August 21, 2017

False Impression by Jeffrey Archer

False Impression is not my favourite Jeffrey Archer novel, but it’s still a good read.

A nice investigation into how a big event such as 9/11 can create interesting opportunities for those who see it.

This is an art world, round the world, mystery thriller chase – worth a read.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

the wasp factoryIt’s been a while since I’ve read an Iain Banks (The Crow Road in about 1997 I think), so it was great to read another this month.

The Wasp Factory was his first novel, and is about a somewhat fucked up family on a tiny island in Scotland. At first you think some of them might be normal, but then you realise – nope they’re all rather strange.

The story is told in a fascinating way – in real time, but with the reminiscences that explain every dropped in occasionally. So the reader is both uncovering the past and the future as the book progresses.

Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

I was recommend Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by a colleague – such a good recommendation!

It’s a bit of mystery story, but that’s underselling it. Our narrator gets a job at the bookstore, and starts to discover strange goings on – that lead to an ancient society. But for a change it’s not Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstoreabout knights and swords, and the end of the world. In fact quite the opposite!

I found it a very pacey read, and the twists and turns kept it nice and interesting.

Divorcing Jack by Bateman

divorcing jackYup, I reading yet another Bateman – I think it’s down to the covers being easy to spot in charity shops. This time it’s Divorcing Jack, the first in the Dan Starkey series.

Set in Belfast when a journalist (Dan Starkey), gets tied up in a very thick conspiracy case and destroys his own marriage in the process. It’s highly political and very fast moving.

A good read, and full of some cool twists and turns.

The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin

thenamingofthedeadA freebie from the newspaper this one – The Naming of the Dead.

Inspector Rebus is investigating a serial killer during the chaos of the G8 meetings in Edinburgh and the 7/11 attacks in London. Despite all that the story moved painfully slowly. I gave up about a thrid of the way through and skipped to the last couple of chapters, as I was vaguely intrigued who dunnit.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games)

Mockingjaymockingjay is the third of the Hunger Games series (so if you haven’t read the first 2 don’t read this review! Read my review of the first book).

The second book ends very abruptly as the Hunger Games in which Katnis and Peeta are playing suddenly falls to pieces. We learn that the rebellion is in full swing with war in most of the Distsricts. Mockingjay takes us through the rebellion as Gale, Haymitch, Katnis, Peeta, the other Victors and their families battle to find the right solutions.

It is not as fast paced, or as compelling a page turner as the first 2 books (that might be down the size of my hangover when I read most of this). Either way it’s a very different style of book. Here we see the full extent of the corruption that’s crept through Panem since the original rebellions and the setting up of the Hunger Games. We see that no-one is immune from corruption, and how much things need to change.

It’s a scary, reflective book that is true to life in that there are few happy endings. A must read, well the whole series is!

False Impression by Jeffrey Archer

False Impressionfalse impression is not the best of Archer’s books, but is very good none the less.

It covers the world of corrupt finance, art deals, and the fall of the iron curtain. A fair bit to fit into just 450 pages.

Oh, and we visit Hong Kong, New York (during Sept 11), Tokyo and rural England too!

Essentaily there’s an ex-Romanian heavy running a bank in New York that loans needy rich people against their great artworks. Then via less than legal means gets to keep the artworks whilst destroying the lives of their customers.

It’s a rollercoaster (like all Archer books), but neither the intrigue or the romance are up the standard of his earlier books – so this is no As the Crow Flies.

 

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games)

Catching Firecatching fire is the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy. (Warning – if you’ve not read the first book, don’t read this review – go and read my review of book one).

After the trials of the Hunger Games Katnis and Peeta are back in District 12, trying to live a normal life in the Victors Village. Then it’s time for the victory parade around Panem, and all the chaos kicks off once more. Their performance in the Hunger Games had a bigger impact that anyone realised, and seems to have kicked off a lot of unrest. One thing leads to another (I don’t want to give too much away!) and the whole book ends on a serious cliffhanger.

(so much of a cliffhanger that I’ve gone and started book 3 before writing this review – so apologies if it’s a bit disjointed, I’m trying to keep the 2 stories seperate).

Catching Fire is as thrilling a read as The Hunger Games. I finished it under 24 hours – cue serious loss of sleep – but it was well worth it. It’s pacey, there are lots of twists and turns – if you thought the Games were devious in the first book, you’ve seen nothing yet.

This is a series for anyone who likes pacey, fast books – a great read.

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

the stepford wivesI picked The Stepford Wives up in one of Amazon’s Kindle sales. I’m really glad I did.

Like many I’ve always understood the phrase “Stepford Wives”, but never really understood the full concept of the book. (I’ve not seen either film, yet, either).

The edition I read has a great intro by Chuck Palahniuk which I found very useful to understand the full scenario in which the book was written.

I was surprised by how short the book is (I think I’d got it a little confused with the tome-like Valley of the Dolls), and it’s also pretty scary.

It tells the story of Joanna Eberhart and her family as they move out of New York to the small town of Stepford. Where something odd is going on, with all the women these perfect wives.

It really gripped me, and I think it’s one I’ll def be reading again, and wishing for a different outcome.

Orpheus Rising by Bateman

Orpheus RisingThis is the second of Bateman’s books I’ve read (the first was I Predict A Riot) and this one isn’t quite as good.

Orpheus Rising is a much more thoughtful book, and although I did skim a few pages in the middle, it was well worth getting to the end. Simply because the premise of the story is so fascinating.

The hero of the book is Michael, a millionaire reclusive (aka lost) author. His book Space Coast was written and launched before his wife was murdered in a bank robbery. After that he spend the next decade roaming the world. In Orpheus Rising we catch up with him just before the 10 year anniversary of the bank robbery, which his old home town of Brevard is chosing to commemorate with a dinner and garden opening. Michael doesn’t want to go, but gets persuaded into it.

Once there all kind of odd things happen, and it gets a bit sci-fi and a bit thriller, and it’s also a love story, and a murder mystery crime thriller.

Yet again a Bateman book that refuses to be pigeon holed!

So, I’m glad I read it, but I’m not convinced I’ll recomend it to anyone else (it’s probably on the way to charity shop). But I would certainly recommend to read something by Bateman.