Saturday, February 15, 2014

THE LAST SUPPER - Charles McCarry

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.