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CPTDANIELS

CPTDANIELS
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Member since: 27.11.2008

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      05.12.2013 13:33
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      Excellent Story

      ==The Synopsis of the book:==

      Brian Jackson has recently been accepted for University having done wonderfully well in his 'A' Levels. The year is 1985 and he prepares to leave his Mum and his home in Southend for a new exciting phase in his life. He knows he will miss his two closest friends in Spencer and Tone but has promised to come back to visit them when he can. As his friends despite being as intelligent as he is have chosen to find employment rather than further education.

      Young Mr Jackson will be studying English Literature. However no sooner than he has arrived there, he discovers the University are planning on putting a team into the television programme 'University Challenge'. While studying the notice a beautiful student called Alice encourages him to have a try out for the team. And as he immediately falls for her and it could mean if successful they get to know each other better so he readily agrees. As she is destined to become his first love but can Brian woo this very popular and seemingly very natural admired woman to be his girlfriend?

      ==My thoughts on this novel:==

      I really found this an entertaining piece of fiction. It was the type of book I never wanted it to end because there was always something happening and I really took to the main characters Brian's situation and everything that happened to him. I enjoyed the fact he had met his first real love in Alice and how he tried different approaches to win her heart so that she would fall as deeply in love with him as he was her.

      The book is about a young man growing up and it was an amazing and powerful story because it demonstrated to me just how much the central character had changed and matured from the start to the end of the story. And while I do not consider myself to be similar in personality or character to him I can understand a lot of his thoughts and actions in per-suite of the woman of his dreams. And the way any of us can make a fool of ourself while trying to impress someone.

      Added to this I enjoyed the way Brian's relationship changed with the other key characters in the story. They are all quite different from him so identification and understanding their personalities was very easy and consistant with their characteristics. I liked the way his friendship was tested with the old friends he had left behind to go to University as they felt he was changing and his new life to changing his attitude and feelings towards them.

      For me the key ingredient to this excellent story is the way it was written. I found it had everything I could ask for. The central theme being first love but it also dealt with a young man's changing thoughts, understanding and developing knowledge, wisdom and facing up to new challenges with his old friends and his family. And as it was so well thought through by the author there was always something to saver in his intelligent descriptions about what was happening to Brian.

      I felt like the author really understand his lead character when he shared his thoughts, ideas and opinions with the reader. So that you also understood exactly what why he thought that way. It may not have always been what I was thinking but it made sense and you understood why at least he thought that way. And longer the story developed despite a few excellent hiccups you felt he was maturing well and finding his place in life.

      The humour within the story was really first class. There were so many funny well described scenes that had we imagining them and chucking away. Especially when Brian was trying usually badly to impress either Alice of one of the other students. These once again were excellent written and at times even I felt embarrassed for the poor chap. And with the wit being the whole way through the story I found it was a real treat and one I am sure I will return to because it was so entertaining. As for me this is if not the best right up there as an amazing piece of fiction.

      Yet another feature I loved about this book was it was full of surprises. I really had no idea what would happen next. Yes I always wanted the best for Brian but the story was full of the unexpected. Especially towards the end of it. Usually I find the ending of books predictable but this one was anything but and I enjoyed a lot of these concepts. Indeed after completing the book I wondered if the author would consider a follow up as I for one would be interested in what happens later in Brian's life and how it all pans out for him.

      I am not a big fan of love stories as a rule and I will avoid wherever I can this type of book. I struggle with the emotions and in truth some of the unusual things we do for love. But this story was in so many ways an innocent story and it was entertain because it was quite of funny that Brian was trying to woo this beautiful young lady and making such a bad job of it. Which often make him look far worse than he needed or wanted to. And even the ending which I will say nothing more about is different to what I expected.

      To be honest I had never heard of the English author David Nicholls before picking this book up at my local charity shop. I am so impressed by his style of writing which is intelligent, witty and makes you think. That said I will be now looking out for his next book called 'One Day' which is it is a patch on this one will be excellent. In some ways his style reminded me of Nick Hornby but with so much depth in the story a grade about his work. While in others with the wit and humour it reminded me of the Adrian Mole stories as he grows up.

      And I suppose if I have one very minor criticism of the book it would be the summary of the story on the rear of the book. For me it should have been longer as I thought four lines failed to do it anywhere near the justice it deserved. Two maybe three paragraphs about Brian would have been far better and encouraged more people to purchase it. As if I had just gone on this I would not have bought it despite all the praise for it on the inside cover of the book.

      Length wise by paperback copy was 473 pages long which seemed about the right length to me. With each chapter starting with an 'University Challenge' type question, which I found impossible to answer but luckily the answer was below the question!! It was a good approach and reminded the reader of what special event was coming up. And with a total of 43 chapters in the story I always felt these short chapters were breaking the stories different concepts up well and I was progressing well in the story, without ever feeling as with long chapters that to was hard going.

      ==Conclusion:==

      This is a book I have no hesitation in recommending to anyone and everyone. It is a first class read and there is so much to saver within it. As the base of it is Brian and his love for the beautiful Alice
      but his experiences are so well written about and the humour within the story is absolutely priceless. I see it has also been turned into a film, so I must watch that to see how it compares with this wonderfully book.

      ==Additional Information:==

      Paperback version:
      Pages:473
      Price: £5.59 New from Amazon
      Publisher:Hodder Paperbacks
      ISBN-10:0340734876
      ISBN-13:978-034073872
      Year first Published:2003

      Thanks for reading my review.

      This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.

      (c) CPTDANIELS December 2013

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      • Cancer / Discussion / 96 Readings / 82 Ratings
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        29.11.2013 11:03
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        Dealing with cancer and the care of it

        ==Cancer care:==

        In all ways this is a review I wish no-one would ever have to write be they your best friend or your very worst enermy. As I wish no-one to ever suffer or be affected by Cancer and a cure is achievable, so no-one ever has to go through it or see people they care about and love be treated for it.

        As sometimes I think it must be worst for those seeing a loved one go through it as there is so little other than give love and support they can do. And yet when you have it you have no choice but to deal with it and try and remain at normal and positive as you can for those you care about.

        However this is not a perfect world and so I would like to try and share with you some of the good and positive things that have happened to me recently. I am certainly not looking for sympathy as those who know me will understand what a private person I am. I simply would like to really encourage anyone who may go through it to try and be positive about what is happening at a dark time in there lives and how amazing the care and support from the National Health Care Professionals is.

        ==My Story:==

        I think this will be the hardest part for me to share with you as I have said earlier I do not want people to feel sorry for me. I want a positive message of hope and encouragement for all.

        But I need to basically explain where I sit in the equasion.I first had a malignant melanomia about six years ago. After a few operations and additional treatment I as given the all clear and life returned to normal.

        However about a month ago I became very ill this time and I was advised my cancer had returned and was now widespread in my liver and spleen. Plus most serious and urgent is there is evidence of it being transfered into my brain and unless immediate action is taken my life could be over within weeks.

        This was such a bolt out of the blue, as I thought my problem was more muscular than anything and you never ever think these things could or would happen to you, despite my previous experience.

        In truth I do not know if I can beat the disease this time, but I will give it my very best shot. I have a lot of wonderful family and friends and I realise how important they are to me and me to them and I will never give up and I will fight each part of the disease as best I can. And maybe even my experiences will help me as well.

        ==My Care:==

        As I have said my care has been such a positive experience I would love to share some of this with you because put quite simply when dealing with my cancer I have been treated like Royalty by dedicated Heath Professionals who really really care about their patients and provide a level of care I think must be the envy of the world.

        When I was admitted to the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in early November I had no-idea what to expect , how long I would be there or what would happen to me next. I just knew I was very ill and I needed immediate care.

        No sooner than I had arrived I was given updated about my situation the course of action that would be started and while I did not quite get the full picture as I was a little godsmacked I at least took a couple of my sisters who made notes and explained everything to me once the initial shock had warn off and I had started to process information again.

        It was easy to settle into life in the Hospital and I soon found I started to enjoy talking and getting to know all the very kind Nurses and Doctors. Yes you could say these Professionals are busy as they are always administering support, care, medications but despite this they found time to really talk, understand, listen and advise their patients.

        I never ever felt like I was being a nuisence and I even left a bit guilty if I needed help or support as I could see just how busy they all were. But on no occasion did they ever not help or make me feel like I was important to them and my requirements where at the top of their long list of jobs to be done and a priority.

        Over my time in the Hospital and as my drugs started to help my condition improve I got a lot of encouragement not only to talk to the Health Care Professions but also to talk to my fellow cancer sufferers. This I found really helpful as everyone situation was different, as I say my early treatment was mainly drugs but others were being treated for Chemotheropy, operations and Radiotheropy.

        In a sense by listening and understanding eachother we were all encouraging eachother and I found and have made some friends out of this I will defintely be keeping in touch with, as while our treatment was different we shared a lot of personal stuff about our feelings and you realise this illness is not a personal thing and a lot of people are suffering sometimes worse things than you.

        The staff in my Ward 10 at Mount Vernon I think were absolutely fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble and I got all the love, care and support from a group of dedicated professionals who really care about doing the job to the very best standard that is possible. Clearly they do not do it for the money although I would pay them at least x5 as much as they do because in my opinion they deserve it, pure and simple. Never in my life have I felt my well being was as important to anyone as I felt when I was in there and I cannot praise them enough.

        Get this even the food was great. The menues had various choices for each course and the range and quality of the food was excellent. Certainly I have not always been the Healthiest eater but I certainly have learnt more about diet and I intend to have a better, more varied diet in future that can only help my health.
        Time has shifted for me and while I knew I felt so much better, the pains was not as bad, other ailments seemed to be improving. The level of medication seems to have now improved some of my enlarged organs. It was with sadness I left the Hospital as I knew the care and support I had been given was first class. And while I am very lucky that in the short term my sister will be looking after me I will still miss all the lovely chats and fun I had dealing with all these amazing Heath Care Professionals. Who always smile and had a warmth and charm about them I could only admire, like and respect. Plus an exceelent level of humour at all the righttimes to bring a smile to your face.

        ==Conclusion:==

        I really hope the information I have shared with you today has been encouraging. I certainly feel I wanted to send out a postive message and explain how lucky I have been with all my care. In my opinion we have the best Cancer care in the world and I cannot and will not fault it in any way shape or form.

        We are lucky enough to have Consultants, Doctors, Nurses and other Health Professionals that put their patients always first and really care about the job they do. They are so professional in the way they carry out all there duties. Always taking time and trouble to listen to patient worry or concerns despite being so busy.

        I have nothing but respect for all the staff that looked after me. When I was growing up I used to think as the Stranglers once recorded 'No more heroes anymore' well I have a whole new set of heroes and people who looked after me who I consider to be my heroes.

        I am sorry if I have gone on today, this review means a lot to me and in a world were it is easy to be critical for all the bad things that happen it has been important to me to explain my sitiation and show there is always positive happening and hopefully always light at the end of the tunnel.

        ==My update:==

        Yesterday was another important day for me in treatment terms. The Consultant Dr Nathan who is just wonderful and always is honest, explains everthing and very supportive is very pleased with my progress. I feel so much better and the drugs are helping. Too early is say if they working as I will need to wait two more weeks for more tests, but I am quietly confident. As I strongly believe I am getting the best possible treatment for my cancer care and I am very greatful to the wonderful National Heath Service.

        Thanks for reading my review I really hope my positive experiences will help anyone else facing this.

        This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.

        ( c)CPTDANIELS

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          13.10.2013 12:52
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          Enjoyable mystery

          ==Synopsis of the book:==

          D.D.Warren is called in when a respectable family are four are all killed in their home. The only one that survived the father is in a coma having been shot. D.D after some investigation into the families circumstance believes because he recently lost his job and they are struggling to keep their home. However if he will ever be able to talk about what has happened is a big question mark and that seems very unlikely given his present situation. But he appears on only suspect as the family are popular and well liked in the neighbourhood.

          As D.D. Team dig deeper they discover one of the dead children was adopted and spent some time in a paediatric psychiatry ward. The child spent some time there and against medical advise he was discharged by the family. Since then there had been several incidents of evil carried out by the boy in the local area. The visit to the ward brings back horrific memories to one of the Nurses Daniel le Burton who was the sole survivor when her father killed her mother and bother and sister. Since then she has few friends and is devoted to her job of helping Children but the similarities are a cause for concern for D.D. When she investigates the woman's life because of her very unusual reaction to questioning. But what is Danielle's connection or involvement now?

          ==My thoughts on this novel:==

          I found this a very entertaining and enjoyable suspense thriller. It was in my view far from perfect but it was generally well thought out and it literally dripped suspense the whole way through. It is certainly one of those thrillers that had me involved the whole way through and because of the excellent characters created by the author always had me wanting the best for them and wanting the mystery solved and them to return to as normal a life as possible.

          In the past I have struggled with American authors in general. But through reading writers such as Lisa Gardener and Charlaine Harris I now have more confidence in writers from this country. I do not now automatically put a book down because of the they are American I judge them on their summaries and see if the subject matter appeals to me (probably the way it should be!!). Anyway, I have read several stories from this series and loved them all, so when I spied this the 4th in the series that now contains 7, I knew I must read it as soon as I could.

          The first thing that struck me about the book unsurprisingly was its title. I thought it was a good one because it was read in colour and they way it was written made it look like it was blood. I immediately wondered what the author had in store for us and in retrospect I do not think the author could have found a better or more appropriate one. And added to this it almost challenged the reader to survive the book and could this happen to you by the questions it poised.

          So I flipped the book over to see what the summary had to tell me. This was excellent and while it may seem I have given a lot away in my synopsis above, the author gave away far more in hers and this is only a fraction of what is happening in the first part of the story. The author's summary was great and because she shares a few glimpses involving a few of the key characters I think there is something for everyone to reel the potential reader in.

          The story starts with a prologue that takes the reader back 25 years to the family home that Danielle lived in before the rest of her family were murdered. This was quite short at fives pages long but it was full of mystery and suspense as little was given away about what actually happened but it left the reader to believe that her father was responsible for the horrific crime. This start certainly had me interested in Danielle and what happened to her following this incident.

          I found the story very very easy to get into and I enjoyed the authors style of writing. It was full of depth while at the same time only sharing with the reader what she wanted you to see. She successfully builds suspense around all her characters by making them multi dimensional and different from the norm. The only thing that worried me and it often does in the early chapters of a Gardner book is the violence incorporated in the story. Especially as in the first few chapters you have two families basically massacred and this I'm glad to say is not common place and so in a sense hard to appreciate.

          The story was cleverly written and while I had a few different theories it was not until towards the end I thought I knew the answers but as to the why I struggled to figure that out. Maybe the story could have had a few more suspects as there weren't many but the author shared a lot of detail on these as the story developed but still kept important facts back so you could never rule any of them out. I did enjoy the story and I felt a really affinity with some of the characters such as Danielle within it. I think it was because she had been through so much I thought she deserved a better lot than she was being dealt.

          The pace of the story was always fast and because so much happened in a short space of time, I found it was action packed. The only problem I really found was towards the end certain things in the story did not quite make sense. I do not know why this happened as usually every detail is cleverly covered off, but it took some of the gloss of the story for me. I cannot tell you as these are near the end of the story but it made a few things not quite ring true and disappointed me. And while the conclusion was both exciting and nerve tingling I kind of lost faith because of these irregularities which made me question everything that was happening.

          D.D. Warren is the lead character in this series. She is a very feisty lady and I admire the way she approaches her work. And while I do not think she is best character I have ever read about I do enjoy the way the author shares details about her private life and here the author is consistent to dealing with her characteristics and personality. Although for me in this story she was for me the co-star as I found Danielson story fascinating and she took over the starring role. I found I wanted to know all about her and the mysteries that surrounded her life both then and now.

          The stories length was just right to tell what turned out to be a fascinating story again. None of this talented American authors books that I have read have been anything but real suspense mysteries of the highest order. That is why the slight inaccuracies in this one really cheesed me off as I expected the author to have considered everything. With many twists and clever turns in the story so that the finger pointed at different suspects as more or new information was discovered.

          ==Conclusion:==

          I thought this was a very good crime thriller and one I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a twisting mystery. It was in the main well thought out and executed story that had me involved in its development the whole way through. I think this is because of the wonderful character in Danielle the author introduced in this story.

          ==Other information:==

          Paperback version:

          Pages: 448
          Price 7.19
          Publisher: Headline
          ISBN-10: 0755396391
          ISBN-13: 978-0755396399
          Year first published: 2010

          Thank you for reading my review.

          This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

          © CPTDANIELS October 2013.

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            06.10.2013 11:23
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            Disappointing suspense story

            ==Synopsis of the book:==

            Fin Macleod after a long absence has returned to Isle of Lewis. He was born and grew up there before going to University on the main land and joining the Police force. However following the death of his son in a hit and run accident he decides to return home and seek out the ghosts from his past. One of these was his boyhood friend Whistler Macaskill. He is an eccentric man and rather than go to University he decided to remain and basically live of the land.

            Fin's new job is in Security for a rich and powerful landowner. This will bring him into conflict with his old friend as he is a notorious poacher. However soon after meeting after so many years apart these old friends discover a light aircraft that has crashed into a bog many years before. The plane is hardly damaged and only a severe storm has finally revealed this prize. Both men recognise the plane as being that of Roddy Mackenzie who disappeared 17 years before. They were both involved with him in a successful band and now finally his remains can be laid to rest. However, Fin quickly realises this a murder scene and the body they have found that they believe is Mackenzie has been murdered. Can Fin solve this unusual mystery?

            ==My thoughts on this novel:==

            I thought this was a disappointing murder mystery. I had expected much more from it but found it quite dull and hard going to read, enjoy and even get through. For me it dragged on and I found the story carried little interest for me. Although to give the author credit the ending was certainly different and not something I had expected.

            This is the third story in the Lewis trilogy featuring as the lead character Fin Macleod. It was written in 2013 and follows hard on the heals of Peter May's other best sellers in this series. The other two stories I loved and I suppose that is why I am so disappointed with this one,because my expectations where so high. I found little in this story to interest me and while it was full of great detail about the Island and its characters the story never appealed to me in the way the previous one did.

            Although when I read the summary of the story on the rear of it all the ingredients where there for another fascinating story. I liked the concepts it brought up such as a new beginning for Fin and the meeting up with an old very unusual friend. Although I was soon to discover this was not the summary as this was on the inside cover so I do not know what you would call this maybe the pre-summary?

            The real summary was excellent. It was one of the longest I have ever seen being five paragraphs long and full of interesting detail. It talked about Fin's new life, meeting with Whistler and the discovery of the plane with the body in it. If anything it was too long as I think in retrospect the last two paragraphs really were not required. As it would have been nice to discover more in the story itself as this gave for me too much of the story away. Although at this point I wondered why the author had selected the title he had as there were no real clues in the summary and I wondered like the game of chess it would be a cleverly thought out mystery.

            The story began with a prologue. This was very short and just over a page long. It in the context of the story had little relevance to it and I think it was a waste of time even putting this in. The story began with Whistler and Fin discovering the plane with the dead man inside. And while this had impact and get me wondering what had happened I thought it was the wrong start to the third story of this series. My reason for saying this is Fin had not met Whistler in either of the previous books despite him being a key friend when they were both growing up. So I thought a better start would be their reunion after so many years apart. And while this did happen it happened later in the book and as a result seemed a bit disjointed to me anyway.

            This characterised the story for me, although in some respects it did make sense. For example the way it returned to the Band days well over 17 years ago and Fin's relationships with various band members. I found this interesting but it never touched me in the way his previous stories did. I suppose this might be because I know so much more about Fin now and for me his first love and finding out about happened to them has already been dealt with in the previous story.

            On the positive side I did find Whistler a very interesting character. Although a few of the things I found out much later in the story about him I found a little hard to believe bearing in mind his previous characteristics and personality. The story was quite slow and while I had no real idea about any of the solutions to the story it all seem quite laboured getting to the point where the truth would start to reveal itself. Indeed at times I found this story hard going, I think it was the previous stories that get me through and the hope that it would all suddenly click together and I would start enjoying again what I was reading.

            There was always mystery within the story especially as I had no idea where it was going to happen next. Some of the answers to the story impressed me although there still remained something quite unbelievable about it. It was this that bothered me and while the concepts behind the story were all good I failed to really believe in it. Although I did enjoy some of the excellent descriptions of the island and the way the author set the scene, it really made me feel like I was there.

            The concluding chapter for me where the highlight of the story. I liked the answers to the story although again they seemed a little unlikely, especially in relation to Whistler ( you have to read it I will say no more than that!!). The answers always had me foxed until they were explained and I enjoyed the suspense of it all. There was certainly the element of surprise at the end and I never expected it or saw what actually happened happening, if that makes sense!

            Fin clearly is the main character in these stories. He is a strong character and one I had really taken to and liked in the first two books. Although I felt in this one I learnt little about him and there was little to impress me about the way he went about solving this mystery. It was the history of the band and its unusual members that intruded me. And sadly I did not think the author did them justice as he focused just on a couple of them so I never felt I knew or understood them. Something about the band and what they became seemed totally unbelievable especially when Fin arrived and came back from Spain.

            Having really enjoyed the first two books in this series this novel was a huge disappointment to me. I think the author has told the reader enough about Fin and early life, it is time to either move on and focus on someone else or the crimes he gets involved in rather than the man himself. For me the story was much too long and while it did have suspense about it, it was far too long and drawn out and as a result to was hard going.

            ==Conclusion:==

            This is not a crime thriller I can honestly recommend. For me while it was full of detail and well thought out it was also slow going and I found it somewhat unbelievable. The ending of the story was very unexpected but this failed to make up for the slowness throughout it. For me even the leading characters Fin's involvement was disappointing and while previously I had found him very interesting this time he was dull by comparison.

            ==Other Information:==

            Paperback version:

            Pages: 400
            Price: 6.99
            Publisher: Quercus
            ISBN-10: 0857382241
            ISBN-13: 978-0857382245
            Year first Published: 2013
            About the author: www.petermay.co.uk

            Thanks for reading my review.

            This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.

            ©CPTDANIELS October 2013

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            • More +
              29.09.2013 12:38
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              Very interesting and well written mystery

              please note the picture that accompanies this review is incorrect.

              ==Synopsis of the book:==

              A very well preserved body is discovered in a peat bog on the Island of Lewis in Scotland. However, the Police soon find out this body is not hundreds of years old as they first suspected. As the dead man has a tattoo featuring Elvis from 1958 on his arm. Added to their interest is the man has been stabbed several times and his throat has also been cut, clearly he has been murdered. The main clue they have is his DNA matches an old man Tormod Macdonald, who is suffering from Dementia.

              Meanwhile Fin Macleod has quit the Police force and returned to Lewis to start what he hopes is a new life. He plans to try and repair his parents home which has been empty for over 20 years. He very soon bumps into his ex and former sweetheart Marsaili Macdonald, who advises him of the situation with her father who is now in a Care home. He agrees to help her try and find the truth about the mysterious body and how it relates to Tormod. As the old man isn't able to help them as his illness is in the advance stages. The first mystery Fin needs to solve is how can Tormod share his DNA with this man when he has always told his daughter he was an only child? And where does he need to go to start to answer this question?

              ==My thoughts on the novel:==

              I often find if I have really enjoyed the first novel in a series the second can and often is a disappointment. However in this case it was not true at all and I found this to be a very enjoyable read. In many ways I had put off reading the second in the series because I enjoyed the first so much and I never thought this one could be as good, but it was and in one particular way it was better much better but that is because I got some real insight from what I was reading.

              I think I should explain right off why I thought in this one particular aspect it was so good. My father has advanced Dementia and I quite often wonder what he knows and how he sees life. In this story Marsaili's father suffers from this illness and so when the author told the story of how he sees things it really made me think and gave me a little insight into how tough it must be for my Dad, who finds it very difficult to communicate with us. The only problem I have with this fascinating insight I do not know how accurate it is, but at the very least it made me think and try and understand how hard it is for him.

              Currently there are three books in the Lewis trilogy, with this being the second of them from the pen of Peter May. He is a Scottish author whose first in the series 'The Black House' was a best seller. What I enjoyed about that story specifically was it told the story of Fin Macleod and his growing up in Lewis. I found that very interesting and so I wondered what this one would be about and really didn't think it could possibly compare as I knew so much already about the main character. Yes he was still key in it but it instead told the story of his former girlfriends father's life, both from him remembering early parts of it and Fin discovering things about it. It made for a fascinating read.

              I purchased this book from Amazon after reading the summary of the story on there. I had a voucher that had been burning a hole in my pocket and I decided to risk trying this one. I was pleased it was based on Lewis again because I enjoy hearing about the stark but beautiful place and I wondered what the author meant by his title 'Lewis Man'. When the book arrived I was surprised because I wanted to see the summary so I flipped the book over and there was a very short summary of the story, just giving the key points. It sounded quite good but lacked much detail and I too be honest was a little disappointed with it. After that I checked out the inside cover and to my great surprise there was another summary only this time it was much more detailed and really set the scene well for the book.

              The book started in the right vein with a prologue. It was quite short but it told off the discovery of this body superbly preserved in the peat. I immediately wondered if this book would be any good as I like the Police imagined the body was hundreds or even thousands of years old. I just didn't think there would be much of a mystery and I would not be interested in a time so long ago. But I was pleasantly surprised when the body turned out to be far more recent and it would deal with an interesting period of time the 1950's.

              I found I was very quickly absorbed in the story, I think initially because as mentioned above because this elderly man now suffering from Dementia. I wanted to know more about his life and I found it amazing he never told his family about his past. I also found I was enjoying learning more about Fin and characters I had met and learnt about in the first book, this certainly added to my enjoyment. My only question was would I have liked learning more about then had I not read the first in the series and I can't honestly answer that one.

              The story had a really good feel to it and with excellent descriptions of the Island and the characters on it I found it completely absorbing. I think the place sounds amazing and the author clearly has a really understanding of the place. I must admit having enjoyed these two books and I would really like to visit the place to get my own perspective of it. The author makes the descriptions for me come alive and I can practically feel the gales and storms through his wonderful words. There was always a degree of mystery but it was the level of suspense throughout the story that really impressed me.

              The story the whole way through was well paced and always had me gripped. I found I needed to know the old man's story as much as Fin did. It was always fascinating and the story was very unusual and provided me with a new insight to what life must have been like for Children who had lost their parents during this period after the war. For me part of the beauty in this story was learning more about the wonderful new and old characters the author created. I really found the story was well thought out and while towards the end I figured out what happened that is only I think because I read so many thrillers!!

              There were many good twists within the story and things that generally surprised and impressed me. I liked the way the story did not focus on one characters viewpoint but moved around the key characters in the story so that you got an all round view of what was happening. The story was told very effectively so that nothing was given away until it made total sense in the story to do so and the background behind it had been explained.

              I found the ending excellent and while I guessed what had happened I still needed to be told this and the reasoning explained. There was one or two surprises that added spice and excitement to what turned out to be a thrilling ending. I could not fault it although I did think it ended a little bit quickly and it would have been good to have an epilogue to end it all properly. With the length of the story doing justice to the story and their being enough depth in the story to always fascinate me.

              My only worry now is now should I be brave and read the third in the series? Having loved the first two I suppose I should now trust the author and just go for it, but I do wonder how he could improve on these two. And I am really finding it hard to find any fault in this book, so for once I will not try and look for one. Although I must admit I cannot separate the stories in quality as they were both were excellent and in quite contrasting ways.

              ==Conclusion:==

              This is a book I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good suspense thriller. It was well written and always cleverly told. For me personally I enjoyed hearing the perspective of Tormod Macdonald who was suffering from Dementia and how he saw and felt about things as I have never before had such an insight on this illness and it helped me to try and understand some of the frustrations my Dad faces every day.

              ==Other Information:==

              Paperback version:

              Pages: 384
              Price: 3.99 new at Amazon
              Publisher: Quercus
              ISBN-10: 0857382225
              ISBN-13: 978-0857382221
              More about the author: www.petermay.co.uk
              Year first Published: 2012

              Thanks for reading my review.

              This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo

              © CPTDANIELS September 2013.

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                22.09.2013 11:41
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                Good addition to the DCI Banks series

                ==Synopsis of the book:==

                DCI Banks and his team are called in when Detective Inspector Bill Quinn is murdered by an arrow fired from a crossbow. He is in a Police re-habitation centre at the time when he is killed late one night while in the grounds. Quinn has been a Detective for many years and was a respected member of the Force so his death is a nasty surprise following close on the heels of his wife's natural passing.

                However Banks quickly discovers some very incriminating pictures involving the dead man and a young girl in his room at the Centre. This is a real shock as Quinn was devoted to his wife. Banks must now not only find the killer but go deep into the dead man's past to find the truths behind the pictures. His task he believes will not be helped as his boss has told him he must work with Joanna Passero from Professional Standards, as now there is doubt about the dead man and his background must be gone through to find out is he was as honest and trustworthy as he always appeared.

                ==My thoughts on the novel:==

                I thought this was a good crime thriller and a welcome addition to this popular series. That said I do not think it was the best or worst in the series but somewhere in the middle, which for me makes it well worth a read. The thing I liked I think most about this particular novel was the very good and unpredictable twists within the story, that always impressed me especially as I never saw them coming. It is clear to me that Peter Robinson has an excellent imagination and his stories are never dull or repetitive.

                The DCI Banks books are these days best-sellers. With this book being the 20th in a series and a 21st is already planned for this year. And this series is the cornerstone in Robinson's writing Career. As he has additional written 10 other novels that are nothing to do with this series. I would compare his style for those who are not familiar with his writing to other crime authors such and Peter James or Mark Billingham. For me the key ingredient in his stories is they are not simple crime stories more complex stories often with several strands within them that really make the reader think.

                These stories have been quite successfully transferred to television bringing alive DCI Banks and his team to a whole new audience. Being a lover of books I unsurprisingly prefer these in the written format but even I still enjoy seeing the on the small screen. Although now sadly when I do read a Banks novel I do picture him as Stephen Tomkinson who plays him on the television. And in a sense this has for me anyway taken some of the magic away from the character as I had my own image of Banks before and it was nothing like this excellent actor.

                When I knew there was an addition to this series it was only a matter of time till I bought it. I didn't buy it immediately hoping to get it at a better price by hanging on for it. I think I did the right thing as I was able to buy the paperback from Amazon for just shy of four pounds new. And because I had previously enjoyed every book in the series in a sense I bought it blind and did not bother either reading a review of what anyone thought of it or check out the summary to find out what it was all about.

                For me there is still nothing like the feel of getting your hands on a Hardback or Paperback book, that it probably why I will not get a Kindle unless they stop making books in that way of course!! The only frustrated I now had was I had to wait three days for the book to be delivered. But when it did I was immediately impressed, I liked the artwork and the style of the cover. The only thing that having read the book really surprises me is that fact it is not right at all. I will say no more than that it is just odd and makes no sense to me now at all.

                The summary of the story was on the back cover of the book. This I thought was very effective and certainly grabbed my interest as I liked the different ideas and concepts it introduced to the reader. Added to which for a fan of the series it talked about Annie Cabbot returning to the team after having six months off recovering and she has always been one of my favourite characters in the series.

                The story really begins from page one with the discovery of Quinn's body. For me it was a good start and immediately had me involved in what was happening as straight away there was a real mystery that needed solving. The concepts where good this believed good Detective yet now their was real doubt about his character and was he a 'bent copper' after all? Added to this Banks and his team are immediately thrust into the spotlight and there was the new threat to the team as Professional Standards where now interested in the dead man and wanted to investigate alongside them. As these Internal Police Watchdog people are not liked within the force and this really came through in how Banks dealt with them.

                I found this as other books in this series the story was very easy to follow and understand. The author writes in clear concise English, but still always describes the key characters feelings and thoughts really well. The only real complaint I had about the story was it at times seemed a little slow moving and I kept expecting a faster pace and more to being happen given what the Team were now investigating. Yes there was always something to think about and things happening in the story it just at times seemed a little laboured.

                That said I did still thougherly enjoy the story. I think because the subject matter was so interesting and I found I needed to know the truth as badly as those interested parties and the Police did. This book for me was rich in mystery the whole way through and as always I enjoyed the way the Detectives in Banks Team went about their various tasks. This again is a feature I like about these stories that so far has not come across quite as well for me in the television series is the different characters and personalities within the team and the way they must all pull together to get results, so it is not just Banks it is the team he manages that needs to perform to resolve the mystery.

                I particularly enjoyed the conclusion to this story. Not because it was exciting, different or dynamic because it wasn't really. It was regardless of this a fine ending as all the various strands and questions I had were answered and it all made sense in the context of the story. It was more a well thought out conclusion that rounded of a clever Detective story.

                DCI Banks is still the star of the book despite all the valuable input for his team. I like Banks because he is basically a hard-working, intelligent Policeman. He treats all those he comes into contact with respect, except Trading Standards at seems and this made for an interesting read especially as he needed to work closely with this new perceived threat to him. I particularly like that Banks is down to earth and he enjoys creature comforts that we all do such as relaxing at home with his music.

                The books length for me was about right to tell a wonderful story that was full of great detail and
                possibilities. I do not think for one moment I would not enjoy this novel as I have liked all the previous ones. It probably lived up to my expectations without ever exceeding them. The basis for this is good well thought out crime stories that capture the imagination of the reader. I will certainly be looking out for my next 'fix' in the series when it becomes available.

                ==Conclusion:==

                This a crime thriller that I would recommend to all those crime fans who like a good mystery to get their teeth into. It is a good well thought out and twisting story that always had me interested in knowing the truth and wondering what the answers to it were. For me not the best in the series but a welcome addition to a very impressive series.

                ==Other information:==

                Paperback edition:

                Pages: 432
                Price: 3.85
                Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
                ISBN-10: 1444704893
                ISBN-13: 978-1444704891
                Year first published: 2012
                More about the series: www.inspectorbanks.com

                Thanks for reading my review.

                This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.

                © CPTDANIELS Septembr 2013.

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                  15.09.2013 11:45
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                  Trouble in the Country

                  ==Synopsis of the book:==

                  Daniel Whelan receives a request for help from a haulage company in Wiltshire, he is more than happy to oblige. This former ex-Police dog handler is now a truck Driver in Devon and this haulage company needs help as their owner is in a coma and two of his drivers have walked out. So he leaves his home with his German Shepherd dog Taz. However before he has even got to the site he is warned off by two local men who object to strangers coming into this rural setting and in their opinion at least causing trouble.

                  Despite this warning he decides he must try and help find out what is happening at this company. And he quickly discovers life there is far from perfect as the co-owner Jenny is having a massive argument with the man called Taylor who is helping her manage this part of the business on a day to day basis. Things are tough from Jenny as not only is her husband very ill in hospital but she is struggling to manage the farm and the haulage business plus bringing up her two children as well. Daniel is keen to help and quickly discovers there are several unpleasant characters in the vicinity and he is keen to find out what happened to Jenny's husband that night that left him in a coma.

                  ==My thoughts on this book:==

                  I found this quite an entertaining crime thriller and one that was an interesting read. In truth I cannot say this was as good as some of the more complex thrillers I have read as this was a comparitively short book. However size is not always everything so I am told!! and I found it an easy thriller to read without perhaps the depth or the many twists within the story that I have come to expect. So for me it was reasonable story that did not really challenge me as a reader and one that despite what turned out to be a difficult subject matter (for me anyway!) I did find entertaining.

                  This is the second in the series of stories written by the English author Lyndon Stacey. I have read the first in this series too and that was probably one of the contributory factors in me buying this one. I like the concept behind this series of a former Police dog-handler who has left the force with a bit of a cloud over his name and is now trying something different. I think I really like this series because of the involvement of his German Shepard Taz as I love stories that involve animals especially when they are as involved in the story as he was. And while this is the second in the series I do not think it matters if you read this one before the other as they are very self contained stories.

                  What I particularly like about this series is despite these stories not being particularly long, there is still some excellent descriptions particularly of this lovely rural setting the story is set in. This really helps me visualize the scene and brings it all to life for me. Thus showing a novel does not have to be over 500 pages to be entertaining as long as the story is well thought out and has some good concepts it can be just as enjoyable to read.

                  The first thing that struck me when I noticed this book was the unusual title I wondered what the author was thinking about and in hindsight I do think this was a good one for this story. It certainly got me curious so I flipped the book over but instead on the rear of it I found compliments for the author's previous boo, which was no use as I have already read it!! The summary I found on the inside cover and I basically cannot fault it. As it was a good size and set the scene very well for the reader and I suppose taken with my previous enjoyment of the last book persuaded me to buy it.

                  As soon as I started reading the book I found myself very interested in the story. I thought the concept behind it was excellent and I it was very easy to get into and want to know more about what was going on. And while the story told the reader a little about some of the failures in Daniel Whelan's life it did not dwell on the past, dealing far more with what was happening now to and around him. Added to which I found the story good as their was a real sense of suspense throughout it and seemingly around every corner danger was lerking.

                  If I have a complaint about the book was there was a basic lack of mystery about it. I like stories where you need to work out the guilty parties but in this one it was obvious very early on in it so that bit of fun was taken away from the reader. Although you could say there was mystery as to why certain things where happening around the Haulage company but who was responsible was never in doubt. So while rich in suspense for me it was poor in mystery.

                  I enjoyed the way the story developed. It always had a good pace about it and I liked that it involved not only Taz his dog but also Piper the horse he rode from the local stable and other animals were present throughout it. For me there was always something happening in the story and it was usually involving ganger which made it and exciting read. Added to which while there were not too many twists in the story the ones the author did employ where unexpected and well thought out.

                  I always felt the story was leading somewhere and I was impressed with the concluding chapters to it. As it was fast paced and exciting and even here there was a touch of the unexpected to enjoy. For me in exciting novels the ending can be a damp squid but this one lived up to the same quality that had preceded it and made it a worthy ending. Admittedly I would have liked a epilogue as I wanted to know what happened next to some of the key characters within the story but I guess of this occasion I will simply have to decide for myself.

                  Daniel Whelan is in many ways the unlikely lead character in the story. I say that because in the past things really have not gone right for him, with a failed marriage and career already behind him he is literally picking up the pieces of his life. This to me makes him very human and he seems a down to earth character who just wants to help people out while earning a regular income. I like the way he interacts with animals particularly his dog Taz. Although I am not sure I would have the guts to do what he did in this story so its fair to say I quite admire his courage as well.

                  For me the length of this story was just about right to tell what turned out to be a very enjoyable story. Yes it could have been longer maybe with more twists within it but for what it was it was a good read. I think it took me four evening to read so from that point of view it was a nice quick story that I found easy to pick up each evening from where I had left it the night before. Sadly for me at this point in time there are no additional stories in this series to add to this one which was first published in 2011.

                  ==Conclusion:==

                  I would certainly recommend this an enjoyable and very well written thriller. It was quite a short story but it was still for of great suspense and excitement practically the whole way through it. For me this book is ideal if you don't want to have to think too much about what is happening as the clues within it are blindingly obvious so any mystery is taken away from it. That said I enjoyed it all the way through as I did the previous story and feel in lead character Daniel Whelan and Taz the author has hit upon a winning and unusual lead characters that make these stories stand out from other crime stories.

                  ==Other Information:==

                  Paperback format:
                  Pages: 224
                  Price 11.99 New at Amazon
                  Publisher: Severn House
                  ISBN-10: 1847514103
                  ISBN-13: 978-1847514109
                  Year first published: 2011
                  More about the author: www.Lyndon-stacey.com

                  Thanks for reading my review.

                  This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.

                  © CPTDANIELS September 2013.

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                    08.09.2013 13:19
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                    First class mystery

                    ==Synopsis of the book:==

                    Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is finally returning home. After almost 18 years in Edinburgh he is returning to the Isle of Lewis where he was born. However he has no desire to go back but he is required because of a murder that has be committed there. And while on normal occasions other more Senior Officers would deal with it, this time the way the murder has been done bares similarities to a case Macleod has been working on in Edinburgh.

                    The dead man was also once known to him and along with his brother used to bully Fin and his friends at school. Now he must go back to the places he once knew well and visit former friends he has not seen in many many years to try and find out who murdered this still unpopular man. And in so doing come face to face with his past and the two childhood friends that once meant everything to him that he left behind and remained routed on the Island without him.

                    ==My thoughts on the novel:==

                    I found this a very enjoyable and well thought out murder mystery. It certainly was a lot better than I thought and I was very pleased I had selected it. In recent weeks because of studying and harder work commitments I have selected what I consider easier mysteries that are generally shorter and have less depth. But this week I thought it was time I read a more complex story. The result was for me a more satisfying read and one I could really get my teeth into.

                    Before I was given this book as a present I had never heard of Peter May. Ok that is not strictly true as I remember the famous cricketer Peter May. But this is clearly not him, so I did not have a clue what to expect from this novel. Peter May is a Scottish writer born in 1951. So far he has written 19 novels, of these there are three so far in this series called the Lewis Trilogy. With this novel being the first of them and it was originally published in 2011. For me based on this novel I would compare his style to Peter James or Stephen Booth.

                    This first thing that struck me about the book was it all looked a bit bleak. The cover was grey with no colour and it showed what looked like an old house all on its own. It looked interesting to me and I wondered what secrets this Black House would hold. So I flipped the book over to see the summary of it. This sounded very good and I loved the idea of this Detective returning to his former home to confront his ghosts from the past. Although when I look at this now I do feel in trying to generate interest in the book the author probably gave a little too much away, certainly more than I have done in my brief summary of it.

                    I have to admit to not really knowing what is going on at the moment, as I seem to be reading mainly books about Scotland or its Islands lately. As I have read several Hamish Macbeth stories set in the Highlands and also Ann Cleeves stories set on different Islands in Scotland. I do find this Islands history fascinating and I love the way they have developed very differently from other areas of the country. But I think it is pure chance that I have been reading so many of them recently.

                    When I started this book I was initially a little put out. I felt I this book was a follow on from a previous story as the main character Detective Fin Macleod seemed in the middle of a crisis. This I later found was not the case, yes he was in a crisis but indeed this is the first in this series of stories. It just felt odd when things I did not know the history of where happening to him. However as I got more into the story I found this did not stop my enjoyment but it kept me wanting to know more about this man and his childhood. Luckily the author recalled stories of this that made sense and allowed you to understand him better and what secrets and important events that had shaped his life.

                    I found I really liked the concept of this man coming home after all this time and they way he was not sure what sort of reception he would get. I felt empathy with him as while the landscape basically remained the same the people where so much older. Indeed I found myself wanting to know everything about his two best friends Marsaili and Artair and why they had stayed on the Island and not tried to keep in touch with him.

                    The story had a really good feel to it as not only was it a murder mystery; it was also a story about friendship, love, secrets, deceit and lies. It had almost everything and it was very carefully wrapped up so that you could only see what the author wanted you to see. And while all this was going on there was still enough emphasis on the murder that kept you realising that was why Fin was there and that his task was still to find a killer. I am not a man who believes in happy endings in novels but from reading some of this one I really wanted Fin and Marsaili to somehow find happiness as they did together in various times when they were growing up.

                    In truth there were not that many suspects within the story who could have done this murder and added to this there was only one person who was upset by this man's death. But by having fewer suspects you could focus better on them and find out more about them and how their lives was also changed by what happening in their childhood. The characters were easy to recognise because not only where they well described by the author but they also their personalities really came across through excellent writing.

                    And while I thought a lot of all the vivid detail the author provided the reader with in one respect it was too much. That was the post mortem which I felt was too graphic and left me feeling that there was too much detail here. Maybe some would like it but I prefer to be given a very basic overview of it. Especially as it was not a simple murder but I suppose because of the key point that the murder was similar to one he was working on in Edinburgh it had to be done.

                    I found all the way through the story I did not have a clue what direction the story would take. As by visiting his old school friends he would bring to light important events that he had shared with them and you were never sure if these were important because of what happened or if they had an influence on what was to happen in the future. Either way it made for an intriguing read and one I really did not want to end as I was immersed in it.

                    With the last few chapters of the book being exciting and where the truth was uncovered. I had not expected it which is always a bonus but it was written in such a way that you never could be sure if the ending would be good or bad. The ending in many ways lived up to my expectation and while not questioning quite all my questions as it left a few possibilities for the next novel in the series, it still left me very satisfied that this was a very well thought out story with practically everything imaginable in it.

                    Clearly Fin Macleod was the novels main character and what I particularly liked about him was the mistakes he made in his life. He is very far from perfect and I liked the way he let people down and did some silly things. It just made him human and I liked what he did most of the time as I could see why he was doing it. Although it was not possible until the very end to understand it all clearly. I just wish the author could have shared more of Marsaili's thoughts as she appeared to be a wonderful character.

                    The novels length to me was just right to tell a fascinating and very different mystery. And while I have brought up a few small areas that I did not find satisfactory overall I thought it was an excellent story. Based on this I will certainly be looking to read another from this author in the coming weeks to see how it compares with this one.

                    ==Conclusion:==

                    I think this is one of the best thrillers I have read in a long time. It was superbly written with so much depth and thought that I always felt I was there in the middle of the story. I found myself richly entertained and completely enjoying the clever story all the way through. Any slight disappointments with it do not detract from what was a first class murder mystery and one I would recommend to any crime fans.

                    ==Other Information:==

                    Paperback Version:
                    Pages: 432
                    Price: £5.03 New at Amazon
                    Publisher: Quercus
                    ISBN-10: 1849163863
                    ISBN-13: 978-1849163866
                    Year of first publication: 2011
                    More about the author: www.petermay.co.uk

                    Thanks for reading my review.

                    This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name

                    ©CPTDANIELS September 2013.

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                      01.09.2013 11:48
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                      Very average murder/mystery

                      ==Synopsis of the book:==

                      Two young students, Hattie and Sophie are working on an archaeological dig in the Island of Whalsay in the Shetland Islands. They have been working for several weeks on the site and very quickly found a very old skull that looks like it been there hundreds of years. The girls are doing this work as volunteers for their Ph.D. This land is beautiful, but bleak and the girls are very pleased to have an old lady Mina whose land the work is being carried out on for support and friendship.

                      However this old lady is shot one night in what appears to be a tragic accident. As Ronald Clouston having had a few beers decides to go out and shoot a few rabbits. This brings Detective Jimmy Perez to investigate and with some reservations he agrees that this distraught man must have somehow lost his bearings and inadvertently shot her. However Jimmy is surprised at the silence that his work is met by and he soon starts to feel there is more than meet the eye with these old families and the secrets they are holding.

                      ==My thoughts on the novel:==

                      Generally I thought this was quite a good Detective story. And to that end there were features I liked about it and others that disappointed me about it. For me it was good to get back to a more serious crime thriller as the last few weeks I have reviewed several that have been less detailed and lacking the depth to challenge or make the reader think. As this book certainly did and as a result there was always mystery about it as both the Detectives and I tried to find the truth as to what was going on on this remote Scottish Island.

                      For me that is one of the beauties of this series of stories their location. The series has has now five stories within it, with this being the third published in 2009. I really enjoy learning about these amazing Islands with their unusual traditions and very different way of life. The author really excels at describing the countryside showing both its beauty and its starkness. I often feel through her words I understand what it is like to live within these communities and I find myself intruged by them.

                      This is the fourth story of the five that I have read so when I purchased this one I had a fair idea what to expect. I like crime thrillers that are different in some way from the norm either the Detective or the setting and these stories certainly have a very different and amazing setting. I do not know what knowledge the author Ann Cleeves has of the Islands but she certainly describes it vividly. It is a real pleasure to pick up a book from this series as it is so different and for me still fresh. In total Ann has written 26 novels although the majority of these have been within four separate series, with her specialism being crime fiction. I would probably compare her writing style to Peter Robinson or Ann Granger.

                      It was not a difficult choice to but this book when I spotted it in the Charity Shop last week. Having enjoyed all the previous novel in this series I bought this one with some confidence that it would be a good thriller and one that would would entertain and make me think. For me those are the best thrillers that involve the reader and make them think about what they are reading and ask questions about what is happening. Added to this my copy had a compliment by one of my favourite authors on the front cover so I thought it Peter James likes this then I probably will to as I love this thrillers.

                      What is slightly unusual of the first four books is they all have a colour in their title and while the author in my opinion does not exploit this angle enough it is certainly different. The summary of the story is shorter than mine above and gives much more away than mine too. It is just a few lines long but has impact and really brings out some of the threads within the story. For me it gives a little too much away and I felt he could have created as much mystery and suspense by talking about the two girls at the dog and the old woman Mina whose land they are working on. That said it certainly did not put me off.

                      The first thing I really noticed when I started reading the story was how easy it was to get into. Although in hindsight I do question the need for the short first chapter of the birth of a boy to one of the traditional families of Whalsay. The chapters tended to be short and snappy and this is always a good thing for me as long drawn out ones often lose their impact on me and I lose concentration. I liked the start to the story as it was quite different as the author sort to explain exactly what was happening on the Island.

                      Although I must admit I did struggle to remember exactly who was who and who was related to who in which family. To my disappointment this did not get any easier the further I read into the story and I found I needed more help and guidance than I really got from the author. In many ways this changed what could have been a very good story just into a good one. As I think this meant I missed clues and as the story unfolded I found I was way behind the Detective and wondering how he managed to work certain things out.

                      The story though had a good feel to it and I enjoyed the way the author does not just right from the main Detectives viewpoint. This allows the reader to understand and appreciate why certain characters are acting as they are and what is behind their actions. I think the writer is very good at this. Added to which she does not give much away about them thus creating a bit of mystery around them all.

                      I enjoyed the pace of the story and because it was well written I had no idea what would happen next within it. It was just enjoyable the way different strands were brought into it and some were discarded as the story moved on. The story had a few surprises along the way but for me at least no really clever twists that I always enjoy. It all made sense without stimulating or making me feel I was reading something unique.

                      Although I did enjoy the ending of the book. I liked the conclusion and I was very grateful that Perez explained it in enough detail for me to clearly understand. It maybe lacked the fast pace that I expected but it was thick in mystery and suspense and I did not have a clue what was going to happen. And yet maybe if the author had helped me more so I remembered who was related to who then it would have been better for me.

                      Detective Jimmy Perez is the series main character. I find him a very down to earth character and one it is easy to relate to and also like. For me he is quite an old fashioned Detective as he goes about digging and using his intelligence, knowledge and skill to try and solve mysteries. However in this one while he was involved I liked the way he used a junior colleague who knew the people far better than he did to help him. This I enjoyed because this man in some ways was a bit of a loose canon.

                      I thought the books length was spot on to tell an interesting and at times gripping story. And while I do not necessarily think it was quite as good as some of the others in the series I still enjoyed it. Especially learning more about this unusual Island and its people who live a very different life from the majority of us. The story was always good without being fascinating.

                      ==Conclusion:==

                      I would on balance just about recommend this thriller. However I would say that for me there are better stories in this series than this one. My main problem was understanding and remembering who was who and who they were related to and as this was an important aspect in the Island life it was a problem for me. Maybe I should have concentrated more!! Although I did really enjoy the insight into what it was like to live on this amazing Island.

                      ==Other Information:==

                      Paperback format:

                      Pages: 340
                      Price: 5.59 new at Amazon
                      Publisher: Pan Books
                      ISBN-10: 0330448269
                      ISBN-13: 978-0330448260
                      Year first published: 2009
                      More about the author: www.anncleeves.com

                      Thanks for reading my review.

                      This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

                      © CPTDANIELS September 2013

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                        25.08.2013 12:24
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                        Death at the Hog Roast

                        ==Synopsis of the book:==

                        Following a poor Christmas for the shops in the Cotswolds area of Carsley the people decide to throw a celebratory hog roast to attract more tourists to the area. Agatha Raisin decides to support this idea with her friend from work Toni. However trouble as always follows this middle age amateur Detective and she notices the spit pig is actually a dead man as Agatha. The Police are immediately called as Agatha noticed the charred body had a tattoo on it.

                        The Police quickly discover the dead man is one of their own an unpopular Policeman called Gary Beech. This brings Mrs Raisin into the frame as he recently ticketed her twice and she proclaimed only a few days before that she would like to kill this horrible man. Luckily her reputation as a local character and a private investigator helps her get quickly illuminated from the enquiry. But no sooner has this happened by the dead mans ex-wife contacts her Agency asking her to find out who killed him.

                        ==My thoughts on this novel:==

                        I found this a gentle but quite enjoyable murder mystery. It was certainly not the most complex thriller I have ever read but there was always enough happening within it to keep me interested. For me a feature of this series is they are quite simple stories that always have more than a touch of humour within them and this story was no different from that. For me they are an easy read as the concept within the story and the investigation itself is never to difficult to follow.

                        At the time of writing there are 23 books in the Agatha Raisin series, with this being the penultimate story, which was first published in 2011. This English author M.C.Beaton in addition to this very popular series has also written the Hamish MacBeth series of mysteries. These have additionally been transferred to television. I have read and enjoyed both series and I particularly like the settings the author uses MacBeth stories are set in the Highland of Scotland and the Raisin ones in a village in the middle of the Cotswolds.

                        I selected this story basically because I have enjoyed about half a dozen of these stories so far but not recently so I thought it was time I tried another one in the series. These are light hearted thrillers that do not take themselves too seriously and even the lead character is often the butt of the humour within the story. This story was no different and through excellent descriptions from the author I can feel and picture the funny scene she is involved in.

                        What initially attracted me to this book was the unusual cover. It had a picture of a pig on a roast with an apple in its mouth and a tattoo on its back above a fire. It was tastefully done and had an element of wit within it. I flicked the book over to find out what it was about but instead of finding the summary I found general praise for this series by various publications. Once again for someone who knows this series this is irrelevant as I would much rather read about what people thought specifically about the book I am about to read.

                        I found the summary of the story on the inside cover. If I hadn't decided I would purchase this book before this certainly sold me it. It was a good two paragraphs long and set the scene for the story very well. I liked the tongue in cheek humour within it and looked forward to learning what mischief Agatha Raisin would get into in this novel. As there seemed plenty going on in the summary and I really liked the concepts raised by it.

                        When I started reading the story I found it very easy to get into. I certainly think it helps that I have read several of the series so I have a good idea what to expect and I know the main characters quite well within it. What really appeals to me about this series is the lead character within the story despite being a good Private Investigator is very human. By this I mean she is far from perfect and this really endears her to me as she will do silly things and make mistakes. That can be very funny and entertaining for the reader.

                        I liked the way the story developed although I did feel I was not reading anything new within it. Indeed at times I did wonder if I had read this story previously as it seemed strangely familiar. However having said that it was always interesting and I never knew what the strange twists and turns the author would employ next. As I never had a clue what would happen next in the story and I always think that is a bonus as I like to be surprised.

                        The story had a good feel and good pace about it. It was very easy to read and while I enjoyed it I did not feel it stretched me when I was reading it and made me think too much about what was happening or why. Yes it was still enjoyable and entertaining it just lacked the complex story that many murder mysteries have. Which is fine if you want an easy thriller that will not make you think too much and is made up with various levels of humour within it.

                        At certain times in the story I found what I was reading impossible to believe. I will try not to give to much away but it involved a kidnap and a natural event. It for me detracted from the story and even made me consider stop reading because it was so hard to believe in. Luckily I stuck with it and I did enjoy the rest of the story, again it was at times a little hard to believe in. At least we did get an exciting ending and during this all the lose ends were resolved within the story.

                        Within this series and this book there are several characters that appear in all of them. Of course there is the lead character Agatha Raisin who is always entertaining, sometimes annoying, sometimes funny and sometimes even intelligent. She is a one off who cannot do anything quietly and seems to attract mischief and action. I still an not sure if I like her personally but she is always worth reading about and I like her adventures. She is supported by an array of colourful characters and I enjoy the way she interacts with them.

                        The books length was about right to tell an entertaining story. Yes you could argue that it lacked depth within it, but for me the story like Agatha Raisin never takes itself too seriously and was an enjoyable yarn. There was in theory suspense and mystery within it but for me this never flowed as what was happening within the story and the humour within it seemed far more prevalent. For my money this would be the idea story for a holiday not too deep just a well thought out thriller with humour within it.

                        ==Conclusion:==

                        On balance I would just about recommend this crime thriller. My reasoning is based on the concepts behind the story and the unexpected way the story developed. Added to which I enjoyed the subtle and not so subtle humour within it. Maybe as a result of this I did not find the murder and trying to find out who was responsible for it that interesting or important. For me it was an mystery that was light hearted and not to complex but always easy to read.

                        ==Other Information:==

                        Paperback version:
                        Pages: 208
                        Price: 4.89
                        Publisher: Robinson
                        ISBN-10: 1780331606
                        ISBN-13: 978-1780331607
                        Year first published: 2011

                        Thanks for reading my review.

                        This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo

                        © CPTDANIELS August 2013

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                          18.08.2013 11:19
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                          Interesting period story

                          ==Synopsis of the book:==

                          The year in 1902, the location is Bath. Daisy is working as a housemaid for a wealthy, old and bedridden man called Montague Pennington. She is only seventeen years old but enjoys her duties within this very traditional old family. However what she doesn't yet know is this like many wealthy families has secrets and these secrets are kept deep within the families history that would not normally be shared with the lower classes.

                          Daisy looks forward to the weekly letter the Housekeeper and superior Miss Dutton receives from her mother as it usually brings interesting news. However on this occasion when Daisy is sorting the post the handwriting is different. Miss Dutton is shocked to find a neighbour has written to her as her mother has broken her leg and is in hospital. She decides she must immediately leave her employment, take her mother out of the hospital and nurse her. This leaves Daisy to look after old Monty on her own. So after consulting him she phones his sister and sister-in-law to advise them of the situation and hopefully enlist their help to find a replacement.

                          ==My thoughts on this novel:==

                          I found this quite an enjoyable piece of period fiction. I know this is very hard to believe but I have grown a bit bored with the usual crime thrillers I usually buy. So when I was searching for a new book this week I did not look for a thriller. Instead I headed for the fiction section in my local charity shop, which has a vast array of quality books. I selected this one on the basis of wanting something new and different.

                          In my time I have read quite a few period stories and find I either love or hate them. If I can relate to the characters, it is well written and it is a subject that interests me then I will enjoy it, however it is quite hard to satisfy all the criteria. I think there is a real art to written period stories and bringing them alive to the reader. So from my experience this is not a skill that can simply be picked up, a lot of research is required plus an understand of what it was like to live during the period you are writing about, for me Pamela Oldfield achieved this in this novel.

                          Pamela Oldfield is not a writer I am familiar with. This when I looked into it is hard to believe because this author has written a total of 88 novels so far in her writing career. With this being one of her latest stories being first produced in 2010. From my own view point the closest authors I can compare this English writer to Kate Sedley or Anne Perry.

                          The front cover of my copy which was a hardback version showed a very traditional grand looking house slightly obscured by trees. I wondered what the author had in mind with the books title but I quickly surmised it was the name of the main family in the story. I looked on the back cover of the book for the summary of the story but instead found general praise for the authors work. And being a new reader to a Pamela Oldfield I did find this quite useful but I would have preferred it to be about this book specifically.

                          The summary of the story was on the inside cover of the book and it was the feature that persuaded me to purchase the book without doubt. It was excellent, only two paragraphs long but a very good size and I really liked the concepts the author introduced the reader to. I liked the idea of this letter arriving and really having an effect on not only Daisy but the Penningtons as well. It was this that made me purchase the book for just one pound fifty. As I liked the idea of this very young lady trying to deal with all this additional responsibility with little or no experience. For example she had never been allowed to use the phone in the house before or cook any meals.

                          Once I started reading I found the story very easy to get into and I liked the style and the way the story started unfolding. I found I instantly took to Daisy as despite her age she seemed a very caring about her employer and keen to do her very best for her given the new situation she found herself in. I found I was very interested in what would happen and at this moment I had no idea as to what direction the story would take. The only thing I knew was that Daisy was entering new and dangerous ground as while Monty was fine with her helping out more at the house, his sister and sister-in-law both seemed to have other agendas.

                          I found the longer I read the story the more I liked the variety of characters within it. They were excellently explained and described so you really understood their characters. While I got annoyed with the way Daisy was treated by the family I did need to remember it was a very different time and being a domestic help was not far from being a servant and what was expected of them. I found it an interesting story and I thought it had so many different possibilities of the various directions it could possibly go in.

                          The story had a few good twists and turns within it that added to the quality of the story. The only real criticism I had was I felt what was going to happen in the end was a little to telegraphed. So for me what was going to happen was obvious, but I need confirmation that I was correct in my deductions. Sadly I was and so I had a fair idea what the conclusion of the story was going to be like. I think the author while making a few things obvious could have added one or two late twists in the story, which would have challenged me a bit more.

                          The story did have quite a lot of mystery about it and on different levels within the story. I enjoyed this mystery as while I knew or thought I knew some of the answers one key thing I did not know at the time. Added to this there was suspense within the story and given the very different period we were dealing with it meant any solution to this would also be very different. Any while for me the concluding part of the story was predictable it was good to see it all come together and make sense.
                          Even though I would have preferred something unexpected.

                          At times I did think of this story as being a bit of a 'chic lit'. I am not sure how you would describe what one of these these books is. Yes there was a bit of a blossoming love story within it. But for me it was not one because the story was not written from just one characters (Daisy) view point. So we got to understand and see the world through other members of the Pennington family eyes. This for me gave the story a more believable more rounded real to it as I got to understand what they were feeling and why.

                          The leading character in the story was Daisy. I found her a very likeable character, I think to start with it was because she was so up against it and I admired the way she went about dealing with the new challenges she faced. This got me on her side and I liked the way she handled herself and the way she dealt with the various members of the family who were often not very nice to her. I felt Daisy deserved better although I was surprised at how naïve she seemed on various matters while in other ways she seemed quite street wise. It for me was an odd contradiction but one that did endear me to her.

                          The stories length was just right to tell an interesting story. My copy was only 188 pages long and when I looked at this list price for the hardback version was a shade under 20 pounds this seemed too expensive given the story was so short. For me this story was made enjoyable because not only was it well written but also the mystery that surrounded the Pennington family and their past. I think given the quality of this author's work I will be looking to try another story in the coming weeks and see how it compares with this one.

                          ==Conclusion:==

                          This was a period story that I would recommend as a worthy read. I found the concepts behind it very good and there was always enjoy in the story to make to an interesting read. It was good to learn a little more about life in the early part of the 1900's. The only thing that disappointed me was it was a little predictable and I knew most of the answers quite early on in the story so there was little to surprise or impress me.

                          This book is available in Hardback, Paperback and Kindle Editions.

                          ==Other Information:==

                          Hardback version:
                          Pages: 188
                          Price: 19.94 New at Amazon
                          Publisher: Severn House
                          ISBN-10: 0727899457
                          ISBN-13: 978-0727899453
                          Year first Published: 2010

                          Thanks for reading my review.

                          This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

                          © CPTDANIELS August 2013.

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                            11.08.2013 11:08
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                            Amusing tale

                            ==Synopsis of the book:==

                            Christmas is rapidly approaching in the quiet town of Lochdubh in the Highlands of Scotland. However there is little Christmas cheer in the air as many of the residents refuse to celebrate this time of year and so few signs can be found of this special time of year. Especially as thieves have stolen the big Christmas tree and all the lights from a nearby village. This brings Police Constable Hamish Macbeth into investigate, in an attempt to bring a little cheer back to this stark looking place.

                            Hamish already was trying to find a lonely and unpopular spinsters cat. The lady, Mrs Gallagher had made little effort to get on with the local people and very much kept herself to herself. Hamish is surprises by her very careful security and the fact this women seems afraid of something but when questioned about it she just gets angry with him. He agrees to try and help her find her pet but realistically isn't sure what he can do other than enlist some school Children to help and put up a missing poster. Hamish himself is dreading Christmas as having split up from his girlfriend he too feels the Christmas message is lost on him and all those around him.

                            ==My thought on the novel:==

                            I found this to be a gentle but enjoyable crime mystery. However it is one of the shortest mysteries that I think I have ever read. It professes to be 192 pages long in paperback format but the last 40 or so pages are an introduction to the next story in the series, so in honest I felt a little short changed when I completed it. Especially as I had already read the one that was being introduced to the reader. It made me wonder with short a short story why it was not expanded upon or put with another short story that the author could have made up.

                            Anyone who has recently read my reviews will know I have reviewed several stories from the Hamish Macbeth series. There are currently 29 books in this series and this was the 16th of them first published in 1999. This series has also been successfully transferred to television, which is where I first heard of this character. For me the books are better as there is far more humour in them and for me more seemed to be happening in them. This author M.C.Beaton has also written another 23 stories in the equally popular Agatha Raisin series of mysteries.

                            I have been studying these pasts few weeks and I have a few more weeks to go, so for my read this week I did not want anything to complex or heavy. I knew I wanted a crime thriller as those are my favourite types of book but it would need to be an easy read. That is basically why I purchased this paperback as experience in this series has taught me these tend to be well thought out stories that do not challenge the reader too much, almost to me like a holiday book that is light and you do not have to concentrate to much to follow and enjoy it.

                            Before I bought the book I as I always do read the summary to see what it was all about. This book is slightly different from the rest of the Hamish Macbeth series as all the rest in their titles start with 'Death of '. So I hoped given the title it was not of Father Christmas!! I flicked the book over to look for the summary but instead I found general praise for this series of stories from three separate sources, nice but not that much use to someone who has read several of the series so far!! But useful if this is your first introduction to these stories as it gives a little of the favour you can expect.

                            For me the summary was nearly as long as the story itself!! Yes I am being very sarcastic when I say that but the summary was an excellent length and really set the scene for the story itself. It was three good sized paragraphs long and if anything it gave a little too much of what was happening in the Highlands that Macbeth was responsible for. As there was little else going on but what the author had told us in this summary.

                            The story was very easy to get into and I like the relaxed and informative way the author brings the reader right up to date with what is happening both in Lochdubh and in Hamish's life be it his work or private life. This makes the book very easy to enjoy practically from the first page and despite the shortness of the story the author does not scrimp on descriptions of both this beautiful and stark place and the scene Hamish is involved in.

                            While at the same time I do criticise the author for the fact there is not the depth and the amount of twists in the story. As this story was once again set upon some great concepts but the author could easily have introduced more mystery more goings on that would have made it longer and more complex. But then I was looking for an easy read, the author really cannot win!! The story certainly needed more twists than it got and I kept expecting a good twist or something my dynamic to happen.

                            That is not to say I did not enjoy this story. I found I had completed it in absolutely no time at all and I had still been entertained by it. I just felt with a title like the book had there was an opportunity to create a more involved story showing the differences between a Highland Christmas and a more traditional one and that the author did not do this as well as she could have done. That said I enjoyed it and it was a well paced story throughout.

                            As with all stories in this series there was a fair amount of humour within it. Sometimes it was at Hamish Macbeth's expense but it was always cleverly told and I really do appreciate the sometimes subtle wit that comes through. Added to this I do think the writer described these funny situations very well and she often has me chuckling at what is happening, without taking anything away from the seriousness of the mystery.

                            The story for me flowed very nicely and all the strands of it came together very well. The conclusion I think was my favourite bit as although there was not quite the level of mystery in this story there were still things that Hamish needed to resolve or try to. There were other things additionally happening and these were all excellently brought to a close involving some Christmas cheer and was in keeping with the characters and their personalities within the story.

                            Hamish Macbeth is clearly the main character in the story. I always find him an entertaining character, I think in part because either he or the locals seem to take him too seriously. You can laugh at his antics at times and the way the locals think of him. I like the way he uses his intelligence to solve mysteries and the way he goes about his business. There is always humour involving him and I love his very poor relationship with his boss as this is also usually very amusing. He is basically a good honest chap who wants to do the job to the best of his abilities and is not interested in career progression.

                            One feature I always find very amusing and sometimes a little baffling in Hamish relationships. He nearly always seems to be single but there are always ladies that are trying to change that status. He quite often seems oblivious to the fact and the more the lady tries to get closer to him the more humorous the outcome. It certainly adds an extra dimension to the story and makes me wonder if this will be the lady that Hamish will finally marry and settle down with. Added to this because I have read quite a number of the books in this series I have also got to know some of the people that appear in many of these books, these are generally good characters with again certain mannerisms that make them noticeable and often quite funny.

                            I was very pleased with my choice of book this week as I wanted a good mystery that was not too involved and that is exactly what I got. And having read and enjoyed many of this series I am sure I will continue to do so until I have completed them all. For me a very readable piece that is made very entertaining by all the humour within it.

                            ==Conclusion:==

                            I found this a good and entertain g crime thriller and one I would recommend is you enjoy this style of book and do not want a too demanding or as I would call it a simple read. For me the best part of these stories is the humour within them but they are also accompanied by a good concept that needs some investigation by Hamish. On the down side I did feel this story was too short and I felt a little cheated that there was so much of the next story in the series told her, especially when I have already read that one!!

                            ==Other Information:==

                            Paperback edition:

                            Pages: 192
                            Price 4.49 New at Amazon
                            Publisher: Robinson
                            ISBN-10: 1849015171
                            ISBN-13: 978-1849015172
                            Year first published: 1999

                            Thanks for reading my review.

                            This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.

                            © CPTDANIELS August 2013

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                              04.08.2013 11:13
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                              Entertaining suspense thriller

                              ==Synopsis of the book:==

                              Parker is a man on a mission. He is a master thief by trade and gets involved in usually high value cash robberies. However on his last job he was left for dead when his wife Lynn shot him having been told to do so by another member of the gang involved in the operation. He survived and now months later he has returned to find the man, his former partner Mal Resnick who betrayed him and get revenge and the $45,000 that was his share of the job.

                              And while it will be easy for him to track his wife down and surprise her he is still alive, Mal has moved City and is working for a big corporate organization. Who while involved in crime have a lot more power, influence and manpower at their disposal. Parker must track down Mal and avenge what was done to him as he has little to lose now.

                              ==My thoughts on the novel:==

                              I found this an enjoyable crime thriller. Which is unusual for me given this books content and subject matter. I usually do not like actions thrillers that involve a maverick who will kill people to achieve his goal. But on this occasion I found this story quite entertaining. On this style of fiction I would compare this author's work with Lee Child as I see certain similarities in style of writing and the stories content.

                              Before I purchased this novel I had never heard of Richard Stark let along read any of his books. So it came as quite a surprise when I found out he has written a total of 30 books. With the majority featuring as my book did the lead character Parker. Although for once I did the sensible thing which was more by luck than judgement and that was reading the first story in the series first. As this one was originally written way back in 1962. This American author also writes under a pseudonym Donald E Westlake.

                              So when I picked this book up there were several reasons why I would not like it in addition to me not favouring this type of story. Firstly it is written by an author I do not recognise their work, as I usually struggle with a new author to me to get to understand and appreciate their style but with this author I clicked immediately. And the other issue I may have had was this is an American writer and again I usually struggle with their very different culture but this did not seem to matter too much and I just got down and set about enjoying the story.

                              This was another book I picked up cheaply at a car boot sale. I do not remember exactly what I was thinking when I picked it up but the low price certainly contributed to me purchasing it. I found the title gave little away and to be honest did not inspire me to want to read it. Whereas the summary on the back cover certainly sounded more promising. As well as telling the reader a little about Parker, his life and his new mission, it also told the reader that this was made into a cult classic move featuring Lee Marvin and was one of the most distinctive crime thrillers ever written. After reading that I knew I had to at the very least try to read it.

                              I found the story very easy to get into and within only a few pages I was hooked on it. As I found Parker's reasoning for looking for revenge understandable and I liked his honest approach to his mission. And while I did not immediately realise it until money was mentioned in the story that this was set a long time ago. It did not stop me enjoying it but some of the attitudes towards women seemed very wrong by today's society standard. Added to which there was understandably a lack of modern technology but again that did not stop me enjoying the book and I almost appreciated the simplicity of how things were done back then.

                              This must be one of the shortest novels I have read in a while and that was one of the original attractions for me. As I was looking for a book I could hopefully read and enjoy in less than a week and this I achieved very easily as it took me just 4 evening and that is for a slow reader. But even though this was quite short I think in that time the author did justification to the story and I felt there was enough detail within it for me to find it believable and enjoyable.

                              I found a lot of what Parker was trying to do understandable as he was badly turned over by the two people he should have been able to trust most namely his partner and his one time working partner. And while I understand greed would make a man turn against another man I did it find it a little hard to believe that after making love his wife would try and kill him. Clearly they must have had some other issues in their marriage that were not spelt out by the book, but I just found this very hard to believe.

                              Parker as a character I found I liked a lot. Following this betrayal by the two people closest to him, I liked his single mindedness and his solo nature. In many ways I admired that this no-body was taking on a more respectable man who was in theory protected by a large ruthless organisation. I suppose it's the underdog situation where by he is taking on the world with a legitimate reason for revenge. As a result I could relate to what he was planning and I enjoyed reading about the way he went about it.

                              The story was unsurprisingly never polished or particularly complex but there was a simple honesty about it I certainly enjoyed. Everything in the story made sense and you could clearly see the direction it was going in. Yes it lacked much mystery but it more than made up for this was the suspense. Added to which it also told some of the story through Mal is ex-partner's eyes, so you could see why he did what he did and what he was dealing with in his life now. I thought this was good as you got to see more off the picture not just how Parker saw things.

                              The pace of the story was good and I have had the opportunity to get bored as it was always moving forward and changing. And while the concluding chapters did have a very unexpected twist in them which impressed me and made the whole story somehow seem too real and believable. Added to which their was a kind of epilogue that although it was not called it undated the reader as to what happened next to those involved in the story.

                              Oddly enough for a person who reads thrillers and mysteries I do not particularly like blood shed and while there was plenty of it in this story it was never dwelt on. And while if subsequent stories have similar amount of killings involving Parker I might find this either hard to believe or dull on this occasion I found it a bit of a welcome change as it was a requirement for the story.

                              I think given that I enjoyed this book so much I will be trying another book by this author in the near future to see how it compares. As I thought it was well thought out and was just about the right length to tell an exciting yarn. With regular chapters and changes of scene so the reader always knew exactly where they were and what was happening.

                              ==Conclusion:==

                              This is certainly an action thriller that I would recommend for anyway who enjoys this kind of book. The only thing I feel I should point out was it was written over 50 years ago so make allowances for the lack of technology. As it was for me a well written and well thought out story that had lots of action and possibilities within it. With a lead character that is easy to understand and like based on what has happened to have preciously.

                              ==Other Information:==
                              Paperback version:
                              Price: £5.24 New at Amazon
                              Pages: 190
                              Publisher: Allison & Busby
                              ISBN-10: 0749078614
                              ISBN-13: 978-0749078611
                              Year first published: 1962

                              Thanks for reading my review.

                              This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

                              © CPTDANIELS Augist 2013.

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                                28.07.2013 11:48
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                                Disappointing thriller

                                ==Synopsis of the book:==

                                Madeline Gilby decides to take her son Ryan on a holiday to Nice in the South of France. She finds a cheap last minute deal as she is keen to get away from a soon to be violent ex-husband as soon as possible. In the knowledge she will soon be getting the Court settlement from him and her life will be so much sweeter. However while sitting at a Café on day she meets a handsome man who introduces himself as Johann Bellocq, they very quickly become friends and despite her misgivings the two seem naturally attracted to each other.

                                Meanwhile Britain is in the grip of a very cold and bitter winter. The Peculiar Crimes Unit is once again facing closure with its top two senior citizen Detectives Arthur Bryant and John May stuck in the middle of nowhere in a blizzard on their way to a spiritualist's convention. And unknown to them also stuck in the line of stuck motorists is a dangerous murderer who is hunting his pray.

                                ==My thoughts on this novel:==

                                In truth I found this quite a difficult crime thriller to read. The reason basically for this was not that it was not written well because it was; the problem I had was I found it confusing as there were several different stories within the book. Usually I love stories that have different and seemingly unrelated strands to them, but on this occasion I really struggled to follow and fully understand who was who and what was going on.

                                I think to a greater degree this can be explained by the fact this is a new author to me. It often takes me a book or two to get used to a new writers style. But added to this, this is not a one off story it forms part of a series of stories featuring Detectives Bryant and May. It would certainly I'm sure been easier if I had simply selected the first in the series as there in all probability would have been more general background on the main characters and the Office they work in. But I didn't I selected the 5thbook in series that was written in 2007. I did this as I like to see if I can understand and enjoy a book from anywhere in a series without any prior knowledge of the series and I have to say on this occasion it did not really work for me and I found the book at times hard going.

                                I found this book at a car boot sale recently. I was looking for a new and different crime mystery and I came across this one. I am a big fan of Peter James's thrillers so when I saw on the front cover of this one he had heavily endorsed this book; I thought it must be good!! It was that alone that sold me the book, plus it was only sale for just 30p so I knew I couldn't go far wrong.

                                The title of the book puzzled me and I thought given the picture and the summary on the back cover it was referring to the snow. I'm glad to say it was more complex than that and it turned out to be a good and clever title for the book. I thought the summary was good although it failed to really mention Madeline and her son trying to get away from this new and unusual man they had met in the South of France. It focused largely instead on the two Detectives stuck miles from anywhere in a remote road in Devon. To me this was missing an opportunity as Madeline was a key character and I thought this would draw more potential readers in.

                                When I settled down and started reader the story I was surprised they was no prologue before it began in earnest. I usually find one of these useful in setting the scene for the reader. The story began by focusing on Madeline and while it was not the most gripping start I found it easy to get into and I was interested in this troubled woman's life and what was happening to her.

                                However the story then started also follow what was happening to various members of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. And while I needed to learn who was who I started to find myself confused especially as this seemed to have nothing to do with what I had read previously involving Madeline and her son. What really confused me was I thought this would be an introduction to them but as it turned out they were involved because there was a murder involving them and they were expecting a royal visit in the next few days.

                                I just found it all confusing and kept wanting the story to focus on Madeline and Johann as this seemed the most interesting story and it very quickly had real mystery and suspense about it. So I really enjoyed when the story returned to them and not when it involved these to Detectives stuck in a blizzard or what was happening back at their office.

                                It was only more than half the way through the story that I really started to understand what was happening. Which was me confused for far too long!! There were too many strands and I found myself only really interested in what was happening to Madeline. For me this could have been the main and most important part of the story because it was not only the most interesting but it also had the most potential for mystery and excitement.

                                The story was always well paced and despite my lack of enjoyment at times always seemed to be heading towards an exciting ending. Which was for me an excellent one, it was unexpected and had a couple of twists that I never saw coming and really impressed me. It was fast paced and because it was all explained finally all made sense. It was in some ways the most bizarre conclusion I have ever read but that was good and I enjoyed it being like that.

                                For me the two leading characters in this series of books namely Bryant and May were disappointing. Maybe because I had not encountered them before I found them quite dull. Although having said that they were very different characters that I usually read about. I just found it somewhat unlikely they were both going to this convention knowing they had a Royal visit to arrange in a few days and why would the top two men go to a Spiritualist meeting miles from anywhere. Yes I appreciate they are eccentric and in some respects quite brilliant men but it seemed a little unlikely. Although I did enjoy they way despite the blizzard and they were stuck they were still able to help solve a mystery back in the office.

                                However for me the two star characters in the story were Madeline and Johann. I thought these two were excellent characters because they were so complex and you were never sure what they would do next. I felt the whole story should have focused around them as it would have been more enjoyable and interesting. I felt a real tension when these characters were involved and with the conclusion was my favourite part of the book, it was just a shame they were not in it all the time.

                                The story had a real sense of mystery within it. I enjoyed this and while some of the answers to it were very unexpected and a little hard to believe. It was well thought out and it actually made sense bearing in mind what you had learnt before in the story. For me the length of the story was about right although as I have said previously the focus was not quite so. Although to give the author his due when he was changing the scene and the characters within it he usually created a new chapter and only when they were at the same location did he not so you were always aware of who you were with in the story.

                                Yes at times there was humour within the story, but this was largely wasted on me as I struggled to understand all the new characters and their roles in the story. Peter James described this 'a page turner' but for me it was quite a disappointing book and it various times especially on the first half of it I wanted to give it up as a bad job. I stuck with it and while it did get better and easier to follow I still was not in my comfort zone with the story and all the characters within it.

                                ==Conclusion:==
                                Sadly I do not feel this is a crime thriller that I can recommend. For me there were too many strands in the story and this made me at times confused and wishing the story would focus on just one. I liked the story involving Madeline and really found a lot of suspense in this and I would have liked the whole story to have focused on this as from my perspective this was easily the best part of it. I really must try another in the series and see how it compares because I am sure it will be more enjoyable than this one.

                                ==Other Information:==
                                Paperback version:
                                Pages: 368
                                Price: £6.74
                                Publisher: Bantam
                                ISBN-10: 0553817981
                                ISBN-13: 978-05538117980
                                Year first published: 2007

                                Thanks for reading my review.

                                This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

                                © CPTDANIELS July 2013

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                                  21.07.2013 11:30
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                                  Light hearted crime thriller that entertained me

                                  ==Synopsis of the book:==

                                  Constable Hamish Macbeth has decided it is time for a holiday as life in the Highland of Scotland is not enjoyable at the moment. He has recently slit up with his girlfriend Priscilla Halburton-Smythe and all the locals seem to blame him and sympathise with her. He is sick of being the subject of local gossip and as he is owed several weeks holiday, he decides he must now take it. As he does not have a lot of money he finds a cheap Bed and Breakfast in a coastal village of Skag in Scotland. He hopes this break will re-charge his batteries and make him feel better about his home, Lochdubh.

                                  However he soon discovers the atmosphere at this Bed and Breakfast to be unfriendly and unhappy. As there is a very annoying nag staying there, a man called Bob Harris who moans about everything and everyone, much to the other guests and his wife disgust. However Hamish quickly finds he shares not only a dislike of this man with the other residents but also I dislike to the very poor food at their accommodation. As a result Hamish becomes the leader of this group who are unaware he is a Policeman as they search out both food and entertainment away from it. However no-one expects the nag to die but no-one will shed any tears for his passing.

                                  ==My thought on this novel:==

                                  I found this a good and enjoyable piece of crime fiction. In the last few months I have read several in this series and while they may not be the most complex or earth shattering thrillers ever, there is a simple logic and they are always well thought out and interesting stories. Added to this they are not particularly long stories so they can be read within a few days. This one for example took me only a few days and it was a very easy story to pick up and enjoy.

                                  The Hamish Macbeth stories are written by M.C.Beaton. There are currently 28 in this series with this book being only the second one written back in 1987. This series of stories have also been transferred to television. Added to this this author has also produced another successful series of crime thrillers in the Agatha Raisin stories and there are 23 in this series. In my opinion her stories are similar in style to Ann Granger books and they are good thrillers but they do not tax the reader too much, maybe an ideal light read for a holiday.

                                  Having read and enjoyed several books in both the Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin series I was keenly looking round the second hand bookshop for another that I had not read, when I came across this one. And it took my totally by surprise as I expected the nag to be a women because all the nags I have ever heard called that have been female. So it was a nice change that this one was a male, as thinking about it a nag is a nag regardless of sex. So my decision to buy had pretty much bee made as soon as I saw this one.

                                  I liked the title as I say so I flipped the book over to see what it was all about in its summary. This was a little on the short side but at least set the scene well. With Hamish's failed love affair with Priscilla and they need for him to get away it sounded quite interesting. Below the summary where two compliments for the authors work, however it was not obvious if they were for her work in general or specifically for this story.

                                  I found the story very easy to get into and I like the writing style which was clear and precise, without being basic. What appealed to me was the mystery started soon into the story with Hamish going away on holiday almost as soon as the book began. This is something I have criticised this author in the past for but on this occasion I cannot. As a result the story had a real purpose about it and it flowed far better and seemed to a quicker pace throughout and I enjoyed it more.

                                  The story was good and I found I really enjoyed the way it developed and Hamish's experience in the Bed and Breakfast in Skag. The other residents were well described and seemed an interesting bunch of people all with very different personalities so you could not get them confused and remember what they were all like. This added to the mystery and the suspense as later on in the story they were all to have reasons for murder and skeletons in their cupboards.

                                  One of the real bonuses in this series in addition to a well thought out stories is the humour within them. This story was no exception and because the wit was often cleverly written it was easy to picture the scene and enjoy it. I often found myself chuckling away at what was happening to the books main character. As in this story the most unlikely characters seem to fall in love with him and he needs to deal with this and carefully as he can as he does not feel attracted to them.

                                  In addition to this and a feature of good crime mysteries is the element of surprise and clever twists within the story, this book had both and as a result added to the humour it was a very enjoyable story. I found the pace was good and I liked the direction it took. It was the type of mystery were anyone seemingly could have committed the crime and even Hamish was a suspect in the story until he got a very unexpected alibi.

                                  The concluding chapters were well paced by lacked too much excitement. I would have enjoyed a little more action but I suppose you cannot always have a action packed ending in a mystery. But on the positive side right at the end there was one last unexpected twist in the tale of the story that left me impressed and surprised. In the conclusion of the story all the loose ends in the story were resolved and all my questions were answered so I was left with a satisfied feeling as I completed it. Yes it's true to say this was not the most detailed or complex story, but it was well described throughout and while I guessed the guilty party a long way before it was resolved I did not know why until that was explained at the end.

                                  Hamish Macbeth is the main character in this series. He is an intelligent young man who uses his brain to solve mysteries. However all those around him think he is lazy for some reason. I like the way he goes about solving crimes. Although I do think good fortune and luck seems to play a key role for him. And while he is a good rounded character I am always surprised at how many single women seem attracted to him and that fact he never seems interested in them. And because I have seen a few of the television programs I can easily picture him and descriptions about him and his character are not necessary.

                                  For me the length of the story was about right to tell a well thought out and interesting mystery. It was rich in mystery and suspense throughout and I enjoyed it from the first page to the last. Maybe not a page turner but it was well written and a pleasure to read anyway. I found the sometimes outrageous humour excellent the whole way through.

                                  ==Conclusion:==

                                  This is a murder mystery I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a thriller with a twist. The humour within the story was excellent and I liked the way the story developed. For me this was a light read and I found I did not have to concentrate to much to know exactly what was happening throughout. The book is available in Hardback, Paperback and Kindle formats.

                                  ==Other Information:==

                                  Pages: 304
                                  Price: 4.89
                                  Publisher: Robinson
                                  ISBN-10: 1845297326
                                  ISBN13: 978-1845297329
                                  Year first published: 1987

                                  Thanks for reading my review.

                                  This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

                                  © CPTDANIELS July 2013

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