Saturday, January 17, 2015

the double book review gambit

hello there

well, what can i say. new year, possibly new direction here, folks. usually i review some novels, or if you like books, look you see, when i have read three of the things. however, in a potentially controversial move - if the world has all of a sudden got quite dull and such things as this are now deemed to be of a controversial nature - i have opted to do just two.

wow, yeah, let that sink in.

why? well, to be honest, i am getting more and more inclined, on the bus to and from verk, to listen to la pod du moi, really. i am enjoying some of the vibes i have on it, and a few comedy things too. yes, indeed, some of my thinking is that if i use it more frequently then Apple will not just randomly delete all the content when i plug it in.

anyway, books is what is promised, and so here you, or if you will permit me to join you we, go....

quick, spoiler friendly review? sure. both were superb reading, in truth. Gallows View by Peter Robinson, who i think is the name of a character off of that Neighbours show, just might prove to be a little flimsy and shallow on detail for some, but was ace all the same. Secrets Of The Dead by some chap called Tom Harper that i do not recognize as being off of Neighbours or anything Australian was one of the finest novels that i have read.

with that to one side, some mild *** SPOILERS *** might exist after this lovely picture of some Easter Eggs on sale to you, the kids, this January.

eeh, i know, it's disgraceful, selling people Easter Eggs so earlier in the year. it undermines the true meaning of Easter in doing so; chocolate should only be made available in certain forms and shapes at certain stages of each year, i quite agree.

on, finally or if you like at last, to the books, and the first one i read this year then. once again, as usual, the links provided are for your convenience or ease of use. they are not an endorsement of service and i most certainly do not have any sort of affiliate or business account with them.

Gallows View is one of three novels by Peter Robinson that my Aunty (no, not that one, the other one) got me for Christmas. so two more reviews shall follow during the year. don't act like you were not warned.

plot? a partially sleepy, not quite dull but by the same margin not quite as spicy or as exciting as a city sort of town experiences some rather peculiar crimes - a peeping tom, a series of petty thefts and an elderly lady killed in seemingly random, unsure if accident or not circumstances. are they all linked? some copper called Banks, who i believe is to be a recurring character in these books, is, as it were, on the case. or cases.

it's an infuriatingly good read. the written style is superb, and the words flow off of the page and into your mind, your conscious or whatever arty farty term you are most comfortable using for reading. what helps that is it is a gripping and engaging story, although at times it really gets all dark and disturbing. what part, you ask, of that is all infuriating like i said? well, it has a lot to do with it being a rather brief-ish novel, it clocking in at around 300 standard pages squire, and indeed that more than once you ask of yourself "hang on......" when you stop to consider certain parts of the story and the plot.

part of the problem that causes one to say "hang on" is that it is from 1989. as such it has - and i am not saying the author is, just certain things in the story - a certain Thatcherite era feel to it. it takes it as a given that teenage criminals will, on a whim, turn to far harder and sinister crimes for no given or explained reason. it also carries and undercurrent feeling of crimes against women are somehow lesser than those against men. and certain aspects of the conclusion of the novel rely very heavily on "the English way of doing things" in an honest world of perfectly mown lawns and cream tea being the case.

the biggest criticism i can give of  Gallows View is the cover of the novel, which i admit i have not given all that decent a picture of. the cover art has nothing at all to do with the actual novel. this is a fairly common complaint in modern, or if you like contemporary, novels, and i leave it up to you if you feel that is reason enough to skip the novel.

also not related to this, or any legal novel is an image of Sprios in a corporate bathroom. but here is a picture of him in those circumstances anyway, to give you a break from novel reviews.

why is this picture here? actually quite a few of you would know more about that than me. this is here by request. for some reason a great many of you were quite interest to learn of that new place that Spiros goes to get his hair done, and wished to see what his hair looked like after a visit to the place. i agreed to ask Spiros to send a picture of his hairstyle to me to share with you, his "fans", and he said that he would see what he can arrange. the picture that you are looking at, rather than reading this, is what he decided to arrange in this respect.

that's three posts in a row, possibly four, that have made reference to Spiros. hey. if it's what you want then that is cool, i guess. meanwhile, for everyone else, back to the world of novels.

yes indeed, dear reader, as this picture reveals, Secrets Of The Dead is another book that i have got for £2 off of the cigarette counter at Morrisons. this is turning out to be, ladies and gentlemen, a rather smart place to get very good novels from.

plot? some lass that works for the UN or something and her fancy, la-de-dah boyfriend get caught up in the activities, or if you like shenanigans, of one of the Eastern European shady like ganglords who is attempting to loot art and antiques. are they caught up, actually, or are they complicit?

the genius, the strength and the pleasure of this novel is that it switches, chapter by chapter, from a third person narrative of the present day action to a first person account of the era of Constantine - the proper one and not that thing that had Keanu Reeves in it.

if you are thinking, or are of a mind, that this is one of those "if you liked The Da Vinci Code" sort of things, then the answer is sort of yes to that. it borrows from the Dan Brown business model, but does very well indeed with it. in terms of referencing Constantine, for instance, it sticks exclusively to either factual information or the assumed events of the time that has a general consensus of being most likely what happened. somewhat more sophisticated, if you like, than imagining some painter dude hid things in a picture.

again with the covers. why does the cover for Secrets Of The Dead have a dude on it when the protagonist is a lady of the female variety? perhaps it is this error which is what saw it being sold for such a low price.

leave cover problems alone, dear reader. i thoroughly, indeed strongly, recommend this particular book. both the past and the present events were all that enthralling and interesting that i feel in some way compelled to go to York in the not too distant future for the Constantine (proper one) connections.

happy days, then, as my reading exploits for this year have commenced with two very fine reads indeed.

and there shall, dear reader, be more adventures in literature during the course of the year, assuming that my ebola laced man flu does not return and claim me for the earth or pyre. whereas i have expressed, yes, a proclivity for some vibes, i shall still be reading.

a preview of what i shall read next, should i pick up a book during the next week or so to read? such a preview is indeed customary, so here you go.

yes, indeed i have splurged, if not spent, 50p on a Ben Elton novel. i actually really rather like Ben Elton's books, i have read 3 or so and they have all been good.

where did i get this, to fill up some space around this picture, this novel for 50p? WH Smith, as it happen, or 'Smiths' as it is somewhat colloquially called by those who love, admire and frequent the store.

Sharpie, there's someone who does all three in respect of 'Smiths'. lives for the place, he does, and live in the place he would, if he could.

there is something of a legend of the urban nature, or if you like myth, about 'Smiths' and Sharpie. once, so the story goes, he got one of those very rare, hardly ever issued "20% off everything" vouches from them. he opted, or perhaps elected, to go in and spend £5,000,000 (five million notes) at his nearest branch, so he could get a £1,000,000 discount. quite proud of doing that he was, apparently.

anyway, that will do for now. happy reading, if you select either of the novels reflected in the reviews here, and may you have or have had a most splendid weekend.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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