Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Barry Island Murders by Andrew Peters

This is the third book I've read by Andy Peters. His dialogue with the reader remains endearing and the source of much of his humour. In this case Superintendent Williams (The almost legendary Williams of the yard) is recounting some infamous murder cases to a journalist. The murders all take place on Barry Island in the sixties and yes the occasional Welsh gag slips in.

In previous reviews I've made much of the humour but the reason I enjoyed Barry Island Murders is that the author gave a very thorough recount of the murders and how they are solved. A quirky police procedural if you like with the action happening in the sixties and being recounted to a present day journalist. The stories are well constructed and you find yourself wondering not only who did it but how they achieved it.

The first story The Journey To Mars is a perplexing case and had me scratching my head. I must stop that with my dandruff and all. A death at Barry funfair and a killer to apprehend leaves our man struggling for clues. A young is woman murdered whilst on a ghost train ride and there is no sign of a killer.

The Playground the second story sees the death of an elderly gentleman in a strange location. Williams is on the scent faster than a bloodhound after a pork pie.

The final case The Graveyard sees the death of a young woman in a graveyard of steam engines but who is she and why is the dresser at her guest house full of sexy lingerie? Williams must take a closer look but not necessarily at the lingerie.

No doubt The Barry Island Murders will be too sedate for some. Williams of the yard is no Jack Reacher with his chiselled chin and perfect teeth. No guns, bombs and few girls to excite the reader, just three deftly recounted tales with a gentle humour running through them like a vein in a good cheese. Witty, offbeat, funny, quirky but most of all a great and fun read.

Monday, 27 May 2013

B.R. Stateham's Turner Hahn and Frank Morales Are Back!

Homicide detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales are back on duty in their new novel,  Guilt of Innocence. The two are investigating a couple of murders which pushes them to the limits of their wits.  One case involves the death of a very successful corporate lawyer.  A high priced corporate lawyer who happens to be married to a woman who heads the largest cosmetics firm in the country.  How the murder took place is perplexing enough.  But as more bodies begin to drop Turner and Frank soon realize they are facing a maniacal mastermind who may very well be smarter than both of them combined.

Twists and turns, dead ends and red herrings . . . with an ending that will truly be surprising.  This case has it all.  And this is only case number one!

Case number two involves the disappearance of a young girl fifteen years earlier.  A Cold Case File.  Except it is not a cold case any longer.  The girl has returned.  And now lies on a cold metal table in the morgue.  Someone has gone out of their way to make the homicide look like a suicide. Apparently a crime syndicate is frantic to make sure neither Turner nor Frank find out the facts surrounding the girl's disappearance fifteen years earlier.  A hit man is in town grimly eliminating everyone who may have known the girl. A hit man with orders to possibly rub out Turner and Frank as well.

And again the real killer is someone whom no one would have ever suspected.

Turner and Frank are at their best.  Dry wit, interesting characters, lots of action, vivid imagery, and two genuine classic mysteries.  All of it can be found in Guilt of Innocence.  Find it anywhere ebooks or sold.

B.R. Stateham is a sixty-four year old curmudgeon who writes genre fiction.  With an antiquarian's body yet with the mind of a fourteen year old boy, the author's imagination still wanders down dark alleys and mean streets looking for a dangerous rendezvous or dons a Federation uniform and straps on his waist a 20 megawatt laser blaster to go out and hunt Martian grave robbers.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Torc of Moonlight by Linda Acaster

Torc of Moonlight is the story of student Nicholas Blaketon and his obsession with pale and introverted Alice Linwood. 

Nick returns to Hull University after the summer break and things are pretty downbeat. His girlfriend has left him. His housemates have nothing in common with him and if his grades don't improve he'll be out of university on his ear. A rugby injury leaves him angry and aggressive and he alienates his few remaining friends. Add to this his increasingly erratic behaviour and it's clear Nick has a problem.
When he spots Alice in a lecture he is immediately drawn to her. Strange other worldly events soon begin to unfold.

Torc of Moonlight is no light snack it's a gourmet meal. Acaster weaves rich descriptive language into the plot. She seasons with diverse and interesting historical detail.
Spice is added with an arrogant and ancient spirit hell bent on revenge.

I've always been fascinated with sacred places and the author compelled me to want to explore these in more depth. It's clear that she knows her subject. She weaves in several plot strands and the characters are interesting and well developed. However, this is no light read. The plot nuances are subtle and you have to give this book your full attention. If all you want is action, violence and explosions then this one is probably not for you. 

An intelligent, interesting and well researched novel that was a pleasure to read.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Hey, That Robot Ate My Baby by Zelmer Pulp

There’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned Sci-fi anthology. However, Zelmer Pulp’s Hey, That Robot Ate My Baby is nothing like a good old fashioned Sci-fi anthology. It’s thoroughly modern, slick and any clich├ęs that dared come near this stunningly original work would frankly be scared off.

Timejack by Chuck Reagan

Clever and fast paced with some great ideas. As those in the future seek to manipulate the past there are dire consequences in the present. Chuck Reagan delivers an in depth tale of a technologically different future where we live our lives virtually and our put is just a meat sack attended to by robots. Social approval via social networks is king here. Chillingly detailed.

Wherever The Light Ends by Ryan Sayles

A chilling story that blends the oddness of a carnival with the interior of an alien spacecraft. Powerful scene building had me right there with the characters. Good old fashioned paranoia and fear abound. As a cop seeks to uncover the facts behind a mysterious double death Ryan Sayles slowly unearths a tale of alien interference.

Geek Squad 20 by Brian Panowich

Panowich asks in bold letters what if hackers could control people? Panowich weaves in some clever twists and turns and takes computer hacking to a whole new and scary level.

This Protean Love by Isaac Kirkman

I'd rate this story highly for the chapter titles alone! Some unique ideas and a strange melancholic, lonely world make this perhaps the story of the collection. So deliciously descriptive as to be poetic at times I was held captive by this story.

The Whores of God by Chris Leek

Chris Leek finishes off this excellent collection with a hilarious romp around a doomed spacecraft. Snappy one liners and violence are the order of the day. This cynical view of the future delivered with tongue firmly in cheek.

A variety of themes and styles here, enough to suit almost any taste. It's clear that the contributors were carefully selected and each of them brings something a little different to the party. An accomplished and riveting read.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Joe Soap by Andrew Peters

Caution: Have a glass of water by your side at all times when reading this novel. The wit is so dry you'll be dehydrated in no time. Andrew Peter's has his tongue so firmly lodged in his cheek it's a wonder it doesn't have to be surgically removed. Joe Soap is the story of a minor thriller writer who is forced to commit unspeakable criminal acts by persons unknown.

Peters has perfected the art of talking "off camera" as it were and he uses this to comic effect time and again. The narrator is literally communicating regularly with the reader directly. You might be forgiven for thinking that the regular comical asides interfere with the story but not a bit of it! The story flows very nicely and I read this novel in just two or three sittings.

A very enjoyable book. On balance I’d say some might find it a tad light hearted and irreverent but the rest us will just enjoy the humour and a story well told.

Genre:  Crime/Humour
Publisher:  Indie
Format:  E-Book & Paperback
Rating:  5/5

Sunday, 5 May 2013

I Woke Up This Morning (Frugality Book 3) by Stuart Ayris

I am sat here trying to write a book review. Normally these are simple short reviews with me saying in my own way what I liked about the book, how it made me feel and gently giving such critique I feel is honest and correct.

I Woke Up This Morning has left me puzzled.  As the author knows I am a huge fan of his work. When I started to read this book and by the time I was a third of the way in I was convinced of one thing: It was an exercise in pure self-indulgence and that he has let himself down.

I sit here having literally just finished and I realise how wrong I was about that.  I think some of the points Stuart is trying to make a little too subtle for a fat, baldy, boorish, ignoramus such as myself.  I’ll try to convey what I thought as succinctly as I can.

Stuart tells a tale of alienation. A tale of fear and how is it wrong sometimes to indulge ourselves in our woes. We should strive to be a better person by whichever means is best for us. I can’t say how much autobiography is in the novel but you get the distinct impression that the character “Stuart Ayris” has a few regrets. Separating fact from fiction for someone who doesn’t know the author closely is like trying to paint using morning mist so I’m not going to attempt it.

With his usual breathtaking brilliance Ayris lays down the positives and leaves his jewels of wisdom for the discerning reader to uncover. When you come across these little treasures you feel better about yourself and better about your day. Stuart’s work is unique in style and structure but my god does it speak to my soul at times. A work of cloudy, confusing genius, yet genius it is.

Genre:  Literary
Publisher:  Indie
Format:  E-Book & Paperback
Rating:  5/5