Sunday, 28 August 2016

A. R. ARRINGTON - MIRAGE COLORADO: ROAD TO REDEMPTION (2016)


Synopsis/blurb.....

HOW CAN YOU MAKE AMENDS WHEN YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU'VE DONE?

Moss Partridge has just a very rude awakening. The last he remembers, it was 1864 and he was a paroled Union soldier stopping off in Denver on his way home to his wife and child in Montana. Now it's a dozen years later, he's the town drunk in Mirage, Colorado and he has no memory of those 'lost years.' Something sure must have happened because there are people trying to kill him and two Indian children who are following him everywhere he goes and, apparently, deciding whether he should live or die.

"Mirage, Colorado" is just the first installment in A. R. Arrington's brilliant new series: "Road to Redemption." Follow Moss Partridge as he treks across the length and breadth of the Wild West, meets living legends like Wild Bill Hickok and Colonel John Chivington, and takes part in historic events from gold strikes to gunfights.

A very different "Western," these books will follow one man's journey in search of his home, his history, and his soul.

An interesting departure for me – an 80-odd page long western enjoyed in audio-book format. Our narrator, Alex Zonn has a voice like gravel, one particularly apt to narrating the story of Moss Partridge.

Partridge has “woken” from 12 years of being the town drunk with no recollection of any of them. His road to recovering his memories and possible redemption, seems bound to a pair of sibling Indian children. Moss interacts with the pair - the brother more hostile and far less tolerant than his sister in his judgement of Moss.

Moss gets sober, repaying some trust shown in him by a sceptical townie and sets out to return to his family. Along the way we have a couple of adventures, firstly assisting on a stagecoach ride which is attacked by a gang of hold-up merchants and secondly working on a cattle drive. Partridge’s behaviour and actions, show him as a man of character, quite selfless in his actions.

Each step of the way he’s dogged by these two young Indians, watching, judging and intervening, as Partridge’s behaviour passes muster in their eyes. Our man seems to be atoning for as yet unrevealed sins of the past.

This first episode in Partridge’s return to his past was an intriguing listen, enhanced greatly by the narration. I’m interested in following on with more of these in the future, either in this format or via the written word.

A solid 4 stars from 5

Author detail is scarce, but Ronin Robot Press have been publishing some of his output. There’s a brief author biography on their website….. Author A.R. Arrington, a former rodeo rider, longtime rodeo clown, and Special Forces operative; has decided to turn to Westerns and his high-octane prose is like nothing you've ever read before.


Terry Irving head honcho at Ronin Robot Press and author of the previously enjoyed Courier offered free audio access to this Arrington book. Thanks!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

DOUGLAS SKELTON - BLOOD CITY (2013)



Synopsis/blurb….

Meet Davie McCall - not your average henchman. Abused and tormented by his father for fifteen years, there is a darkness in him searching for a way out. Under the wing of Glasgow's Godfather, Joe 'the Tailor' Klein, he flourishes. Joe the Tailor may be a killer, but there are some lines he won't cross, and Davie agrees with his strict moral code. He doesn't like drugs. He won't condone foul language. He abhors violence against women. When the Tailor refuses to be part of Glasgow's new drug trade, the hits start rolling. It's every man for himself as the entire criminal underworld turns on itself, and Davie is well and truly caught up in the action. But an attractive young reporter makes him wonder if he can leave his life of crime behind and Davie must learn the hard way that you cannot change what you are. Blood City is a novel set in Glasgow's underworld at a time when it was undergoing a seismic shift. A tale of violence, corruption and betrayal, loyalties will be tested and friendships torn apart.

Having read and enjoyed the fourth and final Davie McCall book Open Wounds a month or two ago, I decided to backtrack and read the first three in the series.

Blood City introduces us to Davie and his position of employ with criminal boss, Joe the Tailor in the early 80s. Davie and his best friend Rab McClymont are the young Turks in Joe the Tailor’s operation.  We learn of Davie’s troubled upbringing which saw him witness his father killing his mother in a drunken rage. McCall Snr. flees after the deed and hasn’t been seen since, though he casts a firm shadow over young Davie throughout the book.

Dannie McCall was well known throughout Glasgow’s criminal fraternity and when people see Davie he is immediately reminded of who his father was. Davie wears this association like a badge of shame. Although a criminal at heart, he is nothing like his father. We discover Joe’s history also and what he endured during WW2 as a young Jew in Poland, before relocating to Glasgow. There’s a close bond between Davie and Joe, almost a father and son relationship.

Skelton also introduces us to several of Glasgow’s finest, led by Jack Bannatyne, with “black” Jimmy Knight and Frank Donovan his leading detectives. Teamed together they have differing morals and outlooks on how their policing should be conducted. The black Knight all too happy to overstep the mark and use violence on witnesses or intimidate prostitutes into providing some easy gratification. Donovan, happily married is the other side of the coin.

A scheme to import a massive shipment of drugs, by a Glasgwegian criminal cooperative, fully embracing Thatcher’s spirit of free enterprise, sets a gangland feud in place when Joe the Tailor declines to participate.

Death follows as the various players jockey for position and a share of the profits. Joe’s a marked man. Jimmy Knight has ambitions also and is happy to play a long game. Davie’s on a few people’s radar and his new romance may not be his salvation.

Top marks again for Skelton – character, setting, action, plot and pace – all massive ticks in the box. Everything I like about crime fiction bundled up in a 220 page offering...........criminals with morals, friendships under pressure, outcome uncertain.

Roll on book 2! (Crow Bait - if you’re interested!)

5 from 5


Open Wounds was reviewed here.

Douglas Skelton has his website here.

Borrowed from my local library. Read in August, 2016.



Friday, 26 August 2016

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH MIKE THOMAS

Author Mike Thomas see his third book Ash and Bones released this week by publisher Bonnier-Zaffre.



A cop killer on the loose in Cardiff - introducing a dark and gritty new voice in crime fiction, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride and David Mark

At a squalid flat near the Cardiff docks, an early morning police raid goes catastrophically wrong when the police aren't the only unexpected guests. A plain clothes officer is shot dead at point blank range, the original suspect is left in a coma. The killer, identity unknown, slips away.


Young and inexperienced, Will MacReady starts his first day on the CID. With the city in shock and the entire force reeling, he is desperate to help ­- but unearths truths that lead the team down an increasingly dark path...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mike featured on the blog a bit earlier this week with a spotlight on his two previous novels - Pocket Notebook and Ugly Bus........... 2 BY MIKE THOMAS.

Looks like I've got three interesting books to choose from!

Mike was kind enough to humor me with some answers to a few questions...........


Is the writing full-time?

It is. Finally. It took a long time to get to this point: fifteen years of juggling writing with full time shift work in the police. I earned my stripes doing unpaid news pieces for the local free paper – agricultural events, half marathons, anything to get a byline on the page or something for the CV. Travel articles, too. I’ve been all over the world via Word documents. Things got too complicated – and far too busy – after my first novel, so I took a sabbatical, which I kept extending until finally I decided to hand in my epaulettes in 2015. Just gave it all up: salary, pension, the lot. It was a risk, money-wise, and there have been some hairy moments, but I have no regrets. Policing can be a thankless job. And I hate wearing a tie.

What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?

Most people would expect you to say, ‘When my debut novel was published’ or being longlisted for something or other. But do you know what? Just finishing my first novel was a wonderful feeling. Absolutely wonderful. The sense of achievement at banging out 100,000 words, and most of them making sense. The story making sense. The characters coming to life and staying fully-fleshed. That first time was way back in 2003, and I remember printing the MS out, then putting it on my dining room table and – with my wife – staring at it while we supped wine and wondered if that four inch thick ream of A4 would ever be accepted by a publishing house. If it would change our lives. It was rejected by everyone, of course. But I still relish that small moment now – when you sit back, and take a deep breath,  and type ‘The End’ – because writing a book can be lonely and tedious and take a very, very long time. Time that I’d rather spend drinking whisky and lying down.

Ash and Bones is your third published novel, was it an easier or more difficult book to write than the first two?

A little of both. My first published book was written in an absolute rage – because of my job, mostly – so it poured out, but it was exhausting writing around full time work, plus I had two kids under three and a Master’s degree to contend with. By the time Ash and Bones came around things were a lot calmer, but I soon realised spending twenty years as a plod doesn’t mean writing a crime novel will be an easy task. You’ve got to have an actual plot, and twists, and all this really hard stuff.

How long did Ash and Bones take from conception to completion?

First draft? Around ten months. Then it had to find a home. Then throw in edits from the publisher, then further edits and proofreads right up until the ARC is ready, and you’re talking about three years.

Are there any unpublished gems in the bottom drawer?

Not sure about gems, but I have three complete novels tucked away, all of which I regard as part of learning the trade. I pilfer from them occasionally. A line here, a police joke there. I have a novel that I return to every now and again, my little secret sanity-saver when things are dragging with the crime books. I’ve been writing it for three or four years, just enjoying it, no pressure or deadlines. I love it though. It’s a black comedy about a Special Constable who is a bit of a Walter Mitty type. I hope it sees the light of day at some point.

What’s your typical writing schedule?

Some writers have an up-and-at-em, attack the day attitude, banging out a thousand words before breakfast, but I am not a morning person and even thinking about doing that makes me feel rather unwell. It should be illegal to wake before ten thirty a.m. So I tend to do admin, and articles for my ‘other writing job’ – still the old travel pieces and web content. Anything to get the brain’s rusted cogs going. I’m much more productive in the afternoon. I tend to lose time and have been known to bang out four or five thousand words in a session, then find my family went to bed two hours earlier and I hadn’t even noticed.

Do you insert family, friends, and colleagues into your characters?

Never. I wouldn’t be able to afford the attendant court costs. Perhaps a phrase someone has come out with, or a tiny tic that they have which I’ve noticed but never commented on might make it into a draft, but that would be it. For characters I people watch, and listen a lot. Good habits for a writer.

Are there any subjects off limits?

Personally? No. This is crime we’re talking about, and crime involves some terrible people doing terrible things. Sometimes good people doing horrible things in the heat of the moment. Human beings are capable of monstrous acts, frequently over the most mundane of incidents. My first murder was a wife who’d stabbed her husband to death because he wouldn’t give her one of his cigarettes on the way home from the pub. But do I think about the readers, and what might be considered too grotesque or outlandish? Of course, so that affects some things I write about. It’s difficult for me, because I’ve seen so much in the police and you become inured to the horrific stuff, and I have to try very hard to gauge whether what I’m writing is too stomach-churning. You’re talking about a guy who barely flinched when he saw a dead woman whose face had been eaten by her dog, so it’s safe to say my radar is a little off in that respect.

What are the last five books you have read?

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge. The Revenant by Michael Punke. Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock. An eclectic mix. I read at a glacial pace – always making notes, underlining phrases, dialogue, whole paragraphs – so I choose very carefully.

Who do you read and enjoy?

I don’t read a lot of crime, because I spent so many years working inside the criminal justice system and to go home after a ten hour shift and read about police work would have tipped me over the edge. I do enjoy John Sandford, though. Love his characters, Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers. I enjoy a lot of American writers. Daniel Woodrell, Frank Bill, early Chuck Palahniuk. Tobias Wolff is a favourite, his short ‘Bullet in the Brain’ is just masterful.

Is there any one book you wish you had written?

Mailman
by J. Robert Lennon. It’s superb.

Favourite activity when not working.

Murderous rampages on first-person shooter video games. I’m forty-five, and should know better really.

What’s the current project in progress? How’s it going?

I’ve just finished the second MacReady novel, so am prepping the third. The basic plot is there, but it’s that brief, happy in-between-books period where your head is empty for the first time in two years. My favourite time. I love an empty head.

What’s the best thing about writing?

Being paid for making stuff up. And I can wander the house in my underwear all day, and – after too long spent bowing and scraping to useless police bosses – don’t have to answer to anyone.

The worst?

I’m quite outgoing, so the isolation can be a little much sometimes. But see above – there’s not a lot to moan about with this gig.

In a couple of years’ time…

I just hope the MacReady novels are going from strength to strength, and I’m still fortunate enough to be doing this full time. Even if it is articles about tractor races…




Thanks for the Q & A, Colman – thoroughly enjoyed it!

Mike Thomas has his website here and you can catch him on Twitter - @ItDaFiveOh

Thanks to Mike for taking the time to indulge me.

(BORING ASIDE....I've only read Pollock's Knockemstiff from Mike's last 5 reads. From his favourite authors, I'm similarly a fan of John Sandford, Daniel Woodrell and have just read Frank Bill earlier this month. I think I'll take a pass on Lennon's Mailman. And I've just downloaded a copy of Bullet in the Brain here.) 

Thanks to Emily at Bonnier-Zaffre for setting this up and for the copy of Ash and Bones!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

CHARLIE WILLIAMS - YOUR PLACE IS IN THE SHADOWS (2013)


Synopsis/blurb.........

Six stories from Charlie Williams, renowned author of the Mangel series. An ill-starred young man is frustrated by a faulty lucky amulet. A new lodger introduces two flatmates to a card game with stakes too high for any gambler. A divorced dad gets some late-night advice down the telephone line from the late Stanley Kubrick. Noir, horror and a streak of black humour a mile wide merge in these stories. This is a world whose inhabitants cling to hope but can't seem to escape the shadows.
PRAISE FOR CHARLIE WILLIAMS

"So original that other writers must be gnashing their teeth in jealousy"
- The Guardian

"Charlie Williams has created a stunningly original noir world of his own"
- Jason Starr

"Possibly the best British writer working today. He is the ideal adult humourist - someone whose jokes kick for the gut and often say far more than you realise upon a first reading - and he is also an astute modern commentator, someone with something to say about the darkness that is modern life"
- Russel D McLean

"Even through all of his offbeat humour, there is no mistaking that Charlie Williams is a writer who has something to say"
- Nicholas Blincoe


I'm a fan of Charlie Williams work, especially his Royston Blake-Mangel series, (4 read one to go at some point) though it's been a few years now since I read anything by him.

Your Place in the Shadows was enjoyable, though to be truthful a couple of the stories I didn't really understand. Can you still enjoy the journey if you don't quite get the destination? In Charlie Williams' hands I can.

Shithead was the pick of the bunch, closely followed by Punchbag. 

Shithead is a card game, the object of which is to lose all of one's cards, with the last player to do so being the "shithead". In Williams tale, our card game between flatmates has a greater consequence for the loser than having to deal the next hand. Nightmares and curses.

Punchbag - big, bad, town-bully Brian gets him comeuppance at the hands of Eggy Boyle or what's he's now become. The town needs a new punchbag. 

Sweet and Tender Hooligan.....a burglary goes horribly wrong.

Your Place is in the Shadows.......Tump entrusts slow-witted Jack with The Holy Grail!

Some Help from Stanley....... what can you expect when Stanley Kubrick rings you from beyond the grave at 3am in the morning offering familial advice.

The Threat of Sleep.......dreams, darkness and torment. 

A strangely weird collection - horror-cum-noir, 

4 from 5

Charlie Williams has his website/blog here

He's a top bloke and he once bought me a cappuccino in Borders book shop in Milton Keynes, before profering a collectible but extremely hard-to-find manuscript on me gratis!

Read in April, 2016


Bought and read on Kindle via Amazon.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

2 BY MIKE THOMAS

2 from Welsh ex-cop turned author Mike Thomas this week.

WTF? Who wants to see my feet? No-one! 




















I usually like my crime fiction from the criminal side of the street but I’m not averse to having the opposing POV and these look like fun.

I'm kind of reminded of a police series by Charlie Owen a few years ago which I enjoyed before getting a bit fed-up with Owen's longing for the old days....Horse's Arse (2006), Foxtrot Oscar (2007), Bravo Jubilee (2008), Two Tribes (2009)

Mike Thomas has a third book out very shortly Ash and Bones – a police procedural set in Cardiff.

There will be more from him on the blog later in the week. In the meantime his website is here.

Catch him on Twitter - @ItDaFiveOh 













Pocket Notebook (2010)

Meet Jacob Smith. Your good-old British policeman. The sort revered around the world. But Jacob's no ordinary 'tit-wearing' beat bobby. He's a tactical firearms officer - a handsome, popular, financially secure specialist, no less. He's also married, with two children; a connoisseur of fine cinema, who also enjoys the occasional hit from his expansive collection of do-it-yourself 'art' DVDs (the latest of which was 'borrowed' from a flat during a drugs warrant); an amateur historian, with a keen interest in the Vietnam War. And he does like to keep himself in shape, hence the rather large steroid habit - and the even larger amount of money he owes to his dealer. And did we mention he's partial to women's feet? That the local shoe shop is his lap-dance palace? And the girlfriend, his little Christmas treat to himself, who's desperately trying to shrug him off now it's the New Year? Or what about his parents - do we really need to go there? And now his family and friends are starting to worry about our Jake ...and his police superiors are increasingly taking notice of the way he conducts himself. As you can see, Jake's a very busy boy. And his life is about to get a lot more complicated...

"Pocket Notebook" is the debut novel from serving police officer Mike Thomas. An angry black comedy, it follows Jacob's very public breakdown and subsequent fall from grace, all of which he meticulously records in his police notebook.

Ugly Bus (2014)



Boxing day, late shift. On duty: Flub, Dullas, Vince and Thrush. The new guy: Sergeant Martin Finch. What begins as a routine shift policing a football match rapidly descends into chaos. But how far will new guy Martin go to fit in? One thing is for certain: the lives of everyone on the Ugly Bus - and the life of a young woman drawn into their orbit - will change for ever.

Monday, 22 August 2016

LOGGING THE LIBRARY - PART EIGHTY

Tub 80 and a ridiculous 4000 books logged, let's hope I can retire soon and read some!

Tub 80!

Malcolm Pryce, Tony O'Neill, Helen Walsh, Martin Amis, John Irving,

Not the Tony O'Neill I thought it was, but I still reckon I'll enjoy this one!

John Irving - short story collection
Here is a treat for John Irving addicts and a perfect introduction to his work for the uninitiated. In his spirited opening piece, Irving explains how he became a writer:

'A fiction writer's memory is an especially imperfect provider of detail; we can always imagine a better detail than the one we can remember. The correct detail is rarely exactly what happened; the most truthful detail is what could have happened, or what should have...Being a writer is a strenuous marriage between careful observation and just as carefully imagining the truths you haven't had the opportunity to see. The rest is the necessary strict toiling with the language...'

'With that in mind I think that I have become a writer because of my grandmother's good manners and - more specifically - because of a retarded garbage collector to whom my grandmother was always polite and kind.'

There follows six scintillating stories written over the past twenty years, including The Pension Grillparzer, previously only to be found inside The World According To Garp, and now given its first independent airing. The collection ends with a homage to Charles Dickens, of which the Sunday Telegraph said, 'so rousingly old-fashioned, so intelligent, so heart-felt, so politically incorrect and so correct in every way that matters, that it makes you want to dance naked through the streets brandishing a copy of Great Expectations.'

Mark Childress, Sean Black, Chris Simms, Mark Brandon Read, Charlie Huston,

Charlie Huston, Geoff Nicholson, Elmore Leonard, Colin Bateman, Edwin Torres, 

Joe Pitt novel 
NOBODY LIVES FOREVER. NOT EVEN A VAMPYRE.

Just ask Joe Pitt. After exposing the secret source of blood for half of Manhattan's Vampyres, he's definitely a dead man walking. He's been a punching bag and a bullet magnet for every Vampyre Clan in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, not to mention a private eye, an enforcer, an exile, and a vigilante, but now he's just a target with legs.

For a year he's sloshed around the subway tunnels and sewers, tapping the veins of the lost, while above ground a Vampyre civil war threatens to drag the Clans into the sunlight once and for all. What's it gonna take to dig him up? Just the search for a missing girl who's carrying a baby that just might be the destiny of Vampyre-kind. Not that Joe cares all that much about destiny and such. What he cares about is that his ex-girl Evie wants him to take the gig. What's the risk? Another turn playing pigeon in a shooting gallery. What's the reward? Maybe one shot of his own. What's he aiming for? Nothing much. Just all the evil at the heart of his world.

Geoff Nicholson
Mick is on his way to the Smoke from the provinces. He's got six guys to find with only their names to go on and no more help than the phone book and an A Z. Stuart is determined to walk each of the capital's roads, streets and alleyways. But what will he do when there's nothing left of his A Z but blacked out pages? Judy is set on creating her own unique map of each of the metropolis' boroughs . . . an A Z of sex in the city. Three strangers in search of London's heart and soul, mapping out their stories from Acton to Hackney, Chelsea Harbour to Woolwich, in a comic dance of sex and death.

Colin Bateman - funny as f***!
Set in a mythical Northern Ireland town. Drunken journalist Miller is sent as a punishment from his Belfast newspaper to small-town Crossmaheart as a replacement for someone who has disappeared. Once there, he falls is love with the missing man's girlfriend.

Walter Mosley x 3, Patrick Neate, Gary Phillips, 

Ivan Monk series book!
Set in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating and the subsequent riots, a novel set in Los Angeles in which a private investigator examines the murder of a Korean shop owner. Many suspect a racial motive, but it soon becomes clear to the private investigator that greed is a more likely motive.

Gotta love those 90s Serpents Tail covers - Walter Mosley!
The police don't show up on Easy Rawlins's doorstep until the third girl dies. It's Los Angeles, 1956, and it takes more than one murdered black girl before the cops get interested. Now they need Easy. As he says: "I was worth a precinct full of detectives when the cops needed the word in the ghetto." But Easy turns them down. He's married now, a father -- and his detective days are over. Then a white college coed dies the same brutal death, and the cops put the heat on Easy: If he doesn't help, his best friend is headed for jail. So Easy's back, walking the midnight streets of Watts and the darker, twisted avenues of a cunning killer's mind....
Another Easy Rawlins book!
It's 1964, and Easy Rawlins has given up street life, and has a job as a high school janitor. One morning, Easy is seduced by a teacher with a dog. By evening, the teacher is gone, leaving Easy with her dog, and a corpse. A murderer is running loose and a little yellow dog is plotting revenge.

Walter Mosley, Sebastian Faulks, Denis Johnson, Jim Thompson, Andrea Camilleri,

1954 novel from Jim Thompson
Young, beautiful, and fearfully abused, Mona was the kind of girl even a hard man like Dillon couldn't bring himself to use. But when Mona told him about the vicious aunt who had turned her into something little better than a prostitute--and about the money the old lady has stashed away--Dillon found it surprisingly easy to kill for her.

Denis Johnson
From the National Book Award-winning, bestselling author of Tree of Smoke comes a provocative thriller set in the American West. Nobody Move, which first appeared in the pages of Playboy, is the story of an assortment of lowlifes in Bakersfield, California, and their cat-and-mouse game over $2.3 million. Touched by echoes of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, Nobody Move is at once an homage to and a variation on literary form. It salutes one of our most enduring and popular genres - the American crime novel - but does so with a grisly humor and outrageousness that are Denis Johnson's own. Sexy, suspenseful, and above all entertaining, Nobody Move shows one of our greatest novelists at his versatile best.

Tom McNab, John Boyne, Walter Mosley x 2, Martin Cruz Smith,

Early 70s Cruz Smith!
The priceless Royal Crown of Hungary was on display in St Patrick's Cathedral in New York. Guarded by many, including the NYPD and the gypsy, Roman Grey, a heist was impossible. But it happened, and murder, mayhem and all hell broke loose. By the author of "Gorky Park".

Declan Hughes, Carl Hiaasen x 2 John McCabe, Ray Shannon, 

Carl Hiaasen - and his weekly rage against the machine! Collection of newspaper columns.
The "Miami Herald" columnist shares his best comic work, covering everything from sports and tourism to corruption in local politics, the Elian Gonzalez affair, and the 2000 presidential election recount.
John McCabe, 
What happens after you get away with it?

For Ian HAS got away with it. His computer banking scam. It worked. All he has to do now is stay out of England, sit back and spend the impressive monthly salary he hasn't earned.

But as an unexpected glitch begins to threaten Ian's cosy lifestyle, he realises that desperate situations call for desperate remedies. Even to the extent of moving to the West Midlands and pretending to be a mediocre scientist called Darren.

Darren doesn't know anything about this, but he soon will. All he does know is that someone has stolen his identity and is spending it unwisely. His blissfully unaware existence is about to become caught up in something entirely of another person's making.

Archie has never met Darren, and wishes that he had never met Ian. But now it appears that Ian has resurfaced, and is passing himself off as Darren. Things are beginning to look up. For when identities are being traded, it takes someone of Archie's incessant dullness to triumph amongst uncertainty.
Robert Crais, Jesse Kellerman, G. M. Ford, Sam Reaves, Various,

A novel by 9 folks!
Sex. Money. International terrorism. And, of course, the ultimate question: Can a compact backswing save the world? Now, in the tradition of Naked Came the Stranger and Naked Came the Manatee, a clubhouseful of acclaimed authors pass the baton (or the six-iron) to create an ensemble tour de force of suspense, romance, and hilarity on the links. Golf is not a team sport. But who says fiction can't be? Get ready. The gallery is hushed-and the approach shot nears. The birdie has landed... THE PUTT AT THE END OF THE WORLD Fore? No, nine! That's right. Nine literary grand masters each contribute a chapter and together bring you a full round-robin of characters, not to mention a blistering drive of a story line that beats par with every page.

Alfonzo Zamora is the venerable Mexican Senior player who's just discovered he's going blind. Billy Sprague is the country club pro with a swing as elegant as an eagle in flight-except when money's on the line. Rita Shaughnessy is the hard-drinking, hard-loving, hard-luck golfer on the women's pro tour.

All three receive an invitation from multibillionaire Phillip Bates, founder of Macrodyne Software. To inaugurate his dazzling new course in Scotland, Bates is spending millions to host a tournament starring the superpro trio. The gala will welcome world leaders in the name of global peace and the universal language of golf. Launching Bates's new, revolutionary computer operating system, the weekend volley will also attract a long scorecard of wild and unanticipated guests, including the world's most elusive environmental terrorist, a Spanish caddie named Humpy who inspires bogeys, a caddish pro who can't pass the Rorschach test, a sexy male-female counterterrorist team who keep driving into traps of their own making, a certain naked golfer making a bid for his hole in one, and enough plastique to end the world as we know it....

Will things get rough in the rough?

Will the green run red?

Where is the mysterious nineteenth hole?

And in an apocalyptic final play that will determine the fate of the world, ecoterrorists will converge on the course for an explosive putt to end all putts. The "Good Walk" has never been more fun!

John Le Carre, Charles Willeeford, Lionel White, John Lutz, Robert Goddard, 

My man Willeford!
A nervous breakdown, two daughters who want to quit school and a pregnant unmarried partner tells Hoke Moseley it is time to simplify his crazy life. Moving out of Miami to manage a small hotel seems a good idea - until psycho career criminal, Troy Louden, happens along with his makeshift gang that includes a little old man, a no-talent artist, a disfigured stripper and drags Hoke back to the job he thought he had left behind for ever.

1955 - Lionel White!
The wheels were beginning to turn. From all parts of the country quiet, tough men slipped into the small southern coastal town and took up the final vigil. There was the arsonist, the safe blower, the boy-faced killer-there was a regiment of crack, lawless men waiting out the minutes until Saturday night-the night the town would explode into violence. For in the center of town sat the bank-a citadel of twelve million dollars, impregnable as Gibraltar, safe as a church. Safe-until precisely ten-fifteen on Saturday night. Until the wheels began to pick up momentum, and suddenly a fire lit the sky, and the power went off all over town and under way went the king-sized knockover. The grand slam. The Big Caper.
John Straley, Mark Timlin, Paul Murray, Tony O'Neill, Daniel Lang, 

John Straley
Cold Storage, Alaska, is a remote fishing outpost where salmonberries sparkle in the morning frost and where you just might catch a King Salmon if you're Zen enough to wait for it. Settled in 1935 by Norse fishermen who liked to skinny dip in its natural hot springs, the town enjoyed prosperity in the mid-20th century, at the height of the frozen fish boom. But now the cold storage plant is all but abandoned and the population is shrinking every day.

Clive "the Milkman" McCahon returns to his tiny Alaska hometown after a seven-year jail stint for dealing coke. He has a lot to make up to his younger brother, Miles, who has dutifully been taking care of their ailing mother - and, really, all of Cold Storage. Miles is a physician's assistant and the closest thing to a doctor this side of Sitka. But Clive doesn't realize the trouble he's bringing home. He's reformed now, and his dream is to open a bar-slash-church (a Cold Storage ordinance requires there to be as many churches in town as there are bars). Clive's vengeful old business partner is hot on his heels, a stick-in-the-mud State Trooper is dying to bust Clive for narcotics, and, to complicate everything, Clive might be going insane - lately, he's been hearing animals talking to him. Will his arrival in Cold Storage be a breath of fresh air for the sleepy, depopulated town? Or will it turn the whole place upside-down?
The correct Tony O'Neill!
"Lupita and Genesis have just wasted a drug dealer and hit the open road with a suitcase full of dirty money and crystal meth. Little do they know that their road trip will set them on a collision course with a side of American life even darker and weirder than their own. IRVINE WELSH _'BLACK NEON is a pitch black classic slice of neo-noir, where black magic, art house cinema, drug-fuelled madness and apocalyptic violence collide with dizzying effect.I fell in love with every page.'

Tub 80 - sorted and logged!

HIGHLIGHTS........Charles Willeford, Tony O'Neill, Lionel White, Elmore Leonard, Jim Thompson, Colin Bateman, Walter Mosley and all the rest!

LOWLIGHTS...... Nothing - not a bad book in the bunch!

FULL LIST OF 50 AS FOLLOWS:


AUTHOR TITLE YEAR SERIES
AMIS MARTIN OTHER PEOPLE 1981
BATEMAN COLIN CYCLE OF VIOLENCE 1995
BLACK SEAN LOCK DOWN 2009 RL1
BOYNE JOHN THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS 2006
CAMILLERI ANDREA THE TRACK OF SAND 2010 IM12
CHILDRESS MARK A WORLD MADE OF FIRE 1984
CRAIS ROBERT THE TWO MINUTE RULE 2006
CRUZ SMITH MARTIN CANTO FOR A GYPSY 1972 RG2
FAULKS SEBASTIAN ENGLEBY 2007
FORD G. M. BLOWN AWAY 2006 FC6
GODDARD ROBERT SIGHT UNSEEN 2005
HIAASEN CARL PARADISE SCREWED 2001
HIAASEN CARL KICK ASS 1999
HUGHES DECLAN CITY OF LOST GIRLS 2010 EL5
HUSTON CHARLIE SIX BAD THINGS 2005 HT2
HUSTON CHARLIE MY DEAD BODY 2009 JP5
IRVING JOHN TRYING TO SAVE PIGGY SNEED 1993
JOHNSON DENIS NOBODY MOVE 2009
KELLERMAN JESSE SUNSTROKE 2006
LANG DANIEL CASUALTIES OF WAR 1969
LE CARRE JOHN A PERFECT SPY 1986
LEONARD  ELMORE TISHOMINGO BLUES 2002
LUTZ JOHN SCORCHER 1987 FC2
McCABE JOHN SNAKESKIN 2001
McNAB TOM FLANAGAN'S RUN 1982
MOSLEY WALTER A LITTLE YELLOW DOG 1996 ER5
MOSLEY WALTER A RED DEATH 1991 ER2
MOSLEY WALTER WHITE BUTTERFLY 1992 ER3
MOSLEY WALTER LITTLE SCARLET 2004 ER9
MOSLEY WALTER GONE FISHIN' 1997 ER6
MOSLEY WALTER RL'S DREAM 1995
MURRAY PAUL SKIPPY DIES 2010
NEATE PATRICK TWELVE BAR BLUES 2001
NICHOLSON GEOFF BLEEDING LONDON 1997
O'NEILL TONY RED ARMY GENERAL 2004
O'NEILL TONY BLACK NEON 2014
PHILLIPS  GARY VIOLENT SPRINGS 1994 IM2
PRYCE MALCOLM DON'T CRY FOR ME ABERYSTWYTH 2007 LKM4
READ MARK BRANDON CHOPPER 5
REAVES SAM DOOLEY'S BACK 2002
SHANNON RAY FIRECRACKER 2004
SIMMS CHRIS KILLING THE BEASTS 2005 DIJS1
STRALEY JOHN COLD STORAGE, ALASKA 2012
THOMPSON JIM A HELL OF A WOMAN 1954
TIMLIN MARK TAKE THE A-TRAIN 1991 NS6
TORRES EDWIN CARLITO'S WAY 1975 C1
VARIOUS THE PUTT AT THE END OF THE WORLD 2000
WALSH HELEN BRASS 2004
WHITE LIONEL THE BIG CAPER 1955
WILLEFORD CHARLES SIDESWIPE 1987 HM3

Sunday, 21 August 2016

JULY 2016 - FILMS AND TV

Another decent month's viewing - good films, bad films and only a bit of TV drama.

An Irish cop drama set in a fictional small town. My eyes lit up when I saw this was airing on BBC daytime daily. Unfortunately the scheduling was such that all 40 episodes were being shown, I guess over an 8 week period. I set the player to record the series, but while enjoying the show couldn't maintain the hectic viewing pace required to keep up. Each episode is approx 45 minutes long. I enjoyed 7 or 8 then hit delete, as no-one in the family could record anything because I had eaten up all the recording hours. I was really enjoying it, so will keep an eye out for it appearing on Netflix.

Small town cops, drugs, a murder, blackmail and an overriding feud  between two families, a police officer messing around with the underage school friend of his own daughter and a rookie cop who is wise to him. Lots to like about this one. 

New Blood and the continuation of another 2 episode story line with a couple of cops one of Polish extraction, one of Iranian. Penned by Anthony Horowitz, I'll finish this off, probably when the Olympics is over.

Another hard-hitting and brutal British film starring Eddie Marsan. Marsan is a drunk who takes pity on a teenage girl sleeping rough. Little does he know what he's just let himself in for. Didn't quite buy the ending, but up until then it was gripping and compulsive viewing. Tom Sturridge is quite chilling as our gun-wielding young thug.

A film I quite enjoyed without feeling the urge to see it again the second it was over. Ye Olde Victorian magicians taking their rivalry a bit too far. I was rooting for the Bale fellow throughout, boo to Hugh Jackman. Very clever, though I kind of saw through one of the character's disguises before the big reveal. I did like Michael Caine in this also.

What a pile of old shit - lasted about 10 minutes before hitting stop and then delete. I don't think I'm a massive Dan Aykroyd fan anyway to be honest. My wife wasn't up for this, left on my own I would possibly have persevered. It could only have improved.

My daughter's big idea. What a waste of celluloid. I caught snippets of the first and it was 10 x better than this lame affair.

Really enjoyable - eco terrorism and the infiltration of the group by an undercover operative working for Meryl Streep's powerful company. Our undercover oppo eventually questions her loyalties. Brit Marling was superb, I don't think I've seen her in anything before. 

Enjoyable if far-fetched espionage romp with old Bruce and John Malkovitch. Obviously not taking itself too seriously but I think my enjoyment perhaps suffered by not seeing the original. 

Another cracking film. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and his brother Ethan Hawke commit an unthinkable crime. Albert Finney, their father - wonders where it went wrong with his two boys? Highly recommended. Now this one I could have watched again the second it finished.

Synopsis.......While still a teen himself, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son,Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent. On Todd's 18th birthday, Donny cut the youth loose. After years of estrangement,the older man shows up unexpectedly on the eve of his son's wedding day, sending the young man's life into a tailspin. Donny wants desperately to reconnect with Todd, but he must now deal with the repercussions of the bad parenting he exhibited in the past.
I saw some scathing reviews of this after having watched it. I do like Andy Samberg (Brooklyn 99) and I've enjoyed a fair few Adam Sandler films over the years, most notably The Wedding Singer and Fifty First Dates. Me and mine really enjoyed it. Infantile, puerile, rude, crude, bawdy, childish, offensive - a tick in every box. Funny as fuck. Sometimes you want to watch a film where you can leave your brain at the door and it gets played strictly for laughs. Probably not one to show my mum or mother-in-law when they're over at Christmas!

Stellar cast and another great British movie from about 15 years ago. Michael Caine dies and the gang of friends and his son, Ray Winstone are left with carrying out his final wishes - disposing of his ashes. We delve back into the past and see the war,  the establishment of a life-long friendship, the blossoming of a young romance, a marriage, some rocky spells and a child that is the source of a deep division between Caine and his wife Helen Mirren. Does Bob Hoskins rise to the occasion and do the decent thing at the end? Watch it and find out.

Another Friday night horror film. Haven't finished it yet. Not at all scary, more of a comedy. Maybe I'm just getting braver!