Sunday, 25 June 2017

Sam Kates

And now for something completely different, as the man said!


That Elusive Something

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Quirke (just call me Quirke) is aware that his relationship is in trouble and before long, things at work go pear-shaped too. His mate Dave is also living an unsatisfying life. After Quirke’s last session with Seff, a compelling, slightly mystical character, he decides to go off and find the community he speaks of. Dave, in it for a walking holiday, accompanies him.


I believe this book was begun seventeen years ago. I can only say it was worth the wait. I enjoy the author’s writing style, always easy without being simple. There’s a lot about human nature here, too. An idyllic life can be endangered not by the environment or outside forces, but from within, by our own flawed natures. I became very engrossed in the story and read it in two days. If I’d not had meals to eat, or a bed to call me, I’d have read it in a single session! Highly recommended if you want something out of the ordinary.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Stuart Warner

A new author (to me) with a lovely style!


The Sound of Everything

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Jack has returned to the small town of his birth to take over the family accountancy firm. He discovers that a local man lodged a box with his late father twenty years ago. He and the family concerned assume it to contain something valuable. In between other work, Jack is trying to find it. Though unsure of his aims in life, he meets people from his father’s past and begins to build up a picture.


This is a gentle amble through small-town life with a deeper look at the spiritual side of our nature, though it in no way touches on formal religion. It explores why we’re here and whether out lives had a purpose. I found it a very easy book to read and devoured it in two days. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Jeff Vandermeer

A new author for me and a great imaginer of future worlds. If you love dystopian fiction, go for this one.


Borne

Amazon.com link

My review - 

This story takes place in an almost derelict city in the future. The Company, through experimentation and biotechnology, has produced monstrosities, including a huge bear which terrorises those still eking an existence there. Rachel, a scavenger, finds a plant-like creature in the bear’s fur and brings it home. She calls it Borne and as it grows and exhibits intelligence, she realises she loves it/him like a child of her own. Other powers are at work in the city but the existence of Borne changes the balance.

I found this book thoroughly gripping from the very first. It reminded me of science fiction stories of my younger days which were able to take me out of my own world and into one completely different, and usually far more horrific. The style was thoughtful, occasionally lyrical and always totally entertaining. Heartily recommended.


Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a review copy of this book

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Tom Trott

A new author to me but I enjoyed his style.


You Can't Make Old Friends

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Joe is a private detective, currently out of favour with the police. He’s now getting so little work that he can’t pay his rent and an old client is suing him. Then his old schoolfriend’s body is found washed up on Brighton beach, badly disfigured. Joe recognises him.


There are several strands going on here, with drug dealers, Joe’s old (only) friend and his family and a downright difficult female DCI, newly arrived from London. As one of the characters said to Joe, ‘You’re a good man, but not a nice one’. I really enjoyed this story which had an edginess which gave it flavour. I particularly liked some of the expressions used in the writing – cliché is isn’t. A great read.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Carol Wyer

The second in thje DI Robyn Carter stories and I think the author is really getting into her stride.


Secrets of the Dead

Amazon.com link

My review -

DI Robyn Carter and her team are investigating murders which may or may not be related. Their local newshound has decided that they are and reports on a serial killer, which makes the police’s work more difficult. The murders are occurring over a very short time and Robyn has to work out exactly who is in danger, before more lives are lost.


The case is difficult because Robyn is dealing with a damaged individual seeking revenge and his mind doesn’t work like a normal person’s. She has to second guess him and the resulting search and chase becomes very exciting. The story alternates between the police work and shorter sections from the point of view of the killer. I really enjoyed this story with its side plots which added greater depth to the main tale.

Jonathan Hill

This follow up to A Christmas Outing will please a lot of readers - me included!




This Crazy Thing I Call My Life

Amazon.com link

My review - 

Coming out to his parents was only the first hurdle for student David. He and Jamie decide to get both sets of parents together so they can get to know one another. It sounds nice. It wasn’t! You know the way you can say what you like about your own family but woe unto the one who criticises them in your hearing? That!


Jonathan Hill picks up on our tendency to fly to the family’s defence, even when we know the criticism to be true. The boys have their first row while defending the very attitudes they have complained about in the past. And that’s not even the worst that can happen. This is another very funny and well-observed slice of life from an author with a strong sense of the absurd.


Steve Roach

A short which will make you think, and maybe worry a little.


All that Will Be Lost

Amazon.com link

My review - 

This is a short story with a very thought-provoking message. Michael, aware that the war in the east is encroaching upon his life and his country, has bought a house and created an enlarged basement where he holds a party for friends and colleagues in the magazine he publishes. The war grows ever closer, while Michael and his friends attempt to save what will be lost if the fighters prevail.


Steve Roach has taken the premise that the desire to kill, to wipe out other ideologies, is a disease. It has resulted in a darkly futuristic tale and sadly, feels all too plausible. Let’s hope the spark of humanity is too strong to be quenched. A really good, short read.