Playing with Fire

30 11 2009

The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Lisbeth Salander is a wanted woman. Two Millennium journalists about to expose the truth about sex trafficking in Sweden are murdered, and Salander’s prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society – but no-one can find her. Mikael Blomkvist, editor-in-chief of Millennium, does not believe the police. Using all his magazine staff and resources to prove Salander’s innocence, Blomkvist also uncovers her terrible past, spent in criminally corrupt institutions. Yet Salander is more avenging angel than helpless victim. She may be an expert at staying out of sight – but she has ways of tracking down her most elusive enemies.

A slightly slow start to this, the second in the Larsson Millennium trilogy, but when it gets going it really takes off. Fast-paced and gripping it delivers on every count. Super stuff.

Exclamation! Approximation of a Playlist §40

24 11 2009

Song titles which just shout!

Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) ABBA
Hyperactive! Thomas Dolby
Hey Ya! OutKast
Hot Hot Hot!!! The Cure
Stop! In The Name Of Love Diana Ross and the Supremes
Oh shit! Buzzcocksexclamation-mark
Wake Up Boo! The Boo Radleys
Hello, Dolly! Bobby Darin
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Lena Horne
Hey now! Oasis
Wham Rap! Wham!
Help! The Beatles
Danger! High voltage Electric Six
Melt! Siouxsie and the Banshees
Me ship came in! The Style Council
We Like To Party! Vengaboys
Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi-Holiday Boney M.
Cab it up! The Fall

Rock n roll poetry

17 11 2009

Gig by Simon Armitage


A poet is a rock star without the sex’n’drugs, or the rock’n’roll. But that never stopped Simon Armitage dreaming, and in Gig, he explores how music and the muse intertwine in work and in life. Crammed with stories, anecdotes, jokes, absurdities, the odd informal homily, pitfalls and pratfalls (not all the author’s own), Yorkshire life and death, Gig is about the dream and reality of what you are, and what you might have been.

A really warm, uncynical and refreshing view of the life poetic with stories of being out on the road interspersed with musical reminiscences. Very enjoyable. The only gripe about the otherwise impeccable musical selection is the author’s eventual caving in to the pressures of the Bob Dylan hegemony.

3 star


11 11 2009

Gone to Ground by John Harvey

(Actually read this some time ago) Not a Resnick one but very good nevertheless.

Will’s first thought when he saw the man’s face: it was like a glove that had been pulled inside out…Stephen Bryan, a gay academic, is found brutally murdered in his bathroom. Will Grayson and Helen Walker, police detectives investigating the case, at first assume that his death is the result of an ill-judged sexual encounter: rough trade gone wrong. But doubts are soon raised. Bryan’s laptop has gone missing – could the murder be connected to a biography he was writing on the life and mysterious death of fifties screen legend, Stella Leonard? Convinced there’s a link, Bryan’s sister Lesley sets out to prove that Bryan had uncovered a dangerous truth, and that – desperate to keep it hidden – Stella Leonard’s rich and influential family have silenced him. But soon both Lesley and Helen Walker find themselves victims of the violence that swirls around them, as gradually the investigation uncovers the secrets of a family corrupted by lust, wealth and power…

One of the more recent ones and I think this was in fact the first Harvey I picked up. Mainly set in Cambridge rather than Nottingham but some of the characters do cross over from Resnick series. Really is rather good – well-paced, well-plotted and just an entertaining read.

3 star


5 11 2009

The Maintenance of Headway by Magnus Mills


‘It’s a matter of procedure,’ I explained. ‘Strictly for the record. You don’t get sacked from this job unless you did what Thompson did.’ ‘What did he do then?’ ‘We never mention it.’ In Magnus Mills’ brilliant short novel he transports us into the bizarre world of the bus drivers who take us to work, to the supermarket, to the match and home again. It is a strange but all too real universe in which ‘the timetable’ and ‘maintenance of headway’ are sacred, but where the routes can change with the click of an inspector’s fingers and the helpless passengers are secondary. The journey from the southern outpost to the arch, the circus and the cross will seem as familiar as your regular route, but then Magnus Mills shows you the almost religious fervour which lies behind it, and how it is fine to be a little bit late but utterly unforgivable to be a moment early.

Very reminiscent of The Scheme for Full Employment but none the worse for that. Mills writes in a cool, deadpan style and delivers a surreal tale of the strange life on the buses which is compellingly realised and never dull.

3 star

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