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House Divided: A Joe DeMarco Thriller (Joe DeMarco Thrillers)
House Divided: A Joe DeMarco Thriller (Joe DeMarco Thrillers)
by Michael Lawson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.97
69 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On a roll!, October 27, 2011
With "House Divided", the 6th Joe Demarco thriller, Mike Lawson shows just how an adroit plotter & writer he is. This guy is on a roll - his books just keep getting better & better! I won't go into a long spiel about what "House Divided" is about; plenty of reviewers on this page have already done that & there is no point being repetitious. What I will say however, is that "House Divided" is the best political thriller I have read (& that you will probably read) this year. With DeMarco's boss, Senator John Mahoney, sidelined in hospital by illness & not calling the shots in DeMarco's daily life, Lawson shows us another side of DeMarco, one in which he is the subject of manipulation & control by forces much greater than those he normally deals with, & who are all trying to use him for their own ends. And Demarco, usually cool under pressure & in command, increasingly finds himself on the back foot, as he is embroiled in a lethal game between Washingtom power brokers & an equally powerful spy agency. How does Demarco manage to extricate himself from the mire? To find out, you'll have to read "House Divided". But be warned, if you start readiing at night, don't expect to get any sleep, for this non-stop thrill ride is certainly a one-sitting story.


The Deep Dark Sleep: A Lennox Thriller
The Deep Dark Sleep: A Lennox Thriller

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, September 29, 2011
Craig Russell is the author of several thrillers including three featuring his Glasgow-based PI (although he prefers to be known as an enquiry agent), Lennox, all of which are deserving of a five-star rating. When human remains are recovered from the River Clyde in Glasgow, they are believed to be those of 'Gentleman' Joe Stachan, once Glasgow's most ruthless criminal identity. Strachan had disappeared years before - believed dead - following a volent robbery in which a young police officer was shot & killed. Each year on the anniversary of Strachan's disappearance, his twin daughters have received an anonymous sum of money, & now that Strachan appears to have been found, they want to know who has been sending them money each year. Enter Lennox, who despite being warned off by both criminal & police alike, decides to take the case anyway, & soons finds himself in jeopardy, with his own life at stake. Russell is a most gifted author, & "The Deep Dark Sleep" is an excellent novel. Lennox goes where angels fear to tread, even into the lair of Willie Sneddon, the most feared of Glasgow's criminal elite, the 'Three Kings', and comes away battered & bruised for his efforts. But Lennox is a very persistant cuss, and aware of the dangers, plods on. The trail of 'Gentleman' Joe Strachan is one that twists & turns, and Russell makes sure that the the answers don't come easily to Lennox, a strategy that keeps the reader turning the pages. In my case, even when sleep beckoned. I simply could not put this book down. The solution when it comes, is totally satisfying, as with Russell's previous Lennox thrillers. Craig Russell is clearly an author at the very top of his game, & "The Deep Dark Sleep" an exceptional thriller, well worthy of a five star rating.


Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage
Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage
by David Ignatius
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.05
168 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Blood Money - Bloody Good!, September 28, 2011
David Ignatius continues to go from strength to strength as a writer of intelligent spy fiction. Like Body of lies, Ignatious weaves a tale of deception & betrayal that is a testament to his ability to conjure up a tale to tease & captivate the reader. The storyline has already been dealt with by other reviewers & it seems a waste of time to repeat it all over again. Suffice to say that this story involving the intelligence communities of Great Britain, Pakistan, & the USA, and the the anonymous mastermind behind a series of deaths of US agents, is an enthralling read that shows an author at the top of his game & will not disappoint readers of authentic spy fiction. And its ending re-affirms the belief that in the intelligence community, is there anyone who can be trusted?


Now You See Her
Now You See Her
by James Patterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.85
510 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Can these Patterson/hack collaborations get any worse?, September 27, 2011
This review is from: Now You See Her (Hardcover)
Alongside this review box is a section entitled 'What makes a good review?'. It goes on to suggest that the review should be detailed & specific, and that the reviewer is asked, 'what would you have wanted to know before you purchased the product?'. I'll answer the question first. I would have liked to know that this was in fact, a real thriller, that it would entertain me, that it would be worth the money laid out for it, that I was not going to waste valuable time reading it, and that it was not just a cheap collaboration for money's sake. I guess I am one of the old school who believes that authors have a responsibility to their readers, & that responsibility involves providing a quality product to the reading public. Unfortunately for the reader, "Now You See Her" fails on all of these points. Secondly, the issue of being detailed & specific. Ok, this one's easy. "Now You See Her" is tedious, predictable, badly written, a waste of paper, In short, it's awful! (or perhaps that should read: it's offal!). So for those of you who like to be challenged, teased & tantalised, kept guessing, and satisfied with your thrillers, this book is not for you. Then again, if you're looking for something to help put you to sleep, "Now You See Her" is just what the doctor ordered. I read recently that James Patterson was the top money-making author last year. Well as long as the public continue to believe that these Patterson collaborations are actually quality works, he & his publishers will be laughing all the way to the bank for years to come. Judging from the recent Patterson collaborations that I have read, there is unlikely to be any improvement in their quality in those same years, and this raises big questions about publishing ethics today.


Kill Me If You Can
Kill Me If You Can
by James Patterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.21
359 used & new from $0.01

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Career low?, September 27, 2011
This review is from: Kill Me If You Can (Hardcover)
I find myself in somewhat of a quandry here. I have just read Patterson's new Alex Cross novel, entitled "Kill Alex Cross" (yes folks, it's already on the booksheves down under), and yet because it has not been released in the US, I can't write a review of it. Which is a shame in a way, because it is the first Patterson-penned book released this year, that I am prepared to award more than one star to - in fact, I am happy to give it 3 stars. It shows that Patterson is still capable of putting pen to paper, & producing something that is not complete rubbish. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Marshall Karp (or should that be Krap in this instance). "Kill Me If You Can" is not just bad, it is atrocious. I noticed another reviewer described it as boring - may I suggest that that is putting it mildly. And to think that trees are cut down so that rubbish like this can appear in print. I took a look at Karp's Amazon page - I just couldn't help myself - & noticed the following points, Karp admitted that he once wrote labels of tuna fish cans for a living, & that he confessed to be, quote, 'totally incapable of holding a job', unquote. With regard to the first comment, may I ask, why Marshall, did you every give up writing those labels, for considering the quality of "Kill Me If You Can", you MUST have been better doing the labels. And as for the second statement, it is quite clear that Marshall Karp is also incapable of writing a genuine crime thriller - especially if this book is anything to go by. Well, look on the bright side, having read this will ensure I avoid further Patterson/Karp titles.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2011 10:54 PM PDT


Portrait of a Spy
Portrait of a Spy
by Daniel Silva
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.68
368 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not his best!, September 15, 2011
This review is from: Portrait of a Spy (Hardcover)
I've read all of the Allon series, and while there is no doubt that Silva is a very competent & interesting author, this latest outing in the Allon series just seems to lack something to me. Maybe it's how Allon always seems to be present when something is about to go down, like being in Covent Garden just in time to see & recognise a suicide bomber. It just seems a bit far-fetched to me, and I think this is one of the problems inherent with writers persisting to write a series of books featuring the same character. Sure, the books are all stand alone novels, but the emphasis placed on the one central character throughout the series means that often the storyline can lack credibility. Don't get me wrong, I like the Allon books, & I think Silva is a good thriller writer. But look what happened to Bourne after Ludlum died, & you might understand how I feel. Ludlum restricted the Bourne character to 3 excellent novels, & there was no intention to resurrect him after "The Bourne Ultimatum". In essence, the three novels told a story from beginning to end. Then some bright spark decided that there was a lot more money to be made from the Bourne character, & contracting the writing work out to Eric Van Lustbader, we end up getting a new Bourne novel each year - novels that are of a much more inferior quality than the original three titles, & books that from Ludlum's point of view, were probably never meant to be written. Still, having said that, I have given it 4 stars; Silva is a good author & he does write intriguing thrillers - good storylines, plotting & characters, and generally a satisfactory outcome.


Mean Old Man [Deluxe Edition]
Mean Old Man [Deluxe Edition]
Price: $11.88
40 used & new from $7.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of six stars!, September 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is Jerry Lee's second album of duets, following on from "Last Man Standing", and at 75 years young, it's clear that "The Killer" has still got a lot of rockin' to do. With his trademark piano style, Jerry Lee romps through an album of songs both simple & diverse; from rock n' roll to country, from R & B to gospel, and only twice does the album miss a beat. The title track, penned by Kris Kristofferson, is one of those numbers where no matter how hard the artist tries, it can't be elevated above the mundane. The second miss, is the inclusion of "You Are My Sunshine". Now Sheryl Crow is a great songstress, & one would have thought for a duet with Jerry Lee, they could have come up with something better than this tired old song. Apparently not. However, as for the rest of the album, it's strictly A-grade stuff, & the the choice of songs & partners for Jerry Lee, is inspired. From the driving rock n roll of the classics 'You Can Have Her" & "Roll Over Beethoven" (a superb cover version of this, featuring John Mayer & Ringo Starr), to country hits "Hold You In My Heart" (with Shelby Lynne), "Swingin' Doors" (with The Hag of course), & "Whisky River" (with Willie), "Mean Old Man" is an album to be savoured, again & again. And with the talents of other greats like Mavis Staples, John Fogerty, Kid Rock, Gillian Welch, Soloman Burke, plus Jagger, Richards, & Wood, to name a few, "Mean Old Man" is worthy of more than 5 stars.


Zatoichi (The Last) (Japanese Movie with English subtitle)
Zatoichi (The Last) (Japanese Movie with English subtitle)
DVD ~ Shingo Katori

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In a word, 'rubbish'!, September 5, 2011
As a long-time fan of the Zatoichi films (I have the entire series at home), I was excited to hear that a new film was being made. As a die-hard traditionalist, and avid fan of the work os Shintaro Katsu, I was slightly concerned that the new Zatoichi would be portrayed by a much younger actor, a path adroitly avoided by Takeshi Kitano in his excellent outing "The Blind Swordsman Zatoichi", however, I felt it necessary to approach the new film with an open mind. However, after sitting through this film, I can only say how disappointed & disgusted I was at the treatment meted out to this iconic screen hero, by an actor (Shingo Katori) totally out of his depth here, and a director (Junji Sakamoto) possibly more suited to making television commercials. Simply put, "The Last Zatoichi" is appalling! Katori's hapless performance under Sakamoto's dreadful directing, presents Zatoichi as a weak & pathetic young man, directionless in his life, stumbling from one embarassing sword fight to another. And don't expect too much from the storyline or other characters in the film either. The story meanders all over the place in a very dis-jointed fashion, & after a while, you can't remember who among the supporting characters are good & who are bad. And all Zatoichi fans should feel insulted by the treatement given to his character in this piece of cinematic rubbish, and I can only imagine that his creator, as well as the the late Shintaro Katsu, must be turning in their graves. Clearly, Sakamoto overlooked the fact that in the world of the poor of that time, Zatoichi was their great hope; the blind, nomadic samurai, whose courage was legendary, & whose sword cut down all who oppressed the poor. These facts were not overlooked by Kitano in his film, which stayed true to the character of Zatoichi, and which, as a result, was widely accepted by Zatoichi & Katsu fans alike. The final insult for viewers & Zatoich fans alike, comes with the film's final outcome, and shows only too clearly, how far from the legendary status of the iconic Zatoichi, Sakamoto was prepared to stray, & how deep, & he was prepared to sink. If you are a Zatoichi fan, avoid this as you would the plague, after all, the character here is nothing like the real Zatoichi.


RICKY KING - THE BEST WORLD INSTRUMENTAL HITS [2CD][IMPORT][DIGIPACK]
RICKY KING - THE BEST WORLD INSTRUMENTAL HITS [2CD][IMPORT][DIGIPACK]

5.0 out of 5 stars A true craftsman!, August 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Ricky King was born Hans Lingenfelder in March 1946 (whch makes him 65 now) & must surely be one of the most underrated musicians in the world. His albums are generally a balanced mix of well known guitar hits & other popular tunes, but there is nothing general about the quality of his albums, or his talent as a guitarist. This album is a superb cross-section of tunes that highlight the extraordinary talent of this man. His playing is perfection in itself, and the double-disced "Ricky King - The Best Instrumental Hits" is a showcase of the best guitar instruments available today. Forget The Shadows, The Ventures, Duane Eddy, & the like, This man is a true artist with the guitar. From 'Love Story', 'El Condor Pasa', Yesterday', 'Jambalaya', ' Guitar Tango', 'Spanish Eyes', 'Zorba', & 'Marie Elena' (from the 27 tune selection on Disc one), to 'Apache' (done better than The Shadows), 'Strangers In The Night', 'Riders In The Sky', 'Song Sung Blue', 'Wheels', 'Rivers of Babylon', 'Bonanza', & a superb version of 'House of The Rising Sun' (from the other 27 selections on Disc two), this offering of 54 numbers from one of the world's finest gutarists, is outstanding value & quality.


Precious Blood (Edward Jenner Series)
Precious Blood (Edward Jenner Series)
by Jonathan Hayes
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
82 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional debut!, August 21, 2011
It's been 3 years since "Precious Blood" was released, & I find it hard to understand how I could have missed reading it until now. Perhaps it's because there is a plethora of serial killer novels available today, most of which are low quality works that simply fail to provide the reader with anything close to a good read. The fact is, there are only a handful of authors who are capable of creating & sustaining the type of nightmarish scenarios that cause us to dread the dark, startle at any unfamiliar sound, and make sure that we have locked our doors and windows at night. Richard Montanari & John Connolly come immediately to mind. Now you can add Jonathan Hayes to these, for if "Precious Blood" is anything to go by, he is an author who is going to introduce us to a maelstrom of indescribable horror & fear, in the years ahead. The storyline of "Precious Blood" is simple - Dr Edward Jenner, forensic pathologist in post 9/11 New York, is drawn into a case involving the ritual slaughter of several young women, each of whom have been marked with an ancient indecipherable script. Unable to participate officially in the investigation, Dr. Jenner, with the aid of allies within the NYPD, and Ana de Jong, flatmate of the first victim, who narrowly escaped being killed herself, combine to track down the killer, labelled The Inquisitor. And with each new victim comes a more bizarre & cruel method of killing, as The Inquisitor draws Jenner & de Jong into his plan, played with his rules, and with an endgame that will be a personal nightmare for both of them. Hayes is a superb writer! A medical examiner himself, he is aptly suited to deliver the most graphic scenes of violence perpetrated on the victims in the most chilling way, and yet he is also able to keep the reader on the edge of their seat throughout. I simply could not put "Precious Blood" down, and I have to say that Montanari & Connolly have some serious competition on their hands now.


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