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Guest Reviewer Johnny’s Round - Up for November 2015

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Guest Reviewer Johnny really didn't have much to shout about in November. Here is his round up for the month with the only book making any kind of impact being Numero Zero by Umberto Eco.

    

 

 The Angel by Mark Dawson

Johnny’s Rating: 3/5

Johnny’s Review: Pulsating thriller about co-ordinated terrorist attacks in London and the subsequent attempts to apprehend the perpetrators. There are many things to like about the book. It was very realistic and thrilling account of the build-up and execution of the attacks and, in general, well written and researched.  Characters, for the most part, were well drawn and realised with goodies and baddies suitably heroic or craven. Now comes the "but" for which you've been waiting. The book ends incredibly abruptly, almost as if a few chapters have been lopped off. Also the idea of a fifteen year old girl (no matter how well qualified) being roped in by British intelligence services stretches credulity to breaking point. That said, this is a very exciting read and resonates because of its close resemblance to real life events. A South American man shot dead by British authorities on the tube by mistake - a manic Muslim preacher with one eye and one hand? Yes you know who these people reference. With a properly structured, complete story this would merit five stars. As it is this is still recommended and well worth reading.

 Numero Zero by Umberto Eco

Johnny’s Rating: 5/5

Johnny’s Review: Umberto Eco muses on key moments in the post war history of Italy with perfectly turned prose and intellectual luminosity .As always, when he is on form, this is a work crafted with casual brilliance and it is easy to overlook the underlying work that it takes to draw the reader into the story. This is really a detective story regarding ideas and the blurring if fact and fiction. A brilliant author at his best, highly recommended

 Backstabbing in Beaujolais by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen

Johnny’s Rating: 3/5

Johnny’s Review: Business as usual for Benjamin Cooker and his assistant Virgile as they take us on an educational tour of the wine and food of the Beaujelais region. There is much erudite discussion on the merits of Beaujelais Nouveau and Cru. Very interesting and entertaining and, I nearly forgot, there is a murder which is solved, even by their normal standards, in a perfunctory manner. This was another pleasant meander through another part of France, and a pleasing read which is well up to the normal standard.

 Cause & Effect by Derek Thompson

Johnny’s Rating: 4/5

Johnny’s Review: Well-constructed, well written thriller that delivers across the spectrum. Believable characters and a convoluted plot, combined with a suitably flawed hero and really nasty villains make this a compelling read. No complaints and I look forward to the next one. Highly recommended.

 Justice Redeemed by Scott Pratt

Johnny’s Rating: 3/5

Johnny’s Review: Nifty little thriller set in Tennessee legal system and penal system. The main protagonist is lawyer Darren Street and it is his trials and tribulations that form the backbone of the story. Fortunately our hero is not portrayed as the superman figure so beloved by many of today's authors, but as a rounded character with some human frailties. The plot is well thought out, although there are some far-fetched episodes, and there are some decent characterisations. To give away the plot details would

 Crucifixion Creek by Barry Maitland

Johnny’s Rating: 2/5

Johnny’s Review: This is well written and professional in all respects. . Good characterisation, tight plotting and realistic dialogue should make this a "must read" book. Yes, the but is coming! Sorry to say the writing in the present tense is irksome and I didn't like the main character. I have to say this is entirely subjective personal opinion but I struggled to get to the end.

 She Can Kill by Melinda Leigh

Johnny’s Rating: 3/5

Johnny’s Review: The story revolves around a retired Argentinian assassin and his teenage daughter living in a small town in Pennsylvania.. There he meets divorcee Sarah and her two small daughters and her ex-husband, the increasingly psychotic Troy. Christan the assassin is obviously a man with a murky past which catches up with him in spectacularly violent fashion. Although it is easy to guess how events will conclude and the plot is somewhat contrived, the sheer pace of the proceedings allows for suspension of credulity - well almost! Although it would be easy to dismiss this as pure escapism the fact is that it gallops along and, in parts, is genuinely exciting.it might be a little far-fetched ( quite a lot actually ) it is a well-crafted effort and well worth reading.

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