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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…

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; 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.

Book Review; The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes


mercy-closeIt’s not that I hunt them out, or they hide in my bedside drawer or anything, but for some reason I feel compelled, nay obliged, to read Keyes everytime she pumps out a new novel. I have never tried to hide the fact that I enjoy her books and have giggled like a girl, cried like a baby, and chastised like a nun through all but one of her books to date and have even had the honor of meeting her and getting her finely scrawled chciken scratch on “Sushi for Beginners” which now resides at an ex’s….wasted….dying…unloved.

So to “Mercy Close”; pretty much all that happens in Keyes’ books is something along the lines of dimwitted and naive hot chick falling for bad-for-you boy while dealing with angst, pain, rejection and humiliation while each day dawns interspersed with Irish humour and uncomfortable moments of sexuality. Good bloody premise if you ask me…

…so imagine my surprise when this book almost dismisses each and every plot line set before over the last 15 years!

Meet Helen Walsh, a seemingly excellent Private Dick who becomes a victim of yet another Irish crisis (really? It seems Ireland exists in a permanent state of crises) and as the economy stumbles she is shunted into the dark ages as her electricity, phone, TV and eventually her mortgaged flat fall to the debt-collector and she has to move in with mum and dad. No real problem, she still has her Van Damme/Schwarzeneggar-esque cop boyfriend giving her a length on call (despite the kids and ex-wife hanging round 24-7), but if sex paid the bills, I’d be living in a cardboard box.

So when an ex turns up offering her a job, after the usual debating she does so; find the fourth member of a has-been boy band, Laddz, who are due to play reunion gigs, the epitome of any self-respecting performer. It seems he has simply ‘disappeared’ during practices no less than a week before the first concert, which, at the time, had sold barely more than Bad News had in Bad News (some of you will not what I am referring to here).

"Hang on...I think I found him..."

“Hang on…I think I found him…”

What happens over the next 30-odd chapters becomes an insight into the soft and rotting underbelly of the fame industry, exposing sex scandal, back stabbing, drugs, and public perceptions blown away. But for me it was the introspective into depression that had me gripped. As a confessed sufferer the byline became the main plot for me as Helen battled hers (and my) demons when faced with the enclosing black that comes with it. Although it overstepped with Walsh’s attempted, and failed, suicides, the first recorded conversation between her and her doctor hit a real chord explaining my exact thoughts about death…

…enough of the dark and weary, this is a pretty bloody good book to read, and other than the tame (in my standards) blow job and root between Helen and Artie there ain’t too much to class this as a real chick-lit type book.

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