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One Page at a Time…Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille


549169Short and sweet; a good, good book. The second offering from a friend of mine this book follows a NYPD Detective, John Corey, and his FBI-wife Kate, both of who are consigned to the anti-terrorist squad following 9/11. When they return from a semi-romantic weekend away John notices his colleague has not returned from a surveillance task in the US wilderness of am oil mogul and his guests, and being NYPD, and possibly stereotyped, John takes things into his own hands as he heads into the region to locate his whereabouts.

Facing stiff resistance from everyone, including his wife, the FBI, State Troopers and even the CIA John goes rogue and meets the ultimate foe, Bain Madox; an ex-Vietnam vet with a shitload of cash, loyal troops in his employ, and some very powerful friends within the upper echelons of US politics and the Pentagon. COuld he possibly have something to do with Harry’s death when his body is found not far from the perimeter fence of Madox’s “lodge’?

This book is about as well written as I have read, pages turning quicker than the brain could decipher the words as DeMille took me on a roller coaster ride through the dark world of terrorism, politics, and secret policies. So the very real prospect of the Middle East meeting Nuclear Armageddon via ‘Wild Fire’ (which apparently is true!!) did not come across as a far-fetched scenario sprouting forth from a simple missing persons case.

Normally I would divulge further on the plot, and try to avoid any attempt at spoiling the outcome, but quite literally to the last few pages I still wondered what the outcome would be, and at the risk of sounding morbid, the world being saved, or destroyed would both have been a satisfying ending…but you find out.

DeMille, a writer I am not aware of, has pumped out a beaut here, and has plenty others to his credit it would seem, so a visit to the library is very much on the cards from this hard-to-please reader. But, I would not be a critic if I didn’t say something bad, but I can;t tell if it annoyed me, or was enjoyable, but John Corey (earlier refered to as ‘stereotyped’) made too many wisecracks. Funny, very much so, but even I tend to hold back on them at appropriate times – this guy would try to raise a laugh while a shotgun was pointed at his wife’s head.

Yeah, nah…

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Book Review; The Templar Salvation by Raymond Khoury


9781409114031-29c651nBooks that touch on religious artifacts and harp back to the days of yore don’t normally grab me, and throw in an FBI agent and I immediately think “utter shite”, but for some reason I borrowed this book from a friend being short of a book to read. The blurb on the back cover did pique an interest, and despite taking a good three weeks to read (I got immersed in Real Racing 3 on iPad) each chapter increasingly got better and better…to start with.

It started going pear-shaped with the introduction of an Iranian agent who makes the collective Vader, Joker, and Hannibal Lector look like amateurs when it comes to a) having an evil mind b) being able to kill sadistically and c) get out of any situation. Who can stop this man? Enter one FBI agent by the nondescript name of Sean Reilly, and an ex- who has an insatiable appetite for sex and digging for bones, Tess.

So it begins with some Knights of some order or another who are protecting three trunks full of ‘the Devil’s work’ and all these guys sent by the Pope to kill them and get it back. Go forward 700 years and we have a similar parallel story line as both this baddy and some goodies are trying to locate it from ancient scribblings. And that’s pretty much where I’ll leave the story so as not to give away the outcome.

The book is actually well written, and flicking back and forth between the ages is helpful to get a gauge on what is going on and where we are in the pursuit,  the characters are easily recognizable, and the sporadic insertions of historical fact, which can be rattled off the memory better than if read from the book, is long-winded at times, but again helpful.

However, the suspense was ruined many times by the unbelievable, even God-like powers of survival by its characters. While bit parts, normally Turks of the lower socio-economic and not entirely smart get killed with reckless abandon, the three main principals have more lives collectively than a cattery as time after annoyingly regularly time, they slip away with minor cuts and bruises. Shit, even Conrad, of the Order of Templar, or whatever they were called, had supernatural survival skills.

No, the constant need to keep the story alive with chase and counter-chase, capture and evasion, suspense and stupidity ruined what could have been a truly enjoyable read. As it was, it was passable, but hardly a winner nor a recommendation. Ideally for those who find the storyline of the inhabitants of Summer Bay in “Lost and Away” somewhat inspiring.

Book Review; After the Fire by Karen Campbell


ATFireImagine committing your life to serving justice only to have justice fail you.

Jamie Worth, career cop with the Scottish Police is due to go on holiday with his wife (an ex-cop) and two kids when there is an armed call out on the other side of town. Newly qualified to respond to firearms incidents he is detailed with another young recruit to assist officers already on the scene who advise of shots fired in a poor part of town and reports of a young girl brandishing a gun. In the high tension moments that follow Worth guns down the threat only to be shocked she was not armed at all.

What ensues is a case of his comrades closing ranks to make an example of him as a public increasingly concerned by firearms incidents demand their pound of flesh and Worth and his family have their life turned upside down as one by one their friends, their colleagues, and the system they served and believed in seemingly conspires against them, and ultimately Worth is imprisoned for murder.

Serving time is hard for anyone, imagine being a cop who put some of these criminals away? Going against everything he believed in civvy street, Worth must live to a new order to survive while his wife does likewise as she struggles with two kids and a community which has turned on her.

But someone steps in to help. Across the Atlantic, Anna Cameron, a Scottish officer serving the UN hears of Worth’s plight and comes home to investigate the investigation. There’s one small issue; she’s the former mistress of Jamie Worth, a fact that Worth’s wife is well aware of.

In a brilliantly written novel the reader is taken from the mundane to the unbelievable in the life of the police force, the normality of domestic life to the seedy underbelly of the child sex trade, and how far people will go to save their own skins, whether by fight or flight, or by altering the facts.

For 400-odd pages you could not ask for a better book to read as it builds to a climax that must surely be of biblical proportions, however in the one letdown in the book, the end came to quick. I felt somewhat ripped off not having more detail on the aftermath as Worth’s conviction was appealed and those who conspired against him, both in prison and in the police force, and still, a day later I feel like a chapter was forthcoming. But regardless, a great crime novel for anyone, and dare I say it, in poetically written Scottish which conjures up none other than Billy Connelly..

Book Review; I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern


i-suck-at-girlsJustin Halpern has had one of those meteoric rises to fame akin only to the legendary Phoenix’s rise from the ashes. After breaking up with his girlfriend he moved back into his parents and from there started the Twitter account ‘Shit My Dad Says’ which became an overnight sensation and lead to a book deal and a TV show…all because his dad (like mine seemingly) is a belligerent who says the most random shite you ever heard.

I hadn’t realised he had written the first book (titled on the Twitter account) but after reading this one I will definitely hunt it down soon – unfortunately Waimakariri’s District Council’s Libraries haven’t got it, so if anyone has a copy I can borrow?

This tale follows Justin’s life sometime after the makeup of before-mentioned ex-girlfriend when Justin tells his dad he is going to marry her…and doesn’t quite get the rapturous reception that such an announcement would, or should bring. Simply, his dad told him to ‘relive those moments through life in which girls were involved and then if you still feel the same, then go for it…’

Or something like that.

So as Justin takes us on a journey through his female interactions from aged 8 through his mid-20s, the lanes flip with alarming regularity and raucous laughter as this absolute dunce with the ladies struggles through impressing a girl (with drawings of dogs defecating on her head), to robbing homeless men of their porn, to gropes in the car, to attempting to lose his virginity, and all that normal American stuff in between; college, sports, working in burger joints and the such.

While his failure in love is central to the plot, the undoubted star of the show is his dad who steps into frame like jumper leads attached to the testicles, only harsher. How Justin never ended up a babbling psychotic with murderous tendencies is anyone’s guess, but one cannot help but love the bloke, and at times I understood that being like him and me is not such a bad thing after all…we might die lonely, but people will always understand why.

A top notch read for guys and gals alike, beware the cantankerous bastard behind you!

How I picture his (and to some extent mine) dad...

How I picture his (and to some extent mine) dad…

Book Review; Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason


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Icelandic crime, probably not what I ever expected to pick up from the library, but with the wife waiting (im)patiently in the car I pretty ouch grabbed the first thing that looked interesting off the shelf.

And good job.

While trying to get my tongue around some of the Icelandic names (Bjork sounds normal by comparison), and the suspect being figured out in good time, this book is a pretty good read, and by all accounts the guy writes a few of them.

The opening surrounds a young bloke in a bar picking up a girl but slipping a drug into her drink. Next scene he is found dead, wearing the girl’s shirt and with his pants around his ankles…startling to those investigating, he has consumed the same date-rape drug found in his pockets.

A female officer in charge of the case, Elinborg battles her owns issues with her growing kids and laid back husband while trying to track down what seems like a straightforward suspect. Surely the girl who had sex with this guy is responsible, either wittingly or otherwise in the death that has the attention of the small country.

The story takes you through the countryside, to small towns that have the feel of red-neck USA and provides an insight into the life of one of the world’s more remote civilizations and their view of the rest of the world, and themselves.

Date-rape cannot be the easiest crime to write when  one thinks that half of the story (the one drugged) barely has something to say but Indridason does well, although one had to wonder about the continued cooking references which at first seemed to be page fillers rather than part of the plot.

Nevertheless, an easy book to read (and no, your Icelandic will not get any better) and well written plot. The outcome was a little expected, simple for another term, and also had an air of trying to complete a story in quick time rather than better explain motive and the aftermath.

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