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.

THE BURNING ROOM - Michael Connelly

The latest ' Harry Bosch' and I'm afraid its the end of the line for this series for me.

Harry is still attached to the Cold case Unit in L.A when he and his new partner are given a file on the 10 year old murder of a Mexican street musician whose death became a "cause celebre" for local politicians.

This case segues into a second file where several children died in a fire.

The story just got so cute with amazing leaps of "logic" that it got silly.

Not one to remember which is a shame because several in this series have been outstanding.

MORIARTY - Anthony Horowitz

Authorized by the Doyle Estate, Horowitz has written a novel containing Doyle's characters but from a different perspective.

Its very hard to describe the mystery without spoiling it , so I won't even try.

There several written like this lately, Ian Fleming's estate has been getting guest writers in, some good and some bad, The trouble with this is not the style of writing but its the story.  Its a weak story and anyone with an IQ above room temperature will solve the crime very early and from there its just a matter of how long it will be drawn.

Horowitz first Holmes story " The House of Silk" was very good and disturbing, this just doesn't work.


The first Bond and one of the first I read where as a teenager I struggled to understand the card games that this novel revolves around.  I've read it 3-4 times now and its a great Sunday book.

As always not great literature but who cares, Fleming is for reading on a boat, a train or a couch not for long tedious discussion by even more tedious types on a Sunday morning TV slot.

Always enjoyable

HELLRAISERS - Robert sellers

A brief biography of four talented actors and how alcohol destroyed them.

There are some amusing anecdotes but like all drunks they all get sad towards the end.  Harris in particular was a nasty drunk, very cruel and very selfish.

The writing itself is more like that of a Sunday paper expose rather than the language of a professional biographer, the repeated slang and colloquialism jars.

Not for the series theater buff who will know of these tales from these four.


As usual with Wodehouse a joy to read, easy, enjoy.