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Friday, 18 January 2019

Reveiw: Force of Nature

Finally I've laid hands on number two in the Australian series by Jane Harper. The library had a long waiting list, now it's my turn.

'The Dry' impressed me although I was hesitant about Aaron Falk as a character, but the Australian setting and the tight writing and clever plot carried me along. I'm pleased to say that Aaron Falk is coming out of his shell in this novel and I feel less inclined to shake him!

Working with his colleague, Carmen, for the financial investigative side of the Federal police, Falk is trying to obtain documents from a 'mole'. It's difficult and the pressure is on when the 'mole' goes with her company on one of these management bush treks and disappears. Has she been murdered by the company director? What has happened?

Again we have Harper's tricky plot full of surprises. She writes well and makes the reader feel the Australian bush and the terrors of being lost in it. We have a bunch of complex 3D characters and some raw emotions and it was hard to guess whodunit.

The novel is a stand alone but I'd advise readers to start with 'The Dry' and then read this one just to get a more complete picture of the main character.

A great read for anyone and especially for those who like mysteries.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Book Review: The Blackhouse' by Peter May

This is the first of a series set on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. Detective inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to the island to investigate a murder. Sounds straightforward, an ordinary police procedural, but the novel is far from that.

Peter May seems, in his novels, to like the theme of Deal With The Past. Unless it is dealt with honestly at the time it will indeed come back to haunt, destroy or radically change people. So the novel is a tightly written, well plotted story with solid 3D characters and Fin Mcleod indeed finds that the past is not just going to bite him, it's going to kill him.

A depressing read in some ways - I wonder how the people of Lewis regard their depiction - Fin's early experiences and mistakes form his character. Can he overcome those disadvantages and strike out again to a better future? We are left with the hope that he can and the second novel in the series becomes a must read. Clever Author!

Peter May provides an excellent read.

Book Review: The_Ice_is_Coming by .Patricia_Wrightson

It seems to me we don't have another writer of .Patricia_Wrightson's quality when it comes to absorbing and using the ancient mytholgical heritage of Australia. I think she's much underrated as a truly Australian writer.

I have always been impressed with Patricia Wrightson's ability to write fiction which is so purely Australian and make her work become part of Australian mythology. Some of the Goodreads reviews call her work fantasy. I think she wrote well beyond fantasy. A fantasy simply requires magic. Wrightson created a modern mythology from her own Australian culture, and her people and other creatures are part of that culture.

The 'Ice is Coming' looks at what happens when people ignore their mythology and culture. It's a demanding read for Wrightson makes no bones about what the land needs and about what people have done. Her descriptions of the majority of people as Happy folk, her rejection of their ways of life, form a backdrop for Wirren to establish himself as one of the people of the land and not just 'an abo'.

Why is the ice coming? Where is the Nargun who holds the balance of power? Wirrern has to sort all this out and find himself.

It, and the following novels, are a wonderful read, a lovely combination of ancient mythology, modern interpretations of it, an Australian setting so vivid you can see it, and a charming main character. If you want to get a feeling for what ancient Australia is like these books give you an excellent impression.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Review: Revenge in a Cold River by Anne Perry

Another great read from Anne Perry in her William Monk series. This time Monk as the senior officer in the Thames River Police is asked to investigate the drowning of an escaped prisoner. It's tricky because he has to work with the customs officer McNab, who hates him. Monk cannot remember why, it's part of the dramatic time in his life when he lost his memory. McNab is seeking anything he can find to ruin Monk. As the disasters pile up Monk, wife Hester and friend, the lawyer, Oliver Rathbone, struggle to find the truth.

As ever the research is top notch, the writing excellent, the story gripping and the book hard to put down. It was one of my best reads of the year. Thank you, Anne Perry.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

Author, Ruth Hogan, has a special way of viewing the world. It was obvious in her delightful first novel, 'The Keeper of Lost Things' and again in this novel.

Masha's lost her son, Gabriel, and has been unable to recover from his loss. Her friends and family have been tiptoeing round the topic and Masha' sensitivities. As readers we are inside Masha's head and we like her. She has courage but needs a push. She gets one.

This is a story full of hope and laughter. As Masha learns to live again she also learns to be a more tolerant, kinder person and we learn with her. That's the nice thing about Ruth Hogan's writing we laugh, cry and learn. It's a good read for anyone and a good novel for anyone needing a boost and a bit of positive thinking.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Book Review: 'The Spare Room' by Helen Garner

Not an easy read, cancer is never an easy topic but Australian author, Helen Garner, does it with style.

A friend, dying of cancer, comes to stay. That's a difficult topic to write about, and when the friend is simply a pushover for any 'alternative' treatments the scene is set for a struggle.

Cry, laugh - yes, laugh - and enjoy this sensitively handled look at death, friends dying, cancer and hope.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Saturday 17th Auckland Book Fair

Goodnessme! I've ben neglecting my blog. I've a heap of reviews to post too.

 this is a shout to get anyone in Auckland to come to the Great New Zealand Book Fair.

The Book Fair is on. Come and meet a lot of good New Zealand authors and check out their books. Mount Eden War Memorial Hall (a.k.a. the Mount Eden Community Centre) Opens at 10 a.m. closes at 4 p.m.