Archive for Book

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.

 

MARK STAY new book…

Posted in Authors, Books, News with tags , , , , on March 20, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Happy days! I just hit 50% FUNDED on THE END OF MAGIC! In the words of the poet, ‘Woah, we’re halfway there, woa-oh, we’re livin’ on a prayer!’

Huge thanks and big love to everyone who’s pledged so far. It’s incredible to me to think that we’ve come so far in just a few weeks.
As a treat (punishment?) here’s a quick extract of me reading from THE END OF MAGIC

I apologise in advance for the Scots accent. a) The character was written that way, and b) I’m an old ham and can’t help myself.

To pledge and support THE END OF MAGIC, click here: https://unbound.com/books/end-of-magic/

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.

Slow Horses by Mick Herron

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , on February 21, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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John Murray [First published 2015]

I picked up this one as a ‘Read it Now’ on NetGalley and I am glad I did. ‘Slow Horses’ is the first book in the Slough House series of modern day espionage thrillers based on Jackson Lamb.

Jackson Lamb presides over Slough House, a dumping ground for members of the intelligence service who’ve messed up, be it a terrorist training scenario that went wrong or leaving vital data on a tube train. The book starts off with an agent called Cartwright who’s leading a terrorist training scenario goes wrong and it is only having a retired spook as a grandfather that saves his career, well stops him being dismissed and instead assigned to Slough House. The plot (based around a domestic terror plot to carry out a beheading live on the net) keeps you reading on, maybe not as intricate as a John Le Carre, but certainly with the same page turning ability as a Le Carre. Jackson Lamb is a very much a rogue character and you do get to find out what caused his fall from grace that landed him at Slough House.

Mick Herron should be on your ‘must read’ list for any readers of well written and plotted espionage/spy fiction. Right, now I am off to hunt down book two in the series…

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…

Betrayal by Stewart Binns

Posted in Books, Netgalley with tags , , , , , , , on January 22, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

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Penguin [Publication date 08.02.18]

I have read the Crusades series by Stewart Binns and enjoyed those. ‘Betrayal’ is a stand-alone novel by him set in Belfast in 1981. It focuses on Jim Dowd and Maureen O’Brien, special forces soldiers, who are ordered to go undercover, infiltrate one of the city’s most dangerous Catholic neighbourhoods the Ardoyne, and carry out orders that will pit them against not only the IRA but members of their own forces and spymasters.

It is a fast paced read, with plenty of action and although it lacks the subtlety of say Le Carre or Deighton, Binns has a decent go at a spy/espionage thriller. The description of Belfast at the height of the Troubles are graphically described, particularly the effects on the day to day life of its citizens. Binns also pops in bits of history throughout the novel to give the reader some background and the glossary gives further details on various organisations and events involved in Northern Ireland.

Another highly readable novel by an author now on my ‘must read’ list.