Monday, 14 August 2017

Dinner at the Centre of the Earth by Nathan Englander

Dinner at the Centre of the EarthDinner at the Centre of the Earth by Nathan Englander
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

It does not happen very often but this book beat me. I have read around 20% and have not been able to understand any of it. This may be an award winning author but there are no prizes for this one. Perhaps written in a period of self indulgence it lacks any structure or storyline for you to follow and certainly does not entertain. The reason I gave up was the lack of even any promise that it would get better, I was totally confused and bored. Billed as a political thriller I was excited to start it as this is one my favourite genres however this excitement disappeared very quickly. Won't give any spoilers as if like me you will not get that far.

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Monday, 7 August 2017

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Ragdoll (Detective William Fawkes, #1)Ragdoll by Daniel Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This detective's name is unusual and immediately links to the parliamentary explosives expert however there is no connection. Ragdoll refers to the detective newest case a puppet style gruesome collection of six body parts stitched together. More importantly the body parts are from different bodies. Fawkes' ex wife a journalist is anonymously given crime scene pictures and a list of the next victims. With his partner and her sidekick trainee they try to identify the six victims before anyone else is murdered. It seems a regular murder enquiry except for the strange circumstance, however with ex-wife, partner and sidekick relationships added in, it is no longer straightforward. As the body count starts to rise so does the tension and the credibility of Fawkes. Will he solve the case and survive? Recommended

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The Woman Who Knew Too Much by Tom Savage

The Woman Who Knew Too Much (Nora Baron #2)The Woman Who Knew Too Much by Tom Savage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nora Baron's husband works for the CIA and she gets the chance to work a mission. Based in Venice it has a very interesting backdrop to this exciting political mystery thriller. Assigned to assist a Russian actress to defect, Nora's detailed plan starts to go awry. As the only one in the team visiting Venice who really knows what is happening it becomes very difficult for Nora to decide who to trust. This is quite a clever story with the author releasing enough clues along the way to keep your interest. Written in an easy style I found you don't have to work too hard to understand what it going on, and just enjoy the story. Some political novels can get too complex and kill any enjoyment, due to continually trying to keep up with the twists and turns. Good book.

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Zero Sum by Barry Eisler

Zero Sum (John Rain, #9)Zero Sum by Barry Eisler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

John Rain has an occupation which is unusual but borne out of his life in the military and subsequent mercenary work, he is an assassin. Returning to Japan after a period in the Philippines he discovers a Russian called Victor is monopolising all the hit jobs - why? This is a story of a guy trying to get his old job back only difference is the type of job. Good story with normal thriller elements thrown in, some romance / sex, greed, power and of course murder. Although it is entertaining it is not really a mystery what is going to happen. The author has chose to leave enough clues for you to work it out fairly quickly. In summary it is predictable but very enjoyable, definitely a holiday read.

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I am Missing by Tim Weaver

I Am MissingI Am Missing by Tim Weaver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Richard has one of those problems that it is impossible to understand what it is like to experience. He has lost all his memory and only has little fragments to use to try and remember. Not getting anywhere he calls David Raker to help him, Raker is an experienced missing person detective but this is something completely new to him. He quickly gets one or two small leads to work on which eventually start to bear fruit. For some reason it took me ages to read this book which mystifies me and can only assume it did not capture my imagination the way some quick reads do. It is an easy story to read and an interesting subject, but I think just moves a little to slowly for me to rate it more than three stars. Perhaps if on beach holiday it would be more appealing where there is a smaller choice of activities on offer. It does offer all the normal elements of a good crime thriller.

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Friday, 23 June 2017

Justice by Another Name by E.C. Hanes

Justice by Another NameJustice by Another Name by E.C. Hanes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You would think that greed and corruption is the province of Wall Street and City of London but no it is alive and well in the pig farming industry of North Carolina. With the tragic death of a father and son within a few months of each other, Will Moser the local deputy sheriff takes on the most powerful man in the county to try expose the truth. You will be fascinated how interwoven and connected the families in the county are and how everyone knew each other when growing up. This is a very good novel, about a widow who has lost everything and tries to understand why she has suffered this injustice. Providing the story line is good I will judge the merits of book by how easy it is to read. EC Hanes novel passes muster easily. I was attracted to the book initially by the synopsis which set the story in unusually in hog land, I was not disappointed. Recommended.

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The Expansion by Christoph Martin

The ExpansionThe Expansion by Christoph Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a difficult book to categorise, not a thriller, not a mystery, not a political story, not espionage, not a murder. What is it? It has all of these but all take equal share. I was quickly taken in by the easy reading style of writing and although there is no particular outstanding element is does grab you and is a exceptionally good read. The main character Max Burns childhood and background is dealt with at the beginning, in order you can get on with the main story line of the Panama Canal expansion project. The author expertly compresses several years of bidding and construction and concentrates on Max's interaction with the father and son relationship of the Rocos who are leading the project. This may not be to everyone's taste but I enjoyed it.

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