Archive > October 2010

Rupture

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Rupture By Simon Lelic, book reviewWhy would a school teacher walk into a packed assembly hall and shoot two pupils and a colleague before turning the gun on himself? Detective Inspector Lucia May wants to find out but her bosses and the headmaster of the school seem happy enough to believe that this was just a moment of madness in the life of a loner. Lucia manages to negotiate a few days grace before she must submit her report and starts to interview those who knew the gunman. As her investigation progresses Lucia puts together a shocking picture of a man tormented to the very brink.


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A Field Guide to Demons, Vampires, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits

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A Field Guide to Demons, Vampires, Fallen Angels: And Other Subversive Spirits By Carol K. Mack, By Dinah Mack, book reviewImagine, if you will, that one day you are out walking in the Highlands of Scotland, generally minding your own business and bothering no one. As you stroll along a river bank, you suddenly find yourself approached by a handsome black horse, who tries to persuade you to climb on its back and go for ride. The thought of riding such a magnificent beast is tempting, but you think that a horse that can construct a persuasive argument is a suspicious thing, and you decline. The horse, however, is not one to take no for an answer and you start to get worried. What do you do?

Well, hope you have read “A Field Guide to Demons, Vampires, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits” (henceforth the Guide) is a good answer. Anyone who has read the book will recognise

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Late for Tea at the Deer Palace

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Late for Tea at the Deer Palace: The Lost Dreams of My Iraqi Family By Tamara Chalabi, book reviewLate for Tea at the Deer Palace by Tamara Chalabi charts the history of the authors Iraqi family through the twentieth and early twenty first centuries. She starts with her great-grandfather, then her grandparents and their children, her father and his siblings. As a prominent family and opponents of the regime which overthrew the royal family, the Chalabis, a Shi’a Muslim family, were forced into exile in the late 1950s, moving to London and then Lebanon. Only once Saddam Hussein was removed from power could they return to their beloved Iraq.

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Three Seconds

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Three Seconds By Anders Roslund, By Borge Hellstrom, book reviewWith the novels of Stieg Larsson riding high in the bestsellers charts, it’s hardly surprising that “Three Seconds” is being mentioned in the same breaths. It’s been a long time since Swedish crime fiction enjoyed so much international success with recent output tending to emulate Henning Mankell’s highly popular Wallander series of atmospheric police procedurals.

Three Seconds” centres on Piet Hoffman, an ex-con turned police informer. He’s not just any informer, though; Hoffman has managed to infiltrate the very heart of the Polish mafia’s control of Sweden’s illegal drugs scene which operates behind the façade of an international security firm.

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After the Party

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After the Party By Lisa Jewell, book reviewLisa Jewell is one of my favourite authors and I always love reading new books from her. I was particularly looking forward to reading After the Party as I realised that she was picking up the lives of characters that she created in her first book – Ralph’s Party – back in 1999. I had really loved this book and it was great that she was picking up on the story eleven years later even though I have to admit to being a bit hazy about the original storyline as I read Ralph’s Party quite a while ago. It didn’t matter though. And it won’t really matter if you have not read the first book either. Although events from before are alluded to, it does stand as a story in its own right, and any necessary references to the past are explained.


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Cheap at the Price

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Small Wonder the Authorised Story of the Making of the Nano By Philip Chacko, By Christabelle Noronha, By Sujata Agrawal, book reviewBengal’s relationship with the Nano has been an uneasy one ever since the days of the Singur agitation. The State’s sudden game of political dominoes forced Ratan Tata to order a plant that was almost set up to be removed piece by piece to Gujarat and set back production of the world’s first people’s car by several months. The Nano inspired hate mail, adulation and disbelief and it was obvious from the first that its case history deserved a book. Philip Chacko, Christabelle Noronha and Sujata Agrawal’s account is the Tata authorized version, a neat page turner that presents the facts and provides snippets of interesting trivia.

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Terrible Twins

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Shadow Sister by Simone van der Vlugt, book reviewLydia loves her job as a teacher in an inner city college in Rotterdam, until she is threatened by a student with a knife in front of the rest of her class. The student is suspended, but he still pops up everywhere, threatening her at every available opportunity. She seeks solace from her husband, daughter and twin sister, Elisa, but she still feels very unsettled. Then Elisa’s story begins and it skips forward a few days, explaining that Lydia was shot dead. The obvious suspect is the student with the knife, but he has an alibi, and anyway, where would he have got the gun? As the story unravels, it is clear that there is much more to Lydia’s life than perhaps even she realised. The list of suspects begins to grow and Elisa, determined to find out who murdered her twin, puts herself in danger more than once.

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The Hindi-Bindi Club

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The Hindi-Bindi Club By Monica Pradhan, book reviewThe Hindi-Bindi Club is a tale of six women three mothers and their three adult daughters all living in the USA. The mothers were born in India and moved to the USA for education or marriage, whilst the daughters are all Americans born and bred. Whilst they were still children, the daughters nicknamed the group of friends of which their mothers were all members as the Hindi-Bindi Club.

All six women have ‘issues’ Saroj is having an affair, Meenal is recovering from breast cancer, and Uma yearns to see her old pre-Partition home in Lahore but fears to go to Pakistan as an Indian-born traveller.


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Pastures New

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Pastures New By Julia Williams, book reviewI have previously read two superb books by Julia Williams and it is now my mission to read all her novels. The latest one I have read is Pastures New which I believe is actually the first book that she wrote. First books can sometimes be a bit disappointing (especially if you have enjoyed later books by the same author) but not this one. Pastures New was immensely readable and enjoyable from the moment I picked it up to the moment I read the last page. It also only took a matter of days to read as I just did not want to put it down!

In the book, Amy, a young widow, moves to the small village of Nevermorewell in an attempt to start out again – hence the title.


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In Alexander’s Footsteps

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The Emissary - A Tale of Love, Vendetta and War by Aniruddha Bahal, book reviewAsk him why an Indian wrote a historical novel and Aniruddha Bahal says something like, “Because it was there!” Well, not exactly that but because he wanted to write about Alexander the Great and chose not to use his travels in India and that famous encounter with Porus, though that may happen in a later book. His character is a sportsman, a charioteer Seleucus the son of Nicator who despite being hounded by the Macedonians finds himself following in Alexander’s footsteps and giving us insider information as to what happened behind the scenes at his battles.

Historical fiction is usually written to show the utter inevitability of the event that took place, or to give the happening a different turn by presenting the back-story behind the clinching main facts.


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The Princes In The Tower

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The Princes in the Tower By Alison Weir, book reviewThe Princes In The Tower by Alison Weir is an examination of the centuries old mystery of what happened to the 12 year old Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, when they disappeared in the Tower of London when Richard III usurped the throne in the 1480s.

Alison Weir is well-known for her books covering the Tudor period, the Wars of the Roses and some earlier periods as well. She is an authoritative writer, and one whom I respect as she writes clearly and in a very readable style, and when there is doubt over an event she lays out all the evidence before explaining the most likely conclusion.


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Tall Poppies

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Tall Poppies By Louise Bagshawe, book reviewI hadn’t read any books by Louise Bagshaw before but having read quite a few positive reviews about some of her books I was keen to give her a try. As a consequence, I have just read ‘Tall Poppies’ which was one of her earlier books as it was first published in 1997. On reflection, it might have been better for me to try one of her later books as, quite possibly, like wine she might have matured with age. That is not saying that I didn’t enjoy ‘Tall Poppies’ but it did not hook me in and keep my attention like many books do.

This book tells the story of two women – Nina Roth and Lady Elizabeth Savage – who are both trying to succeed in the chemical business despite many setbacks.


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