Sunday, August 09, 2015

books of bedtime

hello there

and indeed, as you can work out from the title, look you see, welcome to the new reality of my reading and subsequent reviews. or comments, if you like, since i am not at all sure i do in fact present proper reviews of books, or if you like novels, here. as regular readers will be aware, Arriva, the providers of theoretical public transport in my area, have done all that they can do to stop people actually using their service. as certain somewhat draconian laws exist which prevent a gent from reading as he drives, my reading now takes place on a night alone. hey ho.

what two novels have i most recently read before i drifted off to sleep? well, that would be these two, for a quick glance. hopefully the glance lets you know whether or not you want to read more.

oh, goodie goodie good good. blogger and apple are at war on the subject of image rotation once more, i see, and so you have a sideways view of the novels. sorry for that.

a quick, spoiler free overview of the novels? sure.  

Piece Of My Heart is some 4 or 5 books after the last one i read, and quite a lot happened. it's a cheeky novel in that it borrows off of a famous, or if you like infamous, incident in rock history for its plot point of departure. it's rather good.

Sweetheart or perhaps Sweet Heart appears to be a sequel to what would have been a very, very nasty book indeed to read. it's not at all bad, but rather graphic and violent for some tastes, i suspect. much of the plot and sequences scream "make a film of me", so you may want to hold off on reading it to see if they do in fact do that.

as usual, any links here to the worldwide grocer of poor tax standards but generally fondly thought of by the members of the shopping society are not a specific endorsement from me, or any indication of an affiliation or sponsorship. they exist here purely for ease of reference and you are most welcome, as was the case with me, to shop around and get them for a good deal less.

right, that's the spoiler free review done, so a warning needs to be in place for the rest of this post. ignore or act upon it on your own discretion.


if i were asked, i would say that's one of my best bit of scrolling warnings yet, really.

and so a return to the world of the copper that likes to conduct as much of his work in a pub as possible. yeah, it's another DCI Banks novel off of Peter Robinson, with Piece Of My Heart costing me £1 off of the library.

as mentioned above, there's apparently 3 or 4 Banks novels i have missed. in those novels, it seems, his wife has left him (it was a bit rocky in the last one i read), he found he had a wealthy brother who subsequently died and left him a load of shiny things, his old boss retired, he had at least one affair with a colleague and someone absolutely twatted him one with an iron bar.

but let's worry about this one. plot? a journalist visiting where it is that Banks lives got killed during a power cut. it turns out the journalist was due to interview a former member of a band; a band which had the misfortune to have a founding member die via drowning in a swimming pool. was that drowning a murder, in fact, and was the journalist killed for finding that out? or is it all related to a murder that was dubiously solved back in the 60s; a murder that took place whilst that band was doing a gig?

it's an interesting novel, clearly borrowing from the curious case of Brian Jones. a lot of the fun of the novel is, of course, speculating whether or not anything other than death by swimming pool is a reference to urban legends about the $tone$ or any other such 60s pop rock beat combo groups. but best i not say more, for fear of giving spoilers away that make reading the book, on the whole, pointless.

yes, the usual is in place, as in as much police work as possible happens in a pub. this is true of both the present day sections, and the 1969 flashbacks, so to speak, to the original murder investigations. and, once again, at least one crime, as is standard in the world of Peter Robinson books, is resolved by the English way of doing things, which is to say that (and you read the spoiler warning) someone hands themselves in and confesses even though there was little or no chance of the constabulary clocking it was them.

it would seem that the 50p i threw at Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain was something of a comparative bargain, going on the £10 - £15 pricing it presently enjoys over on amazon at time of me going to print. but is it any good at whatever price you pay?

plot? well, it's a sequel to what sounds very much like it was a lot of disturbing, role reversal gender-wise off of Thomas Harris torture porn. had i read the first one, i suspect i might not have troubled myself with any more. lots have, though, as i believe there are now 6 novels in this series.

that's not much of the plot, is it? right. some copper, who was captured and tortured by a prolific, lady serial killer called Gretchen, is called in when a dead body is found in a forest. near, as it turns out, two other bodies which seemed to have been dumped quite a while ago. also, a popular senator who was about to be exposed for having what in this day and age we are encouraged to call Jimmy Savile tendencies, is killed in an apparent car accident with a famous, well established and celebrated alcoholic of a journalist. yeah. stereotypes abound here. also, the copper - Archie, i think - who was captured and tortured has an unhealthy obsession with, if not love for, his captor, and keeps trying to see her. his fellow coppers but a block on it, but, wouldn't you know, as part of the plot, nature finds a way......

it was an enjoyable novel, if nothing particularly spectacular. a couple of the sequences, in particular a school shut down, all screamed "please film me", as it would provide high action and drama on a relatively low production cost. at it probably would make a pretty decent film, this.

the biggest surprise, i believe, was just how well developed and rounded the theoretical protagonist, Archie the copper, was. it's some really good characterisation and development on the go with him. the rest, in particular this Gretchen killer type, are somewhat skimpy and one dimensional in their presentation. perhaps that gets fixed in some of the other novels.

would i be interested in reading more of these Archie & Gretchen novels? probably, and i would pick them up if i saw them at prices not too far north of what i paid for this one. i'm not, however, going to go out of my way to find them, and i am most decidedly not going to pay amazon's prices.

a sideways look at the backs of the books? i don't see why not, although it is somewhat blurry.

so, two agreeable, indeed acceptable novels read, at a rate somewhat slower than the 60 or 70 minutes each day on a bus would have allowed me to plough through them. i would not hesitate in saying both are worth a read, mindful of the sequence of novels referenced above.

next to read? not sure. i have ordered some interesting sounding novel, the name of which escapes me, that apparently them who did Taxi Driver and Casino attempted to film a few years ago, but is now being made by him that did The French Connection and The Exorcist. i might grab something from the pile before that lands though; you just never know with my wild, crazy ass life.

i trust the info here has been of interest or use to someone!

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