read? Not only that but classic early 90's Bosch. Well it was, and man was I happy, but sadly it revealed some unpalatable but starkly outlined truths to me. Since having recently read The Drop and now comparing this early work to it I realise that Bosch has mellowed in his old age. He is a man out of time in 2011/2012, he doesnt break the rules like he used to. He doesnt smoke, he doesnt drive after having one too many drinks, he doesnt give a dirtbag a slap if he needs to anymore. Ok for the real world thats great but for the LAPD? Reading The Concrete Blonde has made me realise this and I miss the old Bosch. Even though this is heavily courtroom based, not my favourite style of Connelly's work, Bosch still kicks ass. I have suspected it for a while but as Michael Connelly has got older, living for so long in Florida and away from the dirt and traffic and smog of LA he himself has mellowed and he has taken Bosch with him. The stories from the old days are better thought out, more expertly and tightly woven and suspenseful, at points I could feel my heart rate increasing. They actually kept you guessing right to the end. All intermingled with Bosch butting heads with whoever got in his way. You know what? Even the titles of the books used to be cleverer. Compare The Drop (a simple reference to Deferred Retirement Option Plan) to The Concrete Blonde (a reference to both lady justice statue on the courthouse and the body of a blonde entombed in concrete). Mr Connelly please move back to LA, to the filth and the smog, to the traffic and the scumbags of Hollywood, but most of all back to Bosch, let his last days before retirement be glory days, Harry Bosch deserves to go out on a high....more
I used to love reading Christopher Fowler's stand alone books years ago and the characters Bryant and May would occasionally pop up in them, so afterI used to love reading Christopher Fowler's stand alone books years ago and the characters Bryant and May would occasionally pop up in them, so after many years I have once again started reading Christopher Fowler. Only this time his more recent series exclusively starring the detectives. I have to say I did enjoy this book but it did very much feel like a scene setter. The story was split between the present day and their first ever case during the blitz. Essentially splitting the book between 2 stories made it feel sonewhat lacking to me, for the majority of the book it was set during the war when Bryant and May were in their 20's yet they still came across as old. This is partly their character but I couldnt shake the feeling that I would get into the second book a lot more. I wasnt disappointed by any stretch but somehow Full Dark House didnt do justice to my fond memories of these two ageing detectives. I'm moving on to the Water Room now and I hope to enjoy this one like I did Rune when I first came across the decrepit duo....more
I'm sorry to say but this was a long and pretty boring book from the undisputed champion of the 'long' novel.
The concept as I'm sure even the most cuI'm sorry to say but this was a long and pretty boring book from the undisputed champion of the 'long' novel.
The concept as I'm sure even the most cursory glance at the cover will reveal was the ability to go back in time to stop JFK's assassination. Okay that has established that the premise is ludicrous but that's okay, It's Stephen King, so you suspend disbelief. Let's accept that Jake Epping is persuaded by a guy he buys burgers from to go through a time warp in his store room and save JFK. Okay so you're all on-board with that. We should be in for a fun time travelling ride right?
Wrong, aside from a little action in the beginning where he dabbles with saving the futures of 'ordinary' folk, what we are served up here is page after page of the dull life of Jake/George as he lives for 5 years in the past. My god I felt I lived through every one of those boring years. It was occasionally more interesting at some points than others. When Lee H. Oswald was actually in the story it held a flicker of interest, but still not much.
What made me cringe to the very core of my being however was what was actually the main focus of the story. That being the sickening love story between Jake/George and Sadie, you can call me a cynic if you want but it was so corny, even by 1960's standards the whole thing came across as so very twee and most of all very boring, very very boring.
Even taking into account the scope of this novel and the time period it covered in actual fact it only really had enough meat in it to be a short story, or a novella at best. For it to be drawn out into a novel this length made it painful, oh and did I mention boring. I feel like I deserve some kind of reward for sticking it out to the end. ...more
Okay let me begin by saying I read a lot and have read many works of classic literature and this most definitely does not fall into that category.
I uOkay let me begin by saying I read a lot and have read many works of classic literature and this most definitely does not fall into that category.
I understand where people are coming from to a certain extent when they criticise the way this book is written. In certain parts I would agree with the criticism but then Gregory David Roberts isn't an author in any conventional sense and had already written this 900+ page monster once only to have his manuscript destroyed. So yeah okay the sex scenes are a little corny and occasionally he does come across as holier than thou, but my God has he got a story to tell.
It seems that it is almost fashionable to knock this book because it has been so popular but that is a very small minded attitude. Okay if you really didn't like it but don't slate him because of his style of writing and occasional tendency to slip into somewhat cheesy Hallmark card sentimentality. The guy didn't do a masters in English literature, he was a drug addict convict, but his story is incredible and I for one am glad he put it on paper, even if at times it can come across a little corny.
I had never had any strong desire to go to India before reading this book but have since been twice whilst also consuming as much literature from Indian authors as I can find and I know I'm not the only one.
He has lived 100 lifetimes in his one turn in this mortal coil and has experienced things that you and I will never know. Forget this is an autobiography, first and foremost it is a story of the most fanstastical adventure you could ever imagine.
If everything in this book is true (and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on that one) then it's amazing. If, as a lot of people have claimed, it is fake then I wholeheartedly agree that it is a shameless way to make a buck.
Come on though all you cynical nay sayers lets give this ex convict, ex heroin addict, ex gangster, ex Mujahideen fighter the benefit of the doubt............can't we?
I really enjoyed this book it really was a page turner and I couldn’t leave it alone and kept returning to it at every opportunity to continue readingI really enjoyed this book it really was a page turner and I couldn’t leave it alone and kept returning to it at every opportunity to continue reading. It is the story of Aqa Jaan and his extended family who are the custodians of The House of the Mosque in Senejan, Iran. It spans from the late 60’s until the early 90’s encompassing the revolution, the Iran – Iraq war and the immediate aftermath of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini. Anyway that’s enough for the blurb.
It is written in very sparse but beautiful prose, the story flows beautifully and the day to day events of the Mosque are fascinating and give a real insight into life under the Shah in pre revolution Iran from the perspective of an ordinary family. The story meanders along recounting the intimate comings and goings of family life in The House of the Mosque.
The book then moves forward towards the period of the Islamic Revolution and the scope of the novel becomes much broader and begins to incorporate real events and people from this period. It highlights the atrocities that took place and aims to give a solid account of the events that took place at that time. The trouble is it then loses some of the intimacy displayed in the first half of the book when the story was centred solely on The House of the Mosque. The story keeps dipping in and out of life in Senejan to give the tale a little cohesion but I thought that the author tried a little too hard to tie real events into fictional ones.
Having said that the book was still very readable and I did enjoy reading about a society that is very different from my own. Kader Abdolah really writes very well and even though I was reading about a place and a time far removed from my own it never felt alien to me. The only other gripe I had was the distinct lack of character development, the only person who I really felt I got to know at all was Aqa Jaan himself, other characters were little more than names and I had no feelings concerning them whatsoever. This comes back to the scope of the novel which had it been a little smaller and the book a little longer would’ve allowed for us to get to know a few of the core characters a little better. Still its an excellent and very interesting read. ...more
In a word awful. I only managed to get around 20% through this book which is pretty poor. It was incredibly annoying to read. Thomas Hoover I can onlyIn a word awful. I only managed to get around 20% through this book which is pretty poor. It was incredibly annoying to read. Thomas Hoover I can only assume is a man yet he has chosen to write a female character for his lead and do it in the first person. excellent if you can get into the psyche of the character and make the reader believe she is a real person. Unfortunately 'she' just comes across as a man writing a female character by the numbers, not only that but the way she speaks and thinks is like a 1940's film noir private detective. I couldn't stand it.
Now this next part may be considered a spoiler but as I have only read 20% of the book I don't think it really is.
The lead is written as incredibly stupid she constantly poses the most obvious questions to herself yet doesn't know the answers.
Q. "How could they get a perfect caucasian child for adoption in only a matter of months?"
Okay long shot this one but A. Clone.
Q. "How can two different women have children that look related but are only six months apart in age?"
Okay not so much a long shot anymore. A. Clone! Clone! Clone!
Nope our heroine hasn't got a clue the world she inhabits has clearly sheltered her from such things.
I'm not saying that this is the big reveal of the story as I couldn't stand to read anymore but surely any reasonable person would think hang on..... could these identical looking children adopted by two different women, who look the same but are six months apart in age making it impossible for them to be siblings possibly have been cloned? Apparently not....more
This was an interesting if not entirely fulfilling read, I know the clue is in the title but this really is only a theory. The author was raised in aThis was an interesting if not entirely fulfilling read, I know the clue is in the title but this really is only a theory. The author was raised in a strict catholic family and even spent a year in the seminary before moving on to study astronomy and astrophysics. In this book he attempts to rectify the pull of his belief in a higher power and an intelligent designer of the universe with the mainstream view of the physics community that all life in the universe is a quirk of fate.
The book is intriguing and the purely physics based chapters were interesting if nothing new. The part that I found most interesting was not in fact a discovery made by Haisch himself but by a Spanish Physicist named Rueda who managed to derive Newton’s second law of motion. F=MA (Force = Mass x Acceleration). As stated in the book this may seem trivial to a layman but is not supposed to be possible and has all sorts of knock on effects to do with the manipulation of mass and even gravity. Also even though I have read about it previously the chapter setting the scene for this discovery ‘The Zero-Point Field’ was also very interesting.
The problem I had with this book is the leaps of faith (excuse the pun) we are constantly expected to take in regard to Haisch’s quoting of spiritual texts that back his theories. To say I had a problem is not strictly true because the points made do indeed make you think and at no point does Haisch claim them to be proof of the existence of God, but what they effectively amount to is purely conjecture and as open to interpretation as the religious texts themselves.
The science of mainstream physics is neither discredited nor proven but simply offered up in a different light that doesn’t jar so much with the spirituality of religion. It is a commendable effort from Haisch but will in no way dissuade either side of their firmly held belief in a designed or random universe. To me all this book will succeed in doing is confirming the strongly held beliefs of each side which will just give slightly more ammunition to argue with for.
Unfortunately you aren’t going to walk away from this book with an equation that proves the existence of God. It is still very much maybe….but then again maybe not. ...more
Firstly I think I should say that I would urge that you listen to the audio version as it is narrated by the author and has interviews with his closeFirstly I think I should say that I would urge that you listen to the audio version as it is narrated by the author and has interviews with his close friends or ‘The Black Panel’ on what it is to be black. I found myself smiling and chuckling a lot, I found it poignant at times and eye opening but I have to say I didn’t find it as laugh out loud funny as most people did and I think that is down to me being English. I think a lot of the racial stereotypes and themes that were played on we just don’t have over here, like the black people like watermelon thing? I can honestly say I’d never heard that one, doesn’t everybody like watermelon? It’s really nice, in fact I love all kinds of melon, Piel de Sapo, Cantaloupe, Galia! But I digress.
I would love to be able to say that we don’t have racism in the UK but of course we do. However I don’t think it is the same as in the US where it is almost woven into the fabric of society and will take a mammoth effort to genuinely overcome. Towards the end of the book one of the female members of the black panel (I think it was Jacquetta Szathmari) summed it up quite nicely I think by saying if she was rich she would like to send every black child to another country for a year so they know what it feels like to be black outside of America. I really do think it is different over here and that you are defined by many things other than your race, at least coming from London it feels that way.
No two people whether they are both black, both white, whatever, are the same. Everybody is different but that brings different things to the game, what a boring world this would be if we all stuck to one unshakeable path for our entire lives. My advice to anyone with a tendency to stereotype others, or anyone who has uttered the phrase ‘I’m not racist but...’ get out of your bubble and travel, go to India, go to Africa go and see the world it might open your eyes a bit, but first read ‘How to be Black’ because it’s a great place to start. ...more
After a few faltering attempts in the past I have once again decided to make a foray into the world of the audio book. Generally I find I cannot get iAfter a few faltering attempts in the past I have once again decided to make a foray into the world of the audio book. Generally I find I cannot get into them as some aspect of the readers voice or attempts at characterisation grates on me and I end up having to either give up on the story altogether or simply read it instead.
Just lately I had come to the decision I would once again try filling my drive to work with audio books instead of the bland drone of the pop charts that are endlessly churned out on the radio, I recently given a waterproof mp3 player for swimming and thought I would try a book in the pool as well. Holding no great hopes out for being able to put up with prolonged listening I began with The House of Silk, being hyped (some would say over hyped) as the first officially sanctioned Sherlock Holmes story ever to be approved by the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle. Yeah ok, whatever, I’m not sure what kind of an accolade that was but I was intrigued so I suppose the sales pitch had the desired effect. The revelation for me came with Derek Jacobi who reads the story, his array of voices is simply incredible, even to the point of being able to take on the voice of an American woman and not have me wince, which is usually the case when a male narrator tries to voice a female character. But above everything his Dr. Watson could not be better, I defy anybody to conjure up the character of Watson as incredibly perfectly as Jacobi does, it really made the audio version of the book come alive.
Now onto the story itself, by no means am I a Sherlock Holmes aficionado as some of the other reviewers on here clearly are. I have read several stories and used to love the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce versions on film made in 40’s. I will probably make Holmes addicts weep when I say I also absolutely loved the new versions with Robert Downey Jr. So I am not going to pick over the nuances of the speech or endlessly debate whether certain phases would’ve been used in Victorian London, I am just going to review the book for what it is, an absolutely brilliant and engaging old school mystery. I loved every second of the ten hours plus I listened to it and have to say at no point did any of the language used or the style of writing feel anything other than authentically Victorian.
I would have to agree with one review I read that Watson does get very moral about the plight of the street urchins and although this is an honourable stance to take it doesn’t come across completely accurate, even a novice like myself realised that it would have been more usual for Watson to be slightly more flippant towards the plight of the grubby little children who Holmes loved to use for his errands. I concede that he is indeed narrating this tale in his twilight years during the 1914–18 war and the case to which he refers is shocking to say the least, but none the less it still didn’t feel 100% accurate but I feel was necessary to include.
This apart though I think the book is as close to perfect as is possible and not have been written by Doyle himself paradoxically however it is a story that could never have been written by Doyle because of the sensibilities of the time. It’s difficult to know what to say about the story because there is no way I can reveal very much without ruining it. All I would say is in styling and pace it is a worthy addition to the chronicle of Holmes’ adventures and if you are a fan of those then you will undoubtedly enjoy this one. Give it a try and I would advise you to listen to the Derek Jacobi narrated version as it is escapism in its purest form, he is brilliant as the voice of Watson. ...more