Archive for book review

Book review: All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley, News with tags , , , , , on July 8, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Hodder & Stoughton [Publication date 09.08.18]

The blurb on this book certainly tweaks your interest –

“This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself. But no one can say why. The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.”

The author, poet Claire Askew was the subject of four way bid for this book, part of a two book deal with Hodder, and it is easy to see why as this is one of the best crime debuts I have read in a good while.

Askew tells the story from the three main characters and she delves into each character’s emotions and how they are reacting to events unfolding around them. It is a classic page turner which although you know the outcome and there is no culprit to find, the book raises lots of questions about the shooting and how it affects the victims’ families and that of the shooter in the aftermath. The other key character a member of the press who will try anything to get a story and he is a certainly a character you will love to hate!

Highly recommended read, not just for fans of crime writing but anyone who enjoys a good read that makes you think after reading it.

Book review: THE GUILTY DEAD by P.J. TRACY

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , on June 27, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Michael Joseph [Publication date 23.08.18]

Book number 9 in the Twin Cities series and the blurb on this one says…

“Gregory Norwood, wealthy businessman and close friend of Minnesota’s leading candidate for Governor, is found dead on the first anniversary of his son’s drug overdose. It seems clear to Detectives Gino and Magozzi that grief drove him to suicide.

Until they realise the left-handed man seems to have used his right hand to pull the trigger.”

It is very fast paced like previous books in the series, although this one sees a little less of the Monkeewrench crew in the story. It starts off as what appears to be a suicide, which quickly escalates into a murder enquiry and then add in a domestic terror plot and it all starts spiralling in terms of action and plot. Perhaps not the best book in the series as some of the plot you could second guess, still enjoyable and one of the better US crime writers currently out there.

The P.J. Tracy series of books are highly readable and perfect for lovers of page turners from the likes of Harlan Coben.

 

 

Book review: Body & Soul by John Harvey

Posted in Authors, Books with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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William Heinemann [Published 19th April 2018]

“When his estranged daughter Katherine appears on his doorstep, ex-Detective Frank Elder knows that something is wrong. Katherine has long been troubled, and Elder has always felt powerless to help her. But now Katherine has begun to self-destruct. The breakdown of her affair with a controversial artist has sent her into a tailspin which culminates in murder.”

So the blurb goes on the final of the Frank Elder novels (I have only read ‘Flesh & Blood’ in this series to date and intend to read the rest of the Elder novels), which I have to say was even more enjoyable than ‘Flesh & Blood’ and that takes some doing. Why? Because John Harvey has the knack of drawing you into the various subplots – here we have Elder’s daughter Katherine caught up in the murder of an artist, an escaped convict and how Elder himself is coping with being of the force and trying to connect with his daughter – and rounding out his characters to make you believe the story even more. Elder is quick to temper and wade into situations, but for all his faults he has a sense of justice. Even though retired from the force, he seems to be involved in his local police force.

It is a real shame the Elder series is finished now but it finishes with one of Harvey’s best books to date. If you have yet to try John Harvey you won’t be disappointed, if like me you enjoy the novels of Ian Rankin and Mark Billingham.

 

Book review: Dead Lions by Mick Herron

Posted in Authors, Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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John Murray

This is book two of the Jackson Lamb series based on said Lamb and the M15 failures he looks after in Slough House. This book although published originally a couple of years ago, is very timely as it involves Russian sleeper agents coming  into action to cause a terrorist threat. River Cartwright is dispatched to seemingly quiet Cotswold village to root out Russian agents, whilst Jackson Lamb is on the trail of a killing of an old colleague…

One of the great talents of Mick Herron is to leave one part of the story on a cliff-hanger, then when you rejoin that part of the story again you are often surprised at the outcome. The main characters are believable and in Jackson Lamb you have what appears to be an overweight tramp, whereas in fact he has a cunning mind and can spring into action, only on his terms though.

I highly recommend these books and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Book review – Bring Me Back by BA Paris

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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HQ [Publication date 08.03.18]

BA Paris had a hit with her last novel ‘Behind Closed Doors’ and now we have her new novel, ‘Bring Me Back’.

This one is based around Finn McQuaid who is still getting over the disappearance of his girlfriend Layla twelve years ago when they stopped in a lay-by. The chapters flit to the past and present day, where Finn is now engaged to Layla’s sister Ellen (that in itself may sound slightly weird to some readers!). BA Paris is good at building the tension as various parts of Finn’s present day life start to unravel and it is a classic ‘page turner’. You may however guess one of the twists towards the end of the novel.

It certainly won’t disappoint her existing fans and will doubtless make her some new ones.

Three Gruff Goats Meet Some Unexpected Visitors: A mashed-up fairytale by David Atkinson

Posted in Books, Family life with tags , , , , on February 12, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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The book is loosely based on the Three Billy Goats Gruff, although David Atkinson adds in a few guest appearances from other well known fairy tales. There are a few good puns in the text and Fay Ford’s illustrations enhance the overall book greatly. My nine year old son enjoyed it as much as I did and to be fair he is more the target audience!

The only downside to the book is that it is over too quickly! There is definitely a scope for a series of books like this that shake-up traditional fairy tales. Maybe the Three Little Pigs (who pop-up in this book) with a twist on the wolf…

Glory Hunter by Brian Darling

Posted in Books, Football, Stoke City, Stoke City FC, The Premiership with tags , , , , , on February 12, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Brian Darling is a glory hunter in that he was raised in Rugby and chose to support Stoke as they were going through a purple patch in the early 1970’s when he started supporting Stoke.

His memoir recalls not only watching Stoke, he adds in his career in the banking world which may not be of interest to some, however he gives an interesting insight as to how banking has changed over the years. Fear not though as football is the main focus and Stoke fans will enjoy the highs and lows mentioned in the book. Be it the classy players we have had like Jimmy Greenoff, Mark Stein, Ricardo Fuller, Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton to name but a few to a few donkeys like Keith Scott.

You don’t need to be a Stoke supporter to enjoy this book, as Brian gets onto the printed page the joy of seeing your team win and the abject despair when you get relegated or lose a big cup game (losing to Man City in the FA Cup final still hurts…)

Highly recommended for Stoke fans as a must read and for any lover of football fan memoirs.