Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SOLAR - Ian McEwan

Michael Beard is a Nobel Prize winning physicist whose best years are well behind him as are five marriages. He's short over weight and somehow human catnip to females.

He's a totally unlikeable individual who does nothing unless he is the first beneficiary of his efforts.

When he cottons on to work done by a younger staff member and makes it his own he appears to be once again to be a leading force but..............

The highlight  for me of this novel  was the following paragraph -

“There was an Old Testament ring to the fore warnings, an air of plague-of-boils and deluge-of-frogs, that suggested a deep and constant inclination,enacted over the centuries, to believe that one was always living in the end of days, that ones own demise was urgently bound up in the end of the world, and therefore made more sense, or was just a little less relevant. The end of the world was never pitched in the present, where it could be seen for the fantasy it was, but just around the corner, and when it did not happen, a new issue, a new date would soon emerge.”

This sums up the the climate change brigade nicely and while Beard is not totally skeptical he is more inclined to think of climate change believers in the above terms than not.

The novel starts strongly and is very funny - even though it does peter out to a  foreseeable conclusion it is worth the effort to read it - I enjoy seeing the selfish reap their just deserts and for an Ian McEwan novel it is almost uplifting meaning I wasn't so depressed at the end of it I thought of self harm. (2010)

Monday, October 15, 2012

FEARLESS JONES - Walter Mosely

...Paris Minton is minding his own business -  a small used bookstore of which he is the proud owner- when a beautiful walks in and asks a few questions.....

From this we get a very stupid story-  Paris gets beaten up, slept with, shot at, robbed and his store is burnt down and it goes on for over 300 pages.

Mosely has gone away from his 'Easy Rawlins' series and started this - incidentally the person named in the title is Paris's best friend and apart from being able to take a punch he is a complete dolt - after finishing the book I could still see no point in having 'Fearless" in it.

Mosely is normally good, with a finger on the era he writes best about - the L.A of the 1950's from the point of his black hero's - but he missed the mark here really badly.(2001)

Monday, October 8, 2012

ALICE IN LA LA LAND - Robert Campbell

The rich beautiful  wife of a television personality searches out our hero 'Whistler'- a private eye- because she believes her husband his trying to have her killed.

Once you get past the obvious question, why would this rich beautiful woman search out a PI who is not very successful and spends his days in a Hollywood coffee shop you get a story that's not bad, although it could have been trimmed by 50 pages with a bit of ruthless editing which would have made no  difference to the story.

You get  murder, sex and a twist at the end that you can see coming but you need to finish the story just to make certain you're right.

A story of a very seedy Los Angeles where the rich are good at using the less financially endowed and are used to getting away with 'murder'.  (1987)


This is just one of J J Marric's ( John Creasey) 600 novels, yep 600 he wrote during his life time.  Its a day in the life of Superintendent Gideon of the Metropolitan Police.

It covers several seemingly unrelated events, and some of them are unrelated, in this day which includes child murder, armed robbery and general violence.

Its a police procedural in the truest sense, no great heroics just solid police work and of course the luck needed to solve the crimes.

Its a nice read showing all concerned as human.  Its of its time ( mid 50's) but still readable.

I read lots of Creasey as a teenager ( The Toff, especially) and he's still worth the effort when you come across anything he wrote at book-fairs or second hand stores who have the sense to buy his stuff.

Monday, October 1, 2012


This quite uplifting for Orwell.  The book is series of  tales of a time he was a dishwasher in Paris restaurants and  a tramp in London.

I am presuming he endured this as some sort of social experiment rather than of necessity, which appears proven as he always has someone to give him the cash to survive or travel.

We are introduced to the filth and appalling conditions endured by many, some through choice, some through life just being harsh.

How the book was uplifting for me was that many having no other choice just got on with it and did quite amazing things to survive.  What was really apparent is that just because there was poverty there was no automatic drift into crime - which seems to contradict much of what today's social engineers would have us believe. 

A interesting read from the early 20th century.  (1933)