Saturday, February 15, 2014
This is the absolute equal of anything Le Carre has written in the Karla trilogy. It gives the back history of Paul Christopher's family and early life leading up to the beginning of WWII.
The betrayal in this novel is absolute and destroys entire families over generations.
The tracking down and unmasking of the traitor lasts until the end and is as intricate and taxing as anything Smiley did . Fantastic.
The cover blurb from P J O'Rourke "The classic thriller from the absolute best thriller writer alive" is not hyperbole.
Rebus is back in the police not at his previous rank of Detective Inspector but as a lowly Detective Sergeant working under people who were formerly his junior staff.
Due to political pressure put on to Professional Standards an historic case is re-opened which looks at a group of detectives one of whom is Rebus. This case is one where a murder trial appears to have been deliberately blown by these detectives.
This novel has Rebus working with Malcolm Fox who has appeared previously in stand alone novels written by Rankin. He is a policeman who polices other police and universally despised because of this.
The Rebus series is the most consistent of procedural's going around, they never disappoint and a few are stunners. This is a good solid entry and worth the effort.
This is a superb spy novel with not much more I can add. Set during the cold war we have betrayal in Paul Christopher's personal and professional life with the two over lapping.
This is not quite a Le Carre at his peak but so close as not to matter.
Its a novel that I gave up sleep for and that's as good as it gets for me. All I can say is that if you like the espionage genre and have been like me and come late to this series you should buy them all. They will be an investment, something that can be re-read.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
A few times a year if I'm exceptionally fortunate I pick up and read a book that I enjoy so much that I don't want it to end. This is the first one of 2014.
Its just a stunner. Written stream of consciousness style Young goes from time zone to topic at random covering his life until now. He covers his hobbies, his art, his family and friends.
He is an insatiable collector - cars, guitars, trains, amps and it sounds like he has archived everything he has ever done musically.
He's a environmentalists but loves driving big gas guzzlers, so he's got an electric beast he tools around in. His environmentalism is of a practical type not the Luddite type that wants us to return to the cave.
If you are looking for insights in CSN here don't bother, they get a few mentions but its not about them. He does however confirm what fans have known, that Stephen Stills is a genius. High praise coming from Young.
He spends some of the book not actually apologising to people but admitting that he has been at fault as various times and things could have been done better but he is realistic enough to know whats done is done and can't be undone.
The style of writing is just so easy going, he has carried a laptop around with him for several months and sat and written when the mood takes him. He states at the start of the book that when he began this project he had just given up "smoking weed and drinking" and was straight for the first time since he was about 18 years old. The only trouble was he ended up not writing a song for months. The catalyst for the straightening out was a brain scan which is described as showing the beginning of dementia, something from which his father suffered.
One other project he is totally passionate about is getting top quality sound out to music buyers. He believes that the fan is being ripped off by MP3 and CD sound which supply 5% and 15% of whats on a master tape respectively. This project is called "PureTone" and he believes there will be a new generation MP3 type player developed that will revolutionize what we hear.
But Neil Young is about his art and his art is music and that dominates all, he explains why he experiments, why he has left bands because they won't attempt something new and he explains why Crazy Horse are the band, the band no matter what else he does, he always comes back to and who he makes his best music with.
I really loved this book, it does not flag at anytime, its interesting and will be even if you are not a music lover or Young fan. If you like good autobiography this is one all should enjoy.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
This is a very good spy story, set in Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States. It was written in 1973 and is set in 1963 when President Kennedy is assassinated.
Paul Christopher, a CIA agent with cover as a journalist has reason to believe he knows who is behind the Kennedy killing and is set loose to prove it to the US Administration.
What Christopher uncovers is as good a theory, if you believe that Oswald was not alone, as I've seen anywhere and makes a lot more sense than most that are filling up the Internet.
The author,Charles McCarry is a retired CIA agent and my assumption is there is a lot of reality in the books procedural passages, this is very good not 'Smiley" but very good. The rest of the series awaits.
From starting The Hollies with Alan Clarke to moving to the States and hooking up with David Crosby this is a first hand account of a rock life.
There are lots of details and its all very honest, Nash takes the blame where he has erred in personal and business relationships and apportions it to others where he thinks they are at fault. Lots of women and drugs, huge amounts, vast quantities of both it is rock and roll so its to be expected.
Its written in the first person with the dictated and typed feel, which isn't a bad thing , my only complaint is that there are several portions of the book where a journalist may have gone a bit deeper and given the readership more detail. For me the influence unions had on life in the UK in the 1950's was one area I would have liked some more written, but it covers 70 years of a life so I suppose something had to give.
The forming of CSN and eventually Y and then not Y is pivotal to his life and has had a bearing on everything since. The song creation process is explained, explained in a ridiculously simple fashion which makes it seem ridiculously easy which of course it is not.
Tales of performing at Woodstock, Crosby's crack addiction, falling outs and falling in's with Stills and Young, its all here but when the dust settles these people are artists and to perform is why they exist.
Toward the end there are interesting things like the forming of Nash Editions, a company using ink jet printers to produce photographic works, it was pioneering work and still operates 25 years later with the original printer used in the Smithsonian Institute.
A very good rock autobiography showing that nothing comes easy and you only have true success with hard work.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
There is a serial killer loose in Paris in 1943. Our heroes are a French detective and a German detective who is in the Gestapo. These two are tasked to investigate civilian crimes which of course end up involving the occupiers and things become very political.
So its a run of the mill serial killer story and to be honest could be set anywhere and at anytime. The killings are grotesque and frequent with the two trying to locate the latest victim who is a friend of the Frenchman.
A couple of problems I had with this book are, firstly, the French detective working with the Gestapo, even though its on civilian crimes he is heading for the guillotine come the Germans getting the boot because he is a collaborator. I have no idea how the author will deal with this little problem come the end of the series.
My second problem is this, the book is set in France - one French Policeman ,one German Policeman, now being a reader of average intelligence I can assume that the majority of the dialogue involving persons in the book will be in french. It can also be safely assumed that the German will speaking german when speaking to his colleagues. With that established and the fact that this book is in English, why has the author inserted a "merde" and " Gott im Himmel" every couple of pages, seriously, its like something from "Hogans Hero's" and really annoying.
So, a gruesome murder mystery thats adequate with a couple of really annoying traits that have put me off reading anymore of the series.
"Gott im Himmel" it just got too tedious.