Thursday, 30 September 2021
Wednesday, 29 September 2021
Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Monday, 27 September 2021
What happens when the world's most beloved holiday falls into the hands of communists?
Life in the North Pole isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be. Ever since Santa and his toy sweatshop moved into town, it’s been nothing but back-breaking labor for the native elves. In the factory the air is hot, the pay low, the food lukewarm. Suffering under the thumb of capitalism and a dictator grown fat and indifferent, the elves have had enough.
When all hope seems lost, a rebel by the name of The Red Elf hears the cry of the people and drives them toward a revolution.
Overnight, the Santa of old is gone, replaced by a Soviet strongman named Nikolas Sokolov. From the production of weapons to the invasion of malls, world domination is in the Red Army’s grasp. However, with the Americans unwilling to give up their favorite day so easily, the battle over the holiday season becomes the new hotbed of the Cold War, leaving everybody to wonder what will happen to Christmas…
Three months early, or nine months late. Take your pick.
Author Yoel Bereket serves up a satirical take on Christmas, revolution, Communism, Capitalism, religion, economic systems. the Cold War, power struggles, tyranny, the oppression of workers, exploitation, profit, corporate greed, control.
Set in the early 60s, Kennedy and Krushchev do battle by proxy at the North Pole. We have a fleeting appearance from Big Fat Santa and he ain't quite such a lovable beast here. Other political figures of the day - Charles de Gaulle and Harold Macmillan - make fleeting appearances. The main characters involved though are the downtrodden elves and a revolving door of new masters.
Amusing, interesting and more than a kernel of truth in the observation that when power structures and the hierarchy changes at the top, little does for those on the bottom rung of the ladder. Exploitation rules.
Events jump around a bit and we go fast forward on a few occasions, but I enjoyed it without ever feeling like I was reading the best story ever written. Decent writing. A quick read which kind of ends exactly where we started,
Read - September, 2021
Published - 2019
Page count - 249
Source - purchased copy
Format - Kindle
Sunday, 26 September 2021
Saturday, 25 September 2021
Friday, 24 September 2021
A bit more Scandi crime to enjoy at some point in the not too distant future - two from Antti Tuomainen - Finland's answer to Carl Hiaasen apparently.
The Man Who Died (2017)When Finnish mushroom entrepreneur Jaakko discovers that he has been slowly poisoned, he sets out to find his would-be murderer ... with dark and hilarious results. The critically acclaimed standalone thriller from the King of Helsinki Noir...
***Shortlisted for the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year***
***Shortlisted for the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award***
'Right up there with the best' Times Literary Supplement
'Deftly plotted, poignant and perceptive in its wry reflections on mortality and very funny' Irish Times
'Told in a darkly funny, deadpan style ... The result is a rollercoaster read in which the farce has some serious and surprisingly philosophical underpinnings' Guardian
A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just thirty-seven years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he's dying. What's more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him.
Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists.
With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.
Palm Beach, Finland (2018)Fargo meets Baywatch in a mesmerisingly dark, poignant comedy-thriller by the King of Helsinki Noir
'A roller-coaster read and extraordinarily poignant' Guardian
'Tuomainen is the funniest writer in Europe' Marcel Berlins, The Times
Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear ... Sun Protection Factor 100
Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village - the 'hottest beach in Finland'. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.
With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives - chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.
'A roller-coaster read and extraordinarily poignant' Guardian
Thursday, 23 September 2021
Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Monday, 20 September 2021
Sunday, 19 September 2021
Friday, 17 September 2021
A couple from Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason ....
Scandi crime is one of those genres within the wide trope of crime and mystery fiction that I've dipped into occasionally, but more often than not steered clear of. I don't know whether I subconsciously equate books from this part of the world with snow, ice, cold and isolation and I avoid it as a result. I'd rather be hot than cold!
Black Skies (2012)
Strange Shores (2013)"Arnaldur Indridason is already an international literary phenom—and it's easy to see why. His novels are gripping, authentic, haunting, and lyrical. I can't wait for the next."—Harlan Coben
The preceding description of Arnaldur Indridason's crime novels is right on target—Indridason's beloved series detective Inspector Erlendur has captured the imaginations of suspense fiction readers all over the globe. Published now in 26 countries around the world, Inspector Erlendur joins Maigret, Morse, Wallander, and a handful of other world-famous policemen who provide must-reading for suspense fans everywhere.
In this latest puzzle Inspector Erlendur learns of the baffling story of Matthildur, a local woman who went missing years earlier on the night of a violent storm. A frequent visitor to his birthplace, Erlendur has spent his whole life searching for his brother Beggi who was lost in a snowstorm when they were both children. As he begins to ask questions about the fateful evening when Matthildur disappeared, Erlendur begins to suspect what may have also befallen his long-lost brother.
Can Erlendur possibly solve the disappearances of Matthildur, and Beggi, after all these decades? Or are the forces that want him to stop investigating stronger than he is?
Indridason's fans will race to discover the truth behind one of the most memorable endings in modern crime fiction.
Monday, 13 September 2021
Sunday, 12 September 2021
A decent month's viewing on the home front with a couple of ok films and some TV series, new and old ....
|White Chicks (2004) - Film|
A re-watch of a comedy film starring the Wayans brothers. An okay watch. Not hilarious all the way through, but it does have it moments. The sort of film you can have on in the background, while chatting. It doesn't demand all your attention. Seen better, seen much worse.
|Limetown (2019) - TV Drama Series|
|Chaos (2005) - Film|
|Law & Order UK Season 8 (2014) - ITV Drama Series|
|Deceit (2021) - Channel 4 - TV Drama Mini-Series|
One episode from four watched of a True Crime drama. I don't think there's a person over a certain age in the UK, who can't recall the horrific murder that forms the heart of this series. Niamh Algar is pretty damn good as the officer sent undercover to get close to the police's main suspect.
Saturday, 11 September 2021
A short story a day for a month, four times a year, though a lot of them are Flash Fiction pieces in the main. Interesting to see how different authors can do a lot with a little ...
August was again (ditto June) mainly a Paul D. Brazill love-in, with the last week of the month spent camped over at Flash Fiction Offensive site, trawling through their archives.
4th - Sam Wiebe - Head Down (via author email to newsletter subscribers)
8th - Andy Rausch - The Iceman Killeth (Andy Rausch)
Previous short story adventures...
AUGUST, 2017 - 31 DAYS, 31 SHORTS!
AUGUST, 2018 - 31 DAYS, 31 SHORTS!
AUGUST, 2019 - 31 DAYS, 31 SHORTS!
FEBRUARY, 2020 - 29 DAYS, 29 SHORTS!
Friday, 10 September 2021
A couple from an author I've been reading since way back when - Anthony Neil Smith.
Apparently he's a bit of a cult!