Archive for the Netgalley Category

Bryant and May – The Wild Chamber by Christopher Fowler

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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The latest instalment of the series featuring the elderly detectives Bryant and May and their colleagues in the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU). The wild chambers in the title refers to the various parks in London, which feature heavily in the book as Christopher Fowler continues to give potted histories and oddball facts about London and its peoples through the ages. Indeed Arthur Bryant has vivid hallucinations following some lifesaving treatment and meets various characters in these who help him solve the case, including a cameo by a young Queen Elizabeth II.

The PCU are tasked with catching a possible serial killer who makes their kills in the parks of London. In the background the PCU’s arch enemy Leslie Faraday plots to close the PCU down and all the PCU characters are back including Bryant’s suave partner John May, along with constables Colin and Meera with their ongoing ‘will they, wont’ they’ become an item. There is an added character this time as an exchange German policewoman, Steffi Vesta, joins the team hoping to pick up some good policing tips!

Christopher Fowler cleverly uses the characters in his books to make comments on the current social and cultural landscapes in London, a city he loves and that comes across in his writing. If you have never read a Bryant & May novel you are missing out and this is a good a place to start as any. They are a winning mix of ‘cosy crime’ with a supernatural edge and a good dose of humour.

Book review: Overkill The Untold Story of Motörhead by Joel McIver

Posted in Books, Get Ready To Rock!, Netgalley, rock n roll with tags , , , , , , , on October 9, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Omnibus Press [Publication date 21.08.17]

The original book was published in 2011, however since Lemmy’s death back in December 2015 the book has been re-issued as an enhanced eBook. Basically it adds a newly written chapter covering Motorhead from 2011 to date, plus you can click on links within the book to Spotify playlists of Motorhead classics and band’s influenced by them. A pretty neat idea, although if reading off a Kindle you’d need Wi-Fi access for Spotify.

The book gives a potted history of Motorhead, covering all their albums – although once you hit the mid-90’s onwards not much is said about the recording process, an album’s reception etc. Joel McIver is a big fan of the band and draws on three of his interviews with main man Lemmy for much of the text, along with fellow writer’s interviews with Lemmy and past and former bandmates including Phil Campbell, Mikkey Dee and Eddie Clarke. There is some repetition of themes, particularly Lemmy’s collection of Nazi war memorabilia and his lifelong hate of heroin. The band’s history is only touched upon briefly in many parts and you do want to read more at some stages, although the band’s interviews give a good idea of what they thought about a particular album and the various record labels the band has been on. Like many 70’s bands Motorhead were royally screwed by record labels in their early days and suffered from endless rehashed live and compilation albums  that often detracted from the band’s newer albums and songs.

For a concise overview of Motorhead this book does the job and do make sure you read Lemmy’s ‘White Line Fever’ as well.

Some Fantastic Place by Chris Difford

Posted in Authors, Books, Classic albums, Netgalley, pop, Pop rock with tags , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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W&N [Publication date 31.08.17]

Chris Difford is the lyricist to Glen Tilbrook’s music and arranging in Squeeze, a band who have split up twice and now since reforming again in 2007 seem to be enjoying a purple patch both in terms of touring and making new music.

Chris’s memoir is very much written from the heart as he describes his struggle with alcohol and bouts of depression, and the effect this had on his personal life. However, he comes across as a positive soul and one that is grateful for what he has. There are of course plenty of tales of Squeeze and how they rose to fame in the late 70’s and early 80’s with a string of hit singles.

His musical life outside of Squeeze is given insight including his time as helping coral the lyrics for Bryan Ferry. He also felt like Bryan Ferry’s chauffer at the time! He also worked on lyrics with Elton John and became good friends with him, which helped a band Chris was mentoring the Strypes, who signed to Elton’s Rocket Music Management in their early days. His solo career is covered, although not as extensively as Squeeze.

You do get a little insight into the relationship between him and Glen Tilbrook, something that has remained constant throughout the years since when they first met back in 1973.

Reading about Squeeze it is pretty amazing they are still going, as at one time in the 90’s they seemingly had a revolving door on drummers and keyboard players. Luckily for music fans the Difford and Tilbrook axis on which Squeeze turns remained and the Squeeze story continues as they have a new album ‘The Knowledge’ out in October.

Chris Difford has penned an honest account of his life in and out of Squeeze, where he is very honest about his past mistakes and his struggles with depression and drinking. Highly recommended for both fans of the band and anyone wanting to see how the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle isn’t all glitz and glamour.

Review by Jason Ritchie

 

The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on August 7, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Published by Serpent’s Tail/Profile Books [Publication date 28.09.17]

I received a free review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest unedited feedback.

Four short story ghost stories from an author who has a good background in ghostly tales. These are in the classic ghost story style, similar to MR James, rather than more modern ghost stories such as Peter James’s ‘The House On Cold Hill’, which is much more graphic and violent ghost story.

The title story reminded me of a Sherlock Holmes tale in the setting and telling of the tale. The story’s ending you guess early on, although that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the story.

Boy Twenty One and Alice Baker both have you thinking about the endings. Boy Twenty One in particular gets the brain ticking over in possible scenarios before you reach the end of the story.

The Front Room is the most chilling tale in the collection. A wise warning about having your mother-in-law living with you!

Classic ghostly tales, perfect for when the nights are drawing in.