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» Listings for October 2011

  1.  My Rating: 5/5

    This author only came to my attention after reading it as a recommended book by another author I love Sean Black. I figured that as I enjoyed the Sean Black books so much, I would take his recommendation up and give the new author Roger Smith a go.

    As I had brought this book on my Kindle, by the time I got around to reading it I had no idea what the book was about so just started to read. The first thing that is noticeable with this book is there is no `typical' hero copper who has an attitude towards authority and in its place we meet the Burns family. Jack Burns is on the run after getting himself into a sticky situation in the US. He, his wife Susan and son Matt are now living in South Africa and Susan is expecting her second child.

    Very early on a random act of violence in the form of a gangland-style break in is the catalyst for the whole story. It was clear to me from very early on that this book was a little different from other crime and thriller books I have been reading recently. For a start the setting wasn't in the USA or the East end of London. Seeing as the author is an author born and still living in South Africa there is no question of the realism of the setting for the book. I have never visited South Africa but after a few chapters I began to get an idea of how awful the area of the Cape Flats really is.

    The Burns family are a strange bunch and early on you see that things are not rosy for this family on the run. This made the story even more intriguing for me because things started off on a bad note so as a reader you want to see the outcome. We also meet Benny Mongrel who is an ex-gangster who has turned his life around following time in prison. He is a night-watchman for the estate that the Burns live on. In addition to Benny we see the crooked policeman Rudi `Gatsby' Barnard enter the frame.

    The characters in this book are real and gritty, that's the best words I can use to describe them. There is also no shortage of violence in this book as we see many murders happen. As the story progresses various events put all three men on the same path and as their lives cross the tension picks up in a serious way. The danger level is high and the further into the book I got the more I just had to keep reading.

    As I finished the book I realised a few things. Firstly, the book is totally original and refreshing to read. There is a new author on the scene; that has produced a debut novel that feels like he has been writing for years. Secondly, I knew next to nothing about South Africa. This book actually made me do a web search on the Cape Flats to find out more about the place. I am so pleased that I read this book and am now eagerly looking forward to the next one. I an also see the huge appeal in turning this into a film. Whether that will work or not is another matter!

    Roger Smith is certainly coming into the book world with a bang; I am just surprised that I haven't heard more about him until now. If you want something a little different and original, then give him a try. Just be warned that it is violent and gruesome in certain places. Highly recommended by me! This review will also appear on the website best crime books...

  2. essica Ruston LuxuryMy Rating: 5/5

    I had read really good reviews of this book on Amazon which is what made e get it for my Kindle. It took me a while to get round to it, buy boy am I glad I did. Very early on we meet the three men that feature in this story; there is Logan, Johnny and Nicolo. However at the beginning of the story we see them all as men and Logan is now married to Nicolo's first love Maryanne. All three of them are extremely successful and the only fly in the ointment is the fact that Nicolo and Logan are now sworn enemies. Jessica Ruston the transports us back to the past and how the three men met as boys. It is done in such a way that the pieces are fitted together at the right time and not too quickly.

    The story itself is quite intricate and at the beginning we are taken through the different layers affecting all of the people involved. The book centres heavily on the down side to being rich and having it all which made a refreshing change. Not only that but the core of it all is two men's need for revenge and rivalry. The characters themselves, whether it be the three guys, Maryanne or Logan's children are all seriously flawed and as the book continues you get to see just how much actions affect them all.

    I found myself over halfway through in the first sitting, but sadly had to wait until the next day to carry on. I didn't necessarily like all the characters, but they were written in such a way that you understood why they were going down the path they chose. The cover certainly doesn't do this book justice and finishing it with a big self satisfied sigh, I couldn't wait to read the second one.

    I loved this book and although people may write it off as women's fluffy fiction, they couldn't be further from the truth. This was an absolutely brilliant book that I couldn't put down. Lots of suspense and a gripping storyline means I will be looking forward to Jessica Ruston's second book To Touch the Stars. If you are a fan of authors such as Tasmina Perry, then this is the author for you to try!

  3. Martina Cole The FaithlessMy Rating: 3/5

    For the last three books that Martina Cole has written, I finish it and then promise myself I won't waste money buying it full price. I feel terrible saying that but it's the truth. I have always been a huge Martina Cole fan and loved the older books such as `Ladykillers'. Sadly it seems that many authors who have huge success seem to go rapidly downhill. I fear that Martina Cole is now firmly on that list. So after finishing her last book entitled The Family I swore that was it. Yet here I am a year later having broken that promise and paying full price for it. For some reason, due to Martina's sheer talent, I always feel that maybe this is the year she will come back with a bang. 3 years on and I am still not feeling the slightest rumble, let alone bang.

    Overall this book was far from terrible, but it is still lacking something which I can't quite put my finger on. The story itself sounded fabulous from the synopsis and I was looking forward to reading this. As I started reading I had high hopes as you are drawn into the world of the loathsome Cynthia Tailor. Martina certainly still has the knack of producing some vile characters and Cynthia is one of them. Cynthia is a character that is constantly wanting more and its pretty clear from the outset that this woman will stop at nothing to get her own way.

    I was very excited reading the first few chapters as the story took no time at all to pick up momentum. I was swept along with Cynthia's sister Celeste who has bagged the ultimate prize in her partner Johnny. A local face and a man set for better things. Cynthia's children Gabby and James Junior play a very large part in the beginning of the story as do her parents Mary and Jack.

    It becomes clear before long that the story is set over quite a long time period and as w hole the story itself was great, as were the characters. Halfway through and I was still loving the writing but felt that the major difference between this and her older book sis the sheer volume of narrative. I am certainly no book expert, I just know what I like. I don't recall Martina Cole's earlier books ever being this descriptive. If you were to weigh up the descriptive narrative and the characters actually speaking I think people would be shocked. It felt like there was an awful lot of repetition and I really didn't need to be told hundreds of times how much Cynthia wanted everything!!!

    I genuinely feel so torn about this book. I actually liked the story and the characters and her writing is still as strong as ever. However, I really disliked the amount of description everything had, and I had that sinking feeling that I was just reading a re-hashed story I had read a million times before. I am still really unsure whether Martina Cole has changed her writing, or whether the competition out there has just got better. These days with the likes of new writers such as Kimberley Chambers and Dreda Say-Mitchell coming along, maybe people expect more. I know it sounds a little sad, but I can't help wishing that Martina would make a monumental comeback with a book that blows everybody away.

    Overall I can't say that I disliked this book, but it just isn't as good as some others. No doubt I will still (stupidly) continue paying full price for Martina's new books praying that it's the best ever! I imagine that this book will get really mixed reviews and would suggest seeing her better work you should try her earlier stuff.

    J A Kerley Her Last Scream
    My Rating: 4/5

    This book is the 8th release from jack Kerley in the Carson/Ryder Series. His last two books I really enjoyed but this one for me was better because I loved the story but not quite as good as others and I can't even say why?!?

    Detectives Carson Ryder and Harry Nautilus are not only partners but friends. They have been through a lot and soon become aware that this case is going to be maybe worse than previous ones. When women start turning up dead, there appears to be no connection. Before long it becomes clear that women who are in hiding from abusive partners enter a supposed safe route out, only to wind up in even more danger than when they left their partners.

    Early on in the book we see first hand one of the women who is on the end of an abusive relationship and you almost wonder how long it's going to be before the woman winds up dead. Although the subject matter was really unpleasant, Jack Kerley has written a corker of a story using this terrible crime as the basis for the book.

    Harry and Carson are easy characters to like, even if you haven't read any others in the series. I prefer to get to know the characters and their history which is why I tend to be a fan of series of books, but you can still read this as a stand alone book. Harry's niece Reinetta Early has actually joined the force and to Harry's dismay she wants to get involved in the case by going undercover as a woman on the run. I really liked Reinetta as she was feisty and young and seemingly up for doing anything needed to catch a killer. Of course it sets the scene for some extremely dangerous things happening. I think the pace was as usual kept quick the whole way through the book and as usual when reading Kerley's books, you are in for some twists and turns. The one thing I really liked about this book was that I was convinced I had it all planned out as to who the killer was, only to be proved completely wrong!

    The only thing I thought was lacking was anything major happening with Carson/Nautilus. I found that there was no `extra' sparkle regarding wither of them. On reflection, maybe this is because Kerley wanted to make a platform for Reinetta to feature in follow up books, which I think would be a great move. Overall highly recommended!

  5. Gregg HUrwitz Your Next
    My Rating: 4/5

    Having never read a Gregg Hurwitz and having read some favourable reviews I was looking forward to getting my teeth into another new author. The book isn't slow on the uptake and the first couple of chapters is spent introducing up to Mike, his wife Annabel and their adorable but incredibly bright daughter Kat (what a great name?!?).

    Mike was brought up in a foster home and was seemingly abandoned when he was a young child. Having not had the best start in life he has literally turned his life around. When he meets a stranger at a party who explains that he knows him, Mike is none the wiser. It soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary conversation, and pretty soon Mike is aware that he and his whole family are at risk. From that point in the book onwards the tense feeling never leaves you.

    Gregg Hurwitz seems to have the ability to create a hurried feeling towards the reader making you think that the worst is going to happen. As the story starts to unfold Mike does what he needs to do to keep he and family safe but it unfortunately means that he is up against people that are a lot more dangerous than he is. In turn I found myself wincing at some of the situations that turned up but found myself willing Mike on to just break the law and get even with them!

    I became a little frustrated towards the last quarter of the book as it is very late on that we find out the reasons behind the manhunt. It certainly kept me reading that was for sure. There were quite a few twists along the way and I really liked the main characters. The only downside for me was that once I found out the reason he was being chased I felt it was maybe a little too OTT. It did make a refreshing change to read about a male lead character that wasn't a cop who had little interest in doing as he is told!

    As soon as I finished this book, I checked out his other books and now have a couple sitting in my `to read' pile. I was very pleased that I read this and thought it was full of suspense and edgy enough to keep me very interested, although maybe not a 5 star read due to the final section of the book.

    Overall highly recommended!