Before his rise was even a twinkle in Barak Obama's eye, there was John Edwards. Despite being a multi-millionaire trial lawyer, he campaigned in 2004...moreBefore his rise was even a twinkle in Barak Obama's eye, there was John Edwards. Despite being a multi-millionaire trial lawyer, he campaigned in 2004 and 2008 as a spokesperson for the "common man," trying to speak on their issues. When this was coupled with an eloquant speaking style, he became attractive to a certain part of the Democratic Party in the US.
This book was written by one of his operatives in North Carolina (Edwards's home state). It chart's his rise in politics after his decision to run for the senate in the late 1990s, his politics once in office, and the chaos that surrounded parts of his campaign after his wife discovered that he was having an affair and fathered an illegitimate "love child" (something that Mrs Edwards refuses to believe).
I found the book infuriating. Anyone who knows American politics knows that Edwards could have been a real contender in both 2004 and 2008. Had he used the good sense he was born with, Edwards would probably be Vice-President now. Throughout the book, you're going to think "Hello, wakey wakey you don't think you'll get away with this do you?" I was an active Edwards supporter in 2004 and 2008 (he seemed the only person likely to help the Democrats win in the South), so felt particularly let down by him when his affair became public. Anyone who lived in America during the Bush presidency and who found Edwards even slightly appealing will find the book as infuriating as I did.
That having been said, the book is well written. It rattles along at a fair old rate and is accessible enough for most people to read pretty quickly. You'll probably need an interest in politics to read this book, but if you have that you'll probably enjoy it.(less)
Back in the 1980s, Martin Cruz Smith wrote Gorky Park. The promotional material presented it as a sneak peak at life (and detective fiction) behind th...moreBack in the 1980s, Martin Cruz Smith wrote Gorky Park. The promotional material presented it as a sneak peak at life (and detective fiction) behind the Iron Curtain. As a 13 year old this made an impression on me, even if much of it was bound to be hype now that I look back on it.
This book was presented in much the same way. This time the book looks at the time after Gorbachev when the government starts to sell off state owned industries and attempts to see if it could work by piloting the process with a Vodka factory. American advisers are called in and they walk into a gang war between Chechens and the Russian Mafia as they attempt to control the factory.
I want to say that this was a good book, but it was simply your average rival gangs thriller with people who had Eastern European name.(less)
really don't know what to think of the book. It should probably seem as another object lesson in not reading things out of order or seeing the tv sho...more really don't know what to think of the book. It should probably seem as another object lesson in not reading things out of order or seeing the tv show before you read the book.
In this book, a serial killer decides to kill people in the manner that the apostles who shared their name were killed. As result, a Simon is cut in half, a Peter (I think, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) is crucified upside down and so on. In short then, it's a pretty creepy book and probably not for those among us who get easily upset or have a vivid imagination.
The problem for me was that I read Starling's second book a few years ago and that book pretty much gave the plot of this book away (in general terms). It wasn't helped by the fact that they made the book into a television show in England and with the story like it is here, I wasn't likely to forget what happened in the show (incidentally Ken Stot played the "beer sodden cop" leading the investigation -anyone who knows him knows that he's got that area of the acting market sewn up here).
So all in all, I don't know what to think but part of me was left feeling underwhelmed by the book because its major twists have been given away if you've seen anything related to this book before.(less)
After the success of Henning Maskell in the UK, I think publishers went a bit mad trying to find "the next big thing" to come out of Europe's Arctic n...moreAfter the success of Henning Maskell in the UK, I think publishers went a bit mad trying to find "the next big thing" to come out of Europe's Arctic north. Arnaldur Indridason was, I suspect, a beneficiary of this search for Nordic writers.
"Arctic Chill" is about the stabbing or a bi-racial boy in Iceland (he's part Icelandic, part Thai). The police can't immediately find a motive. Was it racists? Was it drug dealers targeting the estate hr live on? Was it someone who was targeting the murdered boy's brother? The police try to look at all these possibilities before finally working out who the killer is.
The book isn't bad, I certainly learned something about Iceland by reading this book. The problem is that there isn't much description of the inner lives of the detectives. It, like their furniture, is very spare, and likely to leave you cold. Even the lead detective isn't presented in a particularly 3-dimensional way if you ask me.
In addition, the book seemed to suggest (to me at least) that I had nothing to fear from Icelandic coppers. Their whole investigation smacked of chaos and inadequate forward planning. They jumped from one theory to another, without anyone getting the feeling that they knew what they were doing. And that, To be honest, just irritated me.(less)
I really struggled to get into this book. Harrison's lead character (Rachel Morgan) has to deal with a demon called KuSox, who has tampered with the l...moreI really struggled to get into this book. Harrison's lead character (Rachel Morgan) has to deal with a demon called KuSox, who has tampered with the lay lines that connect the Earth with the "Ever After" (where demons live), threatening the existence of the ever after in the process.
This is an okay story, but it took a long time for her to deal with KuSox, and was horribly whiny in the process, which irritated me. Don't get me wrong, she has reason to whine, but given she's been faced with similar problems in the past, I was hoping she'd be over the whiny little girl act by now.(less)
This book is the fourth in the series of (probably) five books about Lyndon Johnson's life (and America in his lifetime). While this was still a very...moreThis book is the fourth in the series of (probably) five books about Lyndon Johnson's life (and America in his lifetime). While this was still a very good book, I'm not sure that this was the greatest book in the series.
My problem with the book focuses on the time covered. It basically covers the time from Johnson's decision to sort of run for the Presidential nomination in 1960 (against JFK) to the time 100 days after Kennedy was shot when Johnson had guided the heart of the Kennedy program through congress.
It isn't a bad book, but my grumble is the length of time he spends on the last 100 days. Approximately 350 or so are spent on those 100 days (which works out at 3.5 a day). The result was, interesting, but a little repetitive.
Let me stress though, the book is still good. If you want to find out how Johnson was treated by the Kennedys, and how he managed to guide Kennedy's program through, this is the book for you.(less)
This is the second book by PD James in her Adam Dalgliesh series. Like the first book in the series, it is your typical "country house" whodunnit, of...moreThis is the second book by PD James in her Adam Dalgliesh series. Like the first book in the series, it is your typical "country house" whodunnit, of the sort that Agatha Christie might write. It wasn't a bad read, if you like that sort of book.
It's set in a small psychiatric unit, where the chief administrative officer has been murdered. Dalgliesh is called in to investigate. It's a short book, but
As I said, it wasn't a bad read, but I found the denouement to be a bit of a let down. In school, you're brought up not to end a story "and I woke up to find it had all been a dream." This book as the same feel about it. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad (and made sense), you'll just be left feeling "What, what, run that the heck by me again."(less)
This wasn't a bad book. It's the third in the Adam Dalgliesh series, and was another typical Agatha Christie style "country house" thriller, and sees...moreThis wasn't a bad book. It's the third in the Adam Dalgliesh series, and was another typical Agatha Christie style "country house" thriller, and sees a mystery writer disappear, only to turn up dead later, in a similar way to the plot of one of his thrillers.
It's not a bad book, but I will say that initially Dalgliesh doesn't seem to be best detective in the world. Secondly,the early books in the series seem a little too "country house" for my liking. Others might feel the same way.(less)