White smoke time

22 04 2017

Conclave by Robert Harris

 

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The Pope is dead.

Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election.

They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals.

Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.

It’s perhaps a surprising topic for a thriller but works extremely well. The insider accounts Harris has managed to source really do ensure this has a really credible setting.

Overall, it’s another cracking effort from an author who has a number of outstanding novels to his name. And there is a really very good twist at the end.

four stars

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For the Fans: Approximation of a playlist §70

17 04 2017

Football team nicknames

Some football teams really do have rather odd nicknames (others are a bit more obvious though):

I’m Your Villain – Franz Ferdinand

Go Now – The Moody Blues

Ram jam – Black Betty

White winter hymnal – Fleet Foxes

Canary In A Coalmine – The Police

Good Technology – Red Guitars

Green Hornet – Al Hirt

If I Had A Hammer – Mel Torme

Royal correspondent – Manic Street Preachers

Tiger Feet – Mud

Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon

Buffalo stance – Neneh Cherry

The Birds And The Bees – Jewel Akens

I Ran (So Far Away) – A Flock of Seagulls

Rockin’ Robin – The Jackson 5

The Lion Sleeps Tonight – Tight Fit

Bootie Call – All Saints

Magpie – Abraham

Darlin’ – Frankie Miller

Baggy Trousers – Madness

Ride A White Swan – T.Rex

Hey Dude Kula Shaker

Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton

A Forest – The Cure

Back of My Hand – Jags

I’m sure there are plenty more.





Blackening the Widow

15 04 2017

Black Widow by Christopher Brookmyre

 

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Did she do it? Did he deserve it?

Diana Jager is clever, strong and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing.

Then she meets Peter. He’s kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past: the second chance she’s been waiting for.

Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead in a road accident, a nightmare end to their fairytale romance.

But Peter’s sister Lucy doesn’t believe in fairytales, and tasks maverick reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling Black Widow…

A classic Brookmyre with plenty of fun and games for everyone’s favourite investigative hack, Jack Parlabane. Entertaining to the end.

four stars





Difficulties with words

8 04 2017

A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell

 

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Four members of the Coverdale family – George, Jacqueline, Melinda and Giles – died in the space of fifteen minutes on the 14th February, St Valentine’s Day. Eunice Parchman, the housekeeper, shot them down on a Sunday evening while they were watching opera on television. Two weeks later she was arrested for the crime. But the tragedy neither began nor ended there…

An early excellent crime mystery by Ruth Rendell which starts with the memorable explanation of the premise: “Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write”.

A shocking warning of the dangers of exceptional literacy.

stars-3-5.





Living a lie

1 04 2017

Lies by T M Logan

 

Joe Lynch is just an ordinary happily-married man – until one split-second decision throws his life into crisis.

When Joe sees his wife having a confrontation with family friend Ben, it’s the first hint that she’s been lying to him – about everything. And when he steps in to protect her, a harmless shove knocks Ben to the ground. And he’s not moving…

Gripping, unputdownable and packed with twists and turns from the first page to the very last, this stunning psychological thriller will make you question whether we can ever really trust the ones we love . . .

There is plenty of hype on the Amazon page about this book but it is pretty well justified. It is genuinely a gripping thriller which starts with an accidental encounter where Joe spots his wife in an unexpected setting and then things immediately start to get out of hand. Then the lies start and you’re not quite sure what’s true any more. Highly recommended (and NB currently available at a bargain price on Kindle).

(Declaration of interest – the author is a colleague of mine and I was therefore naturally nervous about reading this but it is really good. Honest.)

four stars








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