25 01 2009

Sidetracked by Henning Mankell

From the Amazon Review

“The Swedish summer-time is too beautiful and too brief for something like this to happen.” A young girl commits self-immolation, a former government minister is killed with an axe and scalped; these are the two brutal facts that confront Inspector Kurt Wallander as he prepares for his holiday. As the Swedish midsummer approaches there is no escaping from the darkness of society.

The first of the Wallander books I’ve read and really is rather enjoyable, despite the rather gruesome elements and quite a high body count. The Swedish setting makes an interesting alternative to more familiar British or US police operations. Whilst I found the translation of dialogue took a bit of getting used to (it just seems rather wooden and stilted at times but perhaps this is the way it is meant to be) the plotting is great and the climax really builds in the final part of the book.



Royale with cheese

8 01 2009

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming


Entertaining and remarkably suspenseful in places. Important to put Daniel Craig out of mind and to be enthusiastic about Baccarat (the card game as opposed to 70s disco double act). Also need suspension of horror at outrageous 1953 sexism. For example:

This was just what he [Bond] had been afraid of. These blithering women who thought they could do a man’s work. Why the hell couldn’t they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave the men’s work to the men.

Apart from all that, a right good read.

3 star

Easy does it

4 01 2009

Easy Meat by John Harvey

More slightly misleading back cover description:

Why would a fifteen-year-old boy commit suicide? Mind you, who cares when he’s a no-good kid on trial for bludgeoning an elderly couple to death? But when the senior investigating officer is then found brutally murdered, DI Charlie Resnick is put on the case, and uncovers some sinister and startling revelations. It also brings Resnick into contact with Hannah Campbell, with whom he finds himself falling unexpectedly and awkwardly in love…

Really is a pretty rich and interesting case and of course Resnick’s love interests are always awkward in one way or another. Best one yet. Am increasingly concerned though about getting to the end of this excellent series – only two to go I think.


4 star

Fourth estate: approximation of a playlist ยง36

2 01 2009

Newspaper titles

Plenty more than this when you think about it…

The Hindu Times – Oasis
Lucky Star – Madonna
Pillar To Post – Aztec Camera
Mirror Mirror – Dollarnewspapers
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – The Andrews Sisters
Always the Sun – The Stranglers
Summertime – The Sundays
Invisible Sun – The Police
National Express – The Divine Comedy
Stealing people’s Mail – Dead Kennedys
Independent Woman #1 – Destiny’s Child
Telegraph – OMD
Put Your Records On – Corinne Bailey Rae
The Dark Is Rising – Mercury Rev
Times like these – Foo Fighters
Mirror In the Bathroom – The Beat
Gonna Make You A Star – David Essex
Trans Europe Express – Kraftwerk
You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) – Dead Or Alive
Paper Sun – Traffic
Star – David Bowie
I’ll be your mirror – The Velvet Underground & Nico
Express Yourself – Madonna
You stole the Sun from my heart – Manic Street Preachers
She’s a Star – James
News of the World – The Jam
Mirror man – Human League
Sporting Life – Young Marble Giants

More Nottingham fun and games

1 01 2009

Living Proof by John Harvey


When a man is found in the middle of Alfreton Road in the early hours of a Sunday morning, stark naked and bleeding heavily from a chest wound, he is the latest victim in a series of vicious attacks on men. But enquiries in the mean streets of Nottingham’s red-light district have brought the investigations to a dead end. Charlie Resnick is the man for the job. And as if he hasn’t had enough to deal with, he now has to provide police protection for a celebrity at the annual crime convention – an author with the some very unpleasant ‘fan’ mail. Chronically short-staffed as he is, it’s a guessing game as to when Resnick’s lack of manpower will have fatal consequences…

The problem with this kind of blurb is that it makes these books sound like a run-of-the-mill crime caper and really they are far from it. And this is another intelligent, well-plotted and excellently written book in a series which just keeps getting better.


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