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Friday, 7 September 2018

Review of Treason's Daughter by Antonia Senior

Oh dear. Why do we have to have the wilful daughter - just because it's thought more appealing to the modern reader? The girl running around dressed as a boy etc.? Drives me nuts because 17thC women did have courage but in their own way. The book does deal with the political troubles and war quite well but Ms Henrietta Challoner seemed a modern miss and other character lacked depth.

I did finish it but only because I hate not to to finish a book.
There have been a few good reviews so if you like reading historicals give it a go.

Review of 'Money in the Morgue' the Carol Duffy write of Ngaio Marsh's unfinished novel.

Being asked to finish another well loved and liked author's book must be a real challenge. I'm sure Stella Duffy intended to do it well, and follow the Marsh pattern, but Stella Duffy is not Ngaio Marsh, and her philosophy and beliefs are far from Marsh's own. In places this shows very clearly and, in places Duffy, not Marsh, came through, it stopped the flow of the story for me. And I don't think Stella Duffy was as fond of her Inspector Alleyn as Marsh was. That shows too. She does know New Zealand though which helped with this story.

Set in wartime New Zealand, with everyone anxious about the Japanese threat and all the young Kiwis sent far from home to fight for ‘Home’, we have Inspector Alleyn on secret wartime business. He arrives at Mount Seager Hospital and quickly is involved with a payroll theft and murder. It's a complicated plot as so many of the characters have things to hide, or things to fear and secrets abound. The final few twists are a Duffy specialty and make for breath taking ending.

I think keen readers of Marsh will be a little disappointed, but most fans will enjoy another taste of Inspector Alleyn. I expect there will be another Duffy/Marsh if the sales are good. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's hard to shake that modern tough girl mental state and channel Marsh, who was a tough lady, but in very different ways.

Review of ' Mortal Causes: An Inspector Rebus Novel' by Ian Rankin

Another complex plot for a complicated character. Inspector Rebus at his stroppy best dealing with what looks like an execution. But who is it and why was it done?

If you like Ian Rankin's prose, and his tricky plots then you are in for a delight If you've never read a Rebus and wonder what the fuss is about over this Ian Rankin bloke then this might be the novel to  turn you into a fan.

Another good read.

Review K is for Killer A Kinsey Millhone Mystery, Book 11 by Sue Grafton

I found this a sad read. A cold case which let us into the minds of parents, friends, siblings of the murdered girl but left us still not knowing who she really was. Like life really. Do we ever know, really know the people closest to us?

Kinsey soon finds that investigating this ten month old mystery is dangerous. The police suspected murder but could prove nothing. Kinsey is sure Lorna was killed and by a vicious man who kills again and looks to escape justice. Not if Kinsey can help it!

Another well written Kinsey tale to add to the series.

Review of "R" is for Ricochet (A Kinsey Millhone Mystery, Book 18 by Sue Grafton

I always enjoy a Kinsey Millhone story and this one had a couple of neat twists in its 'tale'!

Kinsey has to baby sit a spoilt brat, Reba Lafferty, whose rich and doting father couldn't keep her out of prison.  She was convicted of embezzlement and sent to the California Institution for Women. Now she's released and Kinsey has to keep her away from trouble or she'll be back in prison.

It should be simple, if only Reba was genuinely contrite and determined to be a good girl and follow  all the rules of her parole. Alas, poor Kinsey soon finds out there's real mayhem afoot.

Another well written and enjoyable story in the series.

Review of 'The Tulip Virus' by Danielle Hermans


The Tulip Virus begins with two murders in two different eras. Wouter Winckel is murdered in Alkmaar, Holland in 1636. Dutchman Frank Schoeller is murdered in London in 2007. The novel is told in this way, two threads linked by tulips. For the most part the novel is a fast paced thriller, the threads do not confuse and the tulip details are fascinating.

My problem was with the character of Alec, Frank's nephew. I found him a irritating character which spoiled my personal enjoyment of the story, and the ending annoyed me.

But this is well written thriller and the tulips and their mysterious virus add a great deal of originality to the plot.

If you like modern thrillers this is one to try.
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Monday, 16 July 2018

Review of 'The untold Tale' by J. M. Frey

One of the better things about being a reviewer and reader for Voracious Readers Only is that I am offered books and can chose which ones I will read and review. The drawback is that the books are all e-books and I like a real book to read in bed. Technology and I still fight and it takes determination to read on my Blackberry when I have to tap several times to turn a page or I touch the screen and we fly back to the beginning or another chapter. Still I  have found several good books to read despite the techy problems.

'The Untold Tale' is an interesting fantasy read. The setting - which I won't talk too much about for fearing of spoiling the surprise - is nicely original. The male MC, Forsyth Turn, is interesting if a trifle annoying at times.  He does wimp on about being a wimp. The female lead, Pip, is also irritating at times too,  but this adds to her stroppy nature and makes her more 3D. The plot is a lovely mix of all the old fantasy plots turned upside down and therefore turned into humour. There are some delightful moments of comedy, especially on the so-called Quest.

My one complaint is that so much was stuffed into the plot that we were in danger of mental indigestion, but that's more a writer's POV as I'd have liked some tighter editing, for example of the feminist thread, which was belaboured at times. This is the first of a series so I sympathise with the author in that she must get enough of the themes and characters she will work on later established now. But she writes a good character and her dialogue is apt for each character.

If you like fantasy and want a different one for a change, give this novel a try. It's a fun read, there's enough in the plot to make one think, and it is funny, more so if you know the typical fantasy plot lines and so can see where the mickey is being taken.




Saturday, 7 July 2018

Review of the new edition of When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs

Readers rejoice! SMASHWORDS.com are holding their July e-book sale. All sorts of good reads available free or at bargain prices. Catch my and my colleagues Writer's Choice historical novels on sale there.  SMASHWORDS SALE JULY 1st to JULY31st.


When the Wind BlowsWhen the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Produced as a piece of social commentary and satire at the time the British government were offering this ridiculous booklet of advice for what to do in the case of a nuclear attack, 'When the Wind Blows' is a hard hitting graphic work, one of Raymond Briggs's best.

It is no easy read, especially for those of us who grew up during the Cold War and had bomb shelter practices and the very real threat hanging over our heads.

If there is a new edition out I advise people to read it just to see the sheer futility of the possibility of surviving a nuclear bomb. I'd like the younger generations to be a bit more serious about the dangers and possibilities of a nuclear attack and start a new, loud and noisy Anti-Nuclear Campaign. With dangerous idiots in charge of countries with nuclear capabilities around the world it would be nice if more people yelled 'Ban the Bomb!'

Don't try this one on children, this is a serious adult read and a clever one at that.



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Friday, 15 June 2018

Review of 'Skeleton God' by Eliot Pattison

Skeleton God (Inspector Shan, #9)Skeleton God by Eliot Pattison

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Another well written tale from Eliot Pattison. Once again poor Shan, who longs for a quiet life, visits to his son and from Lokesh, finds himself a tool of Colonel Tan who has put him in place as a constable in a poor Tibetan village.

Who put a mobile phone in a saint's grave? It's an ancient tomb guarded by a special and well loved old nun but now it's opened, and the saint's body is accompanied by the remains of a Chinese soldier killed fifty years ago and an American man murdered only hours earlier, but his phone gave his hidden grave away. Shan is once again having to try and protect Tibetans, sort out the mess and find a home for the soldier and the American.

It's a good read, with the characters we know still growing and developing, Tibet as ever an intriguing setting, and a plot with enough twists to keep you guessing. Fans will enjoy this addition to the series, newcomers, get cracking with The Skull Mantra and enjoy the whole series.



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Review: Finding Davey by Jonathon Gash

I have always enjoyed Jonathon Gash's Loveday series and learning about antiques, fakes, and rogues in the antique world. The author had a way of creating characters that were 3D, likeable and amusing. 'Finding Davey' however is a standalone novel and it's a stunner. I really couldn't put it down, it's a page turner and a heart tugger.

Again Jonathon Gash uses his knowledge of antiques and furniture, but this time it's different. Bray is a grandfather who works as a skilled and knowledgeable craftsman who makes beautiful furniture and repairs antiques and makes reproductions from the original plans. his work revolves round his grandson. When his son takes his wife and Davey to a wonderful theme park holiday in America Bray is left behind with Davey's dog. And in America, where where anything can be done for money, Davey is kidnapped. It appears there is quite an industry in kidnapping attractive children for rich childless couples.

Now this is where I award five stars for the plot and my writer's brain gasps in admiration. We don't see grandfather Bray dashing off to America to find his grandson. He tries to help his son and wife who are falling apart torn by guilt and grief and he plans. And his plan is brilliant, based on the information he gets from medical specialists on memory and what will have been done to Davey to turn him into the couple's little boy.

There's a lot of medical information about what is done to these kidnapped children who are deliberately watched, approved for some rich couple, then snatched. Bray seeks to find out how young Davey's mind will be wiped of memories and works out a method to restore Davey's memory if he can find him. And finding him is brilliant.

Read the book. It's a great read

Saturday, 26 May 2018

May 25th-29th my e-book sale on at Smashwords, Kobo and Amazon


It seems to me that all the short C.V.s and writer bios I have to pump out whenever I have a  book sale on and must sign up with the email newsletters grow more and more manically cheerful.

How about the following as a C.V.?

p.d.r lindsay feels old - she is – and lost among the tech style of writing. She’s passionate about words, feels the loss of people like Shakespeare , those who wrote the King James Bible, poets who made words dance, like Gerard Manley Hopkins. Where are they? p.d.r. has been trying to trim her style to modern tastes and fails. Trying to make words behave again in a more acceptable modern way is hard and it hurts!  And messy post-modern, contemporary content drives her nuts.

p.d.r. lindsay has published over 100 short stories, 2 anthologies and three novels and is struggling to shape a fourth novel which will satisfy her and the modern reader. She’s floundering and thinks longingly of the days when she could write a poem or two in a lunch break. These days the poetic muse had deserted her. Something to do with age and cynicism?

Doubt it would encourage readers to buy a book!

I've just been to our annual Rotary Book Fair - a weekend sale in a massive warehouse truly stacked from floor to ceiling with 2nd hand books for sale. I go to pick up those wonderful and expensive university press books on topics like Food in England, European Cathedrals, British Castles. I can afford two or three dollars for them but I look at the staggering trestle tables loaded with fiction and I despair. The same names piled up there by the hundred. How on earth can I compete with Traditional Publishers, readers' reluctance to try new authors and get my books noticed amongst the millions Amazon publish each year?

I have no idea! But it is hard to struggle and care and love my characters and write their stories amidst the competition. 






Thursday, 24 May 2018

Stupefying Stories: Submission Guidelines

Stupefying Stories: Submission Guidelines: Last updated: 30 April 2018 Who We Are Edited by award-winning science fiction writer Bruce Bethke , STUPEFYING STORIES is a bold attem...

Have a look at this!

Wow!


Whoopee! The e-book sale is off already. It's a good feeling knowing that new readers are finding the characters and the stories one has invested so much time and love on when writing their tales.

Tizzie is already selling.and is being featured on Friday May 25th 2018 at www.ebooksoda.com. Check it out for free and bargain ebook deals! 









And my silence has been due to getting this new novel finished! More book reviews soon. And searching through my Japanese photos for research for new stories I found the photos for the exciting archery festival.





Thursday, 22 March 2018

Review of 'Soul of Fire' by Eliot Pattison

Soul of the Fire (Inspector Shan, #8)Soul of the Fire by Eliot Pattison

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


For those who have not read 'The Skull Mantra', the first in the series, you really ought to do so. Author Pattison is a fine writer with a lucid style and a way of making difficult thoughts and ideas understandable. Whilst every novel stands alone, and can be read without having read the others in the series, a reader will miss the full impact of what the author is asking us to think about and consider.

Each book is not just a mystery set in a foreign country, readers are asked to think about political systems, about the use of violence, about deliberate destruction of a culture and way of life, about torture and gulags, and about human kindness. No, there are no rants, the complex plots speak for themselves. We're talking about Tibet, the Chinese invasion and the terrible things which are still done to Tibetans. Forcible removal to China as slave labour, children forcibly taken to special boarding schools, renamed, indoctrinated, the language forbidden, brutal policing. It reads like Hitler's Germany. However the books are not intended as a polemic, each has a good story to tell against the background of Chinese brutality and one big question is always asked: 'What is the purpose of our life, what is each person's life for and about?

In Soul of Fire Shan is forced by Public Security, to leave his post in the little village and become a member of a special international commission investigating those terrible Tibetan suicides by immolation, because the Tibetan member has suddenly died. His old friend Lokesh is dragged along too but put into gaol. Of course, the Tibetan was murdered and then a monk sets himself on fire in front of the commissioners and Shan realises that this is another whitewash attempt by the Chinese government to fool the international community. But the Public Security officer running the Commission, Major Ren, has Lokesh, who is an old and frail Tibetan, beaten and tortured, forcing Shan to toe the line and be Beijing's mouthpiece. Shan has to find the murderers, protect Lokesh and reveal a truth which could help all Tibetans.

The plot is tense, tight and nicely twisty. The characters are 3D and complex. Shan is Chinese himself which does help balance the nastiness of many of the Chinese officials. If Shan can treat Tibetans well perhaps other Chinese can?

I learn so much reading this series and Soul of Fire is no exception. It's a great book in a great series, and ought to be on every reader's to read list.



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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Review of 'Soot' by Andrew Martin.

SootSoot by Andrew Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Impressive until the ending! And did that ending annoy me!

18th C and a murder, a nasty one. An artist who makes silhouettes is found stabbed with his large cutting scissors. No one is discovered as the murder so the artist's dissolute son, who had heard of Fletcher Rigge's ability to solve mysteries, makes him an offer. Rigge is stuck in the debtor's prison, but if he solves the crime he will be free. He is offered freedom for one month, but in that time, he must find the killer. If he fails, back into gaol he goes. With only the copies of the last 6 silhouettes, for one of them must be the murderer, Fletcher Rigge begins his search.

It's a well written well plotted book with 3D characters and a nasty twist. Written from several people's points of view it takes a bit of concentrated reading at first but the story will pull the reader on.



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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Review: The House of Unexpected Sisters by Alexander McCall Smith

The House of Unexpected Sisters (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #18)The House of Unexpected Sisters by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Once again we have a delightful story about gentle people and the author uses the story to explore forgiveness.

Those readers used to McCall Smith's bent for philosophy, and who enjoy thinking about what he writes, will enjoy this new episode of the Number One Ladies' Detective Agency. Precious Ramotswe adored her father and treasures his memory. In this story she has to re-examine her ideas on the problems of first impressions and what forgiveness really means.

Easy reading, lots to think about and a book to enjoy many times.



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Review: The Rat Catchers' Olympics by Colin Cotterill

The Rat Catchers' OlympicsThe Rat Catchers' Olympics by Colin Cotterill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I am still laughing. The idea of the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos, in 1980, sending a team to the Olympic games in Moscow, which were boycotted by most of the Western world, is hilarious. They didn't have athletes. In fact the Russians come to train them. The trainer's advice to the boxers, 'Take the hit, then lie on the mat until the counting is finished' gives you some idea of the standards.

If you have not met Colin Cotterill's Dr Siri Paiboun, his wife, and misfit/crazy companions you are missing a chance to poke fun at politicians, politics, bureaucracy, and the human race. And laugh out loud as you read.

Siri is an elderly retired coroner, his companions are all a little odd, his wife is delightful. When news breaks that a Laotian team is heading to Moscow there is no way Siri is going to miss out. Forbidden by the government as not a good representative for their country he manages, by devious means, to be the only doctor available.

Of course when they get to Moscow for the 1980 Olympic Games they soon find themselves involved in a murder mystery. One of their team is accused of murder, and it soon becomes a race between Siri and the Moscow authorities to clear up the muddle and clear the Laotian team.

And the rats? Well that is one competition they don't lose.
One of the better Siri novels and well worth a read.





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Thursday, 8 February 2018

Review: 'Dogstar Rising' by Parker Bilal

Dogstar Rising (Makana, #2)Dogstar Rising by Parker Bilal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is number two in a series I've had problems getting from the library. Finally I have managed to find the later ones in the series. And the novels do improve as the author becomes more confidant in his writing style and more comfortable with his main character. Certainly the series is well worth reading.

'Dogstar Rising' is an unusual mystery novel set in contemporary Egypt. Young boys are turning up dead and mutilated. In the muddle that is Eygpt's mix of cultures someone is trying to stir up trouble and blame the Coptic Christians.

Investigator Makana, a mystery man from the Sudan, a refugee form the war there, becomes involved when he sees a murder. He finds a thread linking that murder to those of the boys. Suddenly the police and state security services are breathing down his neck and all hell breaks loose.

Tightly written, the second in a series, and well worth a read for the exotic locations.



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Thursday, 1 February 2018

Review: 'The Dry' by Jane Harper

The DryThe Dry by Jane Harper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


'The Dry' is meant to be the first of a series. Author Jane Harper will have a hard time coming up with a plot as good as this one is. I wish it was a stand alone book because what the plot does is sort out the main character's past and set him free. To me that's a complete and finished story. What else can one do with that character now? Still that's the author's problem. And she's a lovely tight writer with a sharp eye for thriller plot details.

'The Dry' is set in contemporary Australia, the action takes place in the drought stricken outback. Aaron Falk, who works for the government unravelling tax frauds receives a note saying his old friend, Luke, is dead, and demanding he come to the funeral. The past has reached out to terrify him. Twenty years ago as a teenager he was accused of murder, and Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father were chased out of town despite Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But they weren't, and now Luke is dead, and someone is threatening Falk.

What a great set up for a story and it carries on as cleverly. This author is no slouch when it comes to writing a tight and twisty plot for Falk and the local police officer are puzzled over Luke's supposed suicide and begin to investigate. And then all sorts of nasty little secrets start popping up and the murdered girl's family are intent on revenge.

The setting, a drought stricken farming community, only adds tension to the story and the author includes some lovely details of the outback and outback life.

Altogether a great read for any whodunit fan and well worth reading by any reader who likes a well written, better than most, unusually original story.



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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Review: The Sixteen Trees of the Somme

The Sixteen Trees of the SommeThe Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Brilliant! And full marks to the translator who kept the rhythm and lyrical prose in his English translation. This really is a must read for the prose, the story and the ideas.

It's a good job the cover clearly states 'novel' because I could easily believe that this novel was faction, based on a true story. It isn't, but it ought to be! Set in Norway, and the Shetland Isles, with a brief trip to France and the Somme, author Lars Mytting's research is solid. He certainly got the upper middle class Scottish attitudes spot on. His descriptions of the battlefields are haunting.

I don't want to give away the plot or the importance of the sixteen trees because really the novel is about a young man growing up, breaking out of his shell, and becoming what he chooses to be.

Edvard is orphaned when he is three. He has vague memories and his grandfather won't tell him anything. After his grandfather dies he takes a physical journey to find out what happened and in doing so he has to make decisions and choices which will make him become the Edvard we hope he will become. He could easily have made different choices but we readers are glad he didn't.

It is a book to savour, reread and marvel over. Readers who like a good intelligent challenging read will enjoy this novel. I found myself thinking about it for days after I'd returned it to the library.



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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Review: The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths

The Blood Card (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery, #3)The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths




A pleasant read for all who enjoy a bit of a puzzle, and a murder mystery set in the 1950s in the U.K.
This novel is one of a series and whilst you can read each book on its own it is more fun to follow the main characters from the start, in the first novel, when they all worked together in a special secret WWII unit.

The story revolves round Mephisto's magical work - this time he is actually appearing on the new venue of T.V. - and his sidekick, Stephens, the police officer. We begin with a murder and end with magical tricks. Great fun. A nice light read for entertainment.



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Review: The Kite Runner by Khaled_Hosseini

The Kite RunnerThe Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


One can see why this book became a best seller. The setting and the two main characters certainly would pull in most readers who are not aware of Afghanistan's history or culture. After 9/11 it would be a book to read to try and understand why.

It is a very personal story and very human. Who doesn't try to wipe out an error and all reminders of it? It's a novel which makes one well aware of how necessary the truth is to avoid further disasters.

Written in good plain English with a careful selection of words and some choice pieces of description which make things like the kite running vividly 3D this is a novel to savour. If I find the ending a trifle too pat it is my personal opinion. I dislike too much sentiment and find American novels often err that way.

This is a novel which will become a classic and rightly so because of its subject matter. It's not a difficult read and is a book which should be on all readers' to read lists. Read it, understand a little more about our difficult world, and enjoy the story.



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Thursday, 18 January 2018

Review of Anne Perry's latest Monk novel: 'An Echo of Murder'

An Echo of Murder (William Monk Mystery, Book 23): A thrilling journey into the dark streets of Victorian LondonAn Echo of Murder (William Monk Mystery, Book 23): A thrilling journey into the dark streets of Victorian London by Anne Perry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



'An Echo of Murder' is another terrific read from a terrific writer. Good writers like Anne Perry use their skills not just to tell a great story but to make readers think. These writers use their craft to highlight things we should all be thinking about today. She does this without being too obvious or 'in your face' with the ideas, ideals and important thoughts which are current to 2017-18. Thank goodness for writers like Anne Perry who can use their skills to point readers to modern problems. They have a gift with words and use it for good.

The story begins with a horrific murder, a well respected Hungarian immigrant is killed in a terrifying manner. The Hungarians are immigrants. The local community wants them out, they, of course, have never been violent. Racism, intolerance, violence and prejudice rear their ugly heads. Sound familiar?

An ex-army surgeon, who has found his way home to England 11 years after he was left for dead on a Crimean battle field, is struggling to make his life make sense. He has moments of terror when he doesn't know what he does. He gave his health and sanity for the country and do they reward him? Sound familiar?

Dr Fitz worked with Hester during the Crimean war and of course when he is accused of the murders she is going to save him. The ending in the courtroom is quite something. Sir Oliver at his best.

It's a pleasure to see how the characters change and grow in each novel. Scuff is now nearly qualified as a doctor, Hester has to face her buried past, William Monk faces his own nightmares.
Fans of the series will be delighted. Readers who like historical mysteries should try Anne Perry's novels and any one who enjoys a good story, well written and well told will enjoy this novel.





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