Monday, December 15, 2014

THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY - Douglas Adams



Thirty Five years after it was published I have finally got around to reading this very funny book.  I am not a science fiction fan but anyone who can read will laugh out loud at this.

Arthur Dent and his alien friend Ford Prefect just manage to escape Earth prior to its destruction and have many adventure travelling through space.

One of the highlights for myself was at the beginning of the book with Arthur and then Ford dealing with the sad wee man from the Council.  Its one of the funniest and most scathing indictments of petty officialdom you'll read anywhere.

Just a lovely book. Adams was a one man Monty Python team, sheer genius.

BEWARE OF THE TRAINS - Edmund Crispin



This is a compilation of 16 short stories originally published in 1953 featuring the Oxford Don Gervase Fen as the amateur detective who consistently makes the constabulary look good.

These are good solid detective tales without any particular one being a jaw dropper but they are well constructed and entertaining.

Crispin is not Conan Doyle,but like Conan Doyle a very interesting man in his own right , so if you like writing from this era like I do you'll get a lot of enjoyment from these stories.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

THE HOT ROCK - Donald E.Westlake



John Dortmunder is a thief who has just been released from prison and he is offered a chance for an 'easy" big score.  So the scene is set for a Westlake caper.  The gang just have to steal a large emerald, easy!

As usual the story is slightly or even hugely over the top but the characters are engaging and there is slick dialogue and humour throughout.

Never boring, always fun, the perfect beach book over summer.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

ROGUE MALE - Geoffrey Household



This treasure published in 1939 is an absolutely cracking thriller.  An unnamed British aristocrat is captured in an unnamed European country attempting to assassinate its leader.  From here he manages to escape and make his way back to England where the adventure really starts.

There is a similarity to "The 39 Steps" but this is much darker with our hero willing to do anything to survive, he does not hamper himself with the British rules of fair play, he has a reason for his actions and he will not be at peace until he has completed what he sets out to do.

This is very very good, I found it on a list of "The best of ..." and I am wondering why it has not endured like others from its era as it deserves to.  Brilliant writing and not at all dated.




HALLOWE'EN PARTY - Agatha Christie



A 13 year old girl attending a birthday party mentions to all that she had witnessed a murder 2 years previously.  A short time later another murder occurs, a short time later M.Poirot and his little grey cells become involved.

This is the third to last full length Poirot story, (actually the second last given "Curtain" was written in 1940 and put in a safe,) and the author is getting tired.  This is not one of the best in this series by any stretch but although you can identify the killer early in proceedings the author hasn't cheated too much and all the information is available to the reader to solve it.

Unless you've read all these stories I'd leave this one until the end.

Monday, November 24, 2014

COLLUSION - Stuart Neville



This is a continuation of "The Twelve" and is set 3 months after the first book.

There are several new characters introduced as there was some violence in the first story but the writing is as brutal and extreme.

The language is not for the faint hearted but its the language of "cops and robbers" and the story would be weaker if toned down.

A very strong sequel but you really need to read "The Twelve" first because it would be ruined if you read this story first.

THE TWELVE- Stuart Neville



Its brilliant when you find a new author who is just a bit different in a pretty crowded field when it comes to crime writing.

This novel is set in Belfast after "The Troubles" and centers on Gerry Fegan a IRA hitman who is starting to drink himself to death because the 12 people he has killed are haunting him.  He decides the only way he can rid himself of the images is to take revenge for them on those that ordered the killings in the first place. So he sets out and that's when the trouble starts.

This is brutal, there is not a likable character in the entire book, apart from a six year old girl.  The language and violence is extreme and it is excellent.

Great writing, great characters and it should be read by lots of people.