Guest Reviewer Johnny: His book reviews from May 2015...

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One of my guest reviewers Johnny is the type of bloke that sums up a book in a few very short but eloquent sentences. He tends to read a lot of books I wouldn't and although his reviews are short and sweet I like to feature them as a list rather than individually. He is also quite critical and he rarely scores a book 5/5, but that is actually something I love! Half the time I have to Google words he uses but that's what makes me happy. I love the fact that everybody has differing opinions and I am now eagerly waiting to see what he rates as 5 stars and then will pounce on a copy! For synopsis on the below books hit the image and the Amazon page will load will all the info you need. Here are his books reviews from May.

The Jackdaw by Luke Delaney


Johnny's Rating: 4/5

Johnny's Review: Fourth in the Sean Corrigan police procedural series. Much to like in a pacey, gripping storyline complete with regulation gratuitous violence.

Maverick detective with "personal issues present and correct, complete with criminal mastermind who can only be brought down by our hero.

Despite  the somewhat clichéd story the book is very well written and Luke Delaney has a  good ear for realistic dialogue.

So a very readable and gripping story that is recommended. My only criticism; I guessed the culprit well before Sean Corrigan did in the book.

For a top notch copper to miss some fairly obvious clues was a bit puzzling!

The Morgenstern Project by David Khara

Johnny's Rating: 3/5

Johnny's Review: Part of "The Consortium" thriller series featuring Mossad super agent Eytan Morgenstern. As  before the agent and his friends despatch battalions of villains with effortless ease whilst solving the riddle of why The Consortium is helping in the production of advanced prosthetics for use by the military.

No don't ask, as before the plot and characters are just this side of completely barmy. The problem with a man so tough he makes Jack Reacher look  limp wristed is the certitude that he will prevail, no matter how unlikely the situation.

Nevertheless, as in previous books it rattles along at a cracking pace and is actually well written with some smart dialogue. So yes, it's worth giving it a go, but just park your credulity before you start and it will while away a couple of hours quite entertainingly.

Shadow Ritual by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne

Johnny's Rating: 3/5

Serviceable, proficient thriller in the same ethos as The Da Vinci Code, but slightly better written. The plot revolves around Freemasonry, magic elixirs and the like with a dash of the Knights Templar thrown in for good measure.

Although there is plenty of action and gratuitous violence the authors have given themselves a problem regarding subject matter. The fact is, that by trying to explain arcane Freemason ritual and symbols they have , by necessity, been forced into a good deal of exposition as the general public are ill informed on the matter.

Nevertheless, not a bad book with a hero and heroine who tick all the boxes in terms of brains and brawn and dastardly modern day Nazis (yes the usual Aryan brotherhood  story). If that's what you like you can do a lot worse than give this a try.

Blood Relatives by Stevan Alcock

Johnny's Rating: 3/5

Johnny's Review: Unlike anything I've read before. The book deals with the growing up, and coming out, of a young, gay man in Yorkshire in the 1970s. Using the attacks of the Yorkshire Ripper as a background and counterpoint to the misadventures of young Ricky, its a book that cannot be conventionally categorised. Written entirely in what I presume to be a realistic Yorkshire dialect it covers a period I well remember, although the lives of the Yorkshire people bear no relation to anything I , as a soft southerner,  remember from that time.

 I can recommend this book as a well written story with good, appropriately foul mouthed, dialogue. Did I enjoy it? Up to a point , but the people, places and lifestyle described are so alien  that. In terms of commenting on veracity and verisimilitude, I'm about as qualified as I would be on whether an   Iain M .Banks  novel. is scientifically accurate.

Mayhem in Margaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Johnny's Rating: 3/5

Johnny's Review: Another in the winemaker series. Continuing on with the successful format this episode sees our intrepid heroes dealing with a murder and a case of wine fraud i.e. relabeling as Bordeaux swelters in a heatwave.

As usual the crimes are dealt with using minimal effort and Benjamin and Virgile close the case with minimal fuss. There is the usual avalanche of wine facts and interestingly the Margaux wines are given a good kicking,, especially Chateau Margaux.

As before reading a book in this series is like putting on an old jumper, reassuring, comforting and not too challenging.

The Last Moriarty by Charles Veley

Johnny's Rating: 3/5

Johnny's Review: Perfectly serviceable offering in the style of Conan Doyle with multiple clues, red herrings and a clever conclusion. Definitely keeps to the style of the original works and lots of good period detail and  a fluent prose style.

My main problem is not with the book at all but with  the current TV series Sherlock. The fact that Messrs Gatiss and Moffat have dragged the franchise into the 21st.century made it difficult for me to accept what seemed an anachronistic step into the past.

This is probably a defect on my part and I would certainly not want to denigrate the book which is a respectable and more than adequate addition to the genre.

Paris Ransom by Charles Rosenberg

Johnny's Rating: 4/5

Johnny's Review: Enjoyable, pacey thriller set in the Parisian corridors of power. All the usual boxes are ticked, with the gendarmerie, intelligence services, shady Russian gangsters and venal French art dealers double crossing each other at every opportunity. Thoroughly entertaining if you ignore a couple of plot contrivances and an interesting stylistic device in having the plot driven forward from the point of view from several different characters,

The author is thoroughly versed in the French police and legal systems and has written a very good thriller.

Recommended as a very good thriller with authentic French settings and written with appropriate joie de vivre.

The Harder They Come by TC Boyle

Johnny's Rating: 4/5

Johnny's Review: Very well written crime thriller by an obviously talented author.

Yes, you can anticipate the "but" that is coming next. But the downside is that the characters are universally abhorrent with seemingly no redeeming characteristics between them. In fact I found them so unattractive I was hoping most of them a rapid end. Unfortunately that was not the case.

Sorry to be so critical of an obviously gifted writer, but when  , as a reader, you can find no empathy with any of the participants in a story, then the reading experience is not likely to be  a happy one. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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