Daily Archives: July 26, 2011

Review: Birdman by Mo Hayder

Birdman by Mo Hayder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t remember when I started to read the Jack Caffery stories by Mo Hayder what I do remember is thinking wow! What terrific dark and frightening stories these are, I like Mo Hayder’s style of story weaving and the reality is she is not afraid to engage in topics that many people would rather not read about and yes I know I have read most of them out of series order, I’m still blaming Maureen for that because in one day in May of this year when I was laid up, she brought home from the library “Ritual”, “Skin”, and “Gone” so I only have a couple more to read then I will get to writing down my thoughts on all the others at some time.
I like Mo Hayder’s writing and the reality of them shows that she is not worried about dealing with subject matter that many readers who would rather not read about, in truth, her narratives border on the horror genre.
Birdman”, well I have finally gotten to read the first story of the Jack Caffery series and I now have a better understanding of how he thinks and why he is the type of policeman he is.
Anyway let’s get to the book;
Greenwich, south-east London. The Met’s crack murder squad, AMIP, is called out by nervous CID detectives to a grim discovery. Five bodies, all young women, all ritualistically murdered and dumped on wasteland near the Dome. As each post-mortem reveals a singular, horrific signature linking the victims, officers realize that they are on the trail of that most dangerous offender: a sexual serial killer.

Detective Inspector Jack Caffery – young, driven, unshockable – finds himself facing both hostility within the force and echoes of his past in this, his first case with AMIP. Haunted by the memory of a death long ago, he employs every weapon forensic science can offer for he knows it is only a matter of time before this chaotic, sadistic killer strikes again.
`Birdman’ is a well written novel that is really dark and disconcerting; the first few pages do not show any restrain when relating in detailed descriptions of how five women were murdered. Mo Hayder uses this intense opening as the hook and it works very well, the speed of the story is outstanding with extremely first-class developments, especially the final one which made me once again think of Jack Caffery in a different light, you will of course have to read the book to see what I mean.
Skilfully written, riveting, poignant, and gruesome, I think that like me you won’t be able to put this down until it’s finished and the story will stay with you for quite some time after.

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Review: The Roots of Betrayal by James Forrester

The Roots of BetrayalThe Roots of Betrayal by James Forrester
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My Thoughts and Comments on the Roots of Betrayal by James Forrester
I find the reign of Elizabeth the first, an intriguing period of history; it is so full of religious conflict, conspiracy, and assassination, this latest piece of historical fiction I have just read is the first I have read from author James Forrester. His excellent sense of time and place portrays the spirit of this age in history and he scatters it with impressive storytelling, which colourfully brings to life the characters within it. The Roots Of Betrayal follows on from James Forrester’s greatly acclaimed book Sacred Treason and you do not need to have read the first book to enjoy this, his latest book, as I haven’t and I find that this book is so riveting that I cannot wait to read Sacred Treason.
It is 1564 and Catholic Herald William Harley, Clarenceux King of Arms, is the guardian of a highly perilous document. When it is stolen, Clarenceux immediately suspects a group of Catholic sympathisers, the so-called Knights of the Round Table. Francis Walsingham, the cold-blooded protégé of the queen’s Principal Secretary, Sir William Cecil, intercepts a coded message from the Knights to a Countess known to have Catholic leanings. He is convinced that Clarenceux is trying to use the document to advance the cause of the Catholic Queen. And soon Clarenceux enters a nightmare of suspicion, deception, and conspiracy. Conflict and fear, compounded by the religious doubts of the time, conceal a persistent mystery. Where has the document gone? Who has it and who really took it? And why? The roots of betrayal are deep and shocking: and Clarenceux’s journey towards the truth entails not just the discovery of clues and signs, but also the discovery of himself.
As the novel twists and turns its way to a dramatic conclusion it includes superb images of 16th century London and Southampton, plus Calshot Fort (which still stands), and some meticulous and very credible imagery of the life and battles of a ruthless pirate, Raw (Ralph) Carew who is known as the Robin Hood of the seas. Carew along with his ferocious gang terrorise the high seas to pillage other ships. Throughout the course of the story their paths cross, and Clarenceux finds himself aboard Carew’s ship fighting beside this brutal crew of pirates, Clarenceux forms a kind of union with Carew which lasts all the way through the book.
The Roots of Betrayal is flawlessly researched, as you would suppose from a historian who studies Elizabethan England as his calling. Forrester makes use of this research to good effect to bring the Elizabethan age to life, still the book reads like fast paced adventure movie at times and the speed of the narrative under no circumstances decelerate.
The author’s note at the end of this yarn warns the reader against believing The Roots of Betrayal is a true historical novel and as he is the esteemed historian Ian Mortimer writing under the pen-name James Forrester, we’d do well to pay attention to him, Roots of Betrayal is absolute fiction, and a rollicking illustration of imagination at that.
I found this to be such an effortless book to read, it is knowledgeable and riveting and very hard to put down, the people in the book are brought into existence with just a few words and the setting he summons up of London are fascinating, I have no problems recommending this book to anyone and everyone who crave for a rollicking good story.

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Review: Conquest by Julian Stockwin

ConquestConquest by Julian Stockwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I came late to the books of Julian Stockwin and this novel is the first one I have read, out of sequence I know but my excuse is that being disabled and not always able to get out myself, Maureen was the one who saw this book on the quick choice shelf at Pimlico library and knowing how much I am partial to yarns of this sort she had no qualms in getting it for me, in any case I read this novel and was instantly captivated by this escapade of Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi.
After the Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar removed the image of invasion and England is now free to seek conquests and colonies in the furthest reaches of the world.
Captain Kydd joins an expedition to take Dutch-held Cape Town, a strategic imperative to secure the rich trade-route to India. But even if the British can defeat the enemy and take possession of the capital, there is still more fighting to be done.
Kydd and his men must defend the fragile colony from attacks by the enemy from all sides, while braving the wild beasts and hostile environment of Africa‘s vast and savage hinterland.
Conquest launched me in what I trust will be a series of brand new adventures, a twelve book exploration in the Thomas Kydd series.
I found this book to be attention-grabbing historically owing to the story being set at the emergence of the British Empire which is one of the main periods of history I am interested in and studied.
Stockwin vividly links fact with fiction and I found the entire story enthralling and compelling at the same time.
The account of the landing and ensuing ground campaign was agreeably written and the mind images depicted ship you back to the actions as they happened.
To do research is vital when writing stories of this kind and Julian Stockwin surely shows the way in his interpretation of life in the Cape in the early 1800’s along with the actual characters of the time and his skill to steer clear of disorder really cut to the chase.

I look forward to reading the whole series hopefully in series order to find out just how the two friends met and how Kydd rose from before the mast to the quarterdeck.
For me Conquest ticks all the usual boxes for a rollicking good read with its indefatigable plot and rate of knots, but always told with enthusiasm and historical intensity, here I find a writer who not only knows his subject but cares for it deeply, I loved each and every page and you must not miss this brilliantly written book but unlike me get your books in series order. I strongly recommend Conquest to all readers attracted to naval fiction and indeed historical fiction in general.

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Review: The Admiral’s Daughter by Julian Stockwin

The Admiral's DaughterThe Admiral’s Daughter by Julian Stockwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My Thoughts and Comments on The Admiral’s Daughter by Julian Stockwin

From my last review you will all know that I came late to the books of Julian Stockwin and once again this is another of his rip-roaring yarns I have read out of sequence again you will all know the reason why but I’ll tell you again that my excuse is that being disabled and not always able to get out myself, Maureen is the one who saw this book on the shelf at Pimlico library. I have now started to order the books online so hopefully I will get to read the in some sort of sequence.

As I said this is another first-rate read for those of us who are keen on seafaring yarns in the Hornblower and Bolitho style

In this the eighth book of this series, Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi return to England in 1803 after tumultuous episodes on the other side of the world to find England in peril of starvation and bankruptcy. Kydd is placed back in command of his beloved vessel, Teazer, but he barely has time to prep her for the sea when he is sent on an urgent mission. Smugglers, enemy privateers, and treacherous sea conditions await Kydd on his journey to northern France on the eve of war, but equally worrisome events are occurring ashore. A growing attachment to the admiral’s daughter curbs Kydd’s blissful reunion with Teazer and he is forced to make a terrible decision that may cause the end of his friendship with Renzi, or the end of his naval career.

The Admiral’s Daughter by Julian Stockwin is another super first-class yarn from this superb writer of the sea, crammed with twists and turns he manages to keep steady Kydd’s spell at sea and ashore well, along with his portrayal of life for Kydd in early nineteenth century England is spellbinding.

The further I read about Thomas Kydd, the more I connect to him and as I expected to I prized reading the seafaring chapters, which this master story-teller brings alive, pulling the reader into the location in a way that makes you to feel as though you are actually there.

Once again I find that I must recommend you all to read the narratives of Julian Stockwin a master teller of tales who with just a few words can transport you in your mind’s eye to a time and place long gone, but not forgotten, reading these stories are almost like travelling in a time machine.

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Review: Vengeance in Death by Norah Roberts writing as J. D, Robb

Vengeance in Death
Vengeance in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was suggested by my mother that I might like these stories from J. D. Robb as she has collected all of them, so one day I just picked up a couple from the library and once again soon found out that I had picked out of sequence, but, no matter I organized myself to read this story and found myself in the future with Lt. Eve Dallas and the New York Police and Security Department and what a place to be!
Homicide detective Eve Dallas a police officer somewhere in the future knew when she married her powerful billionaire husband Roarke, that there were events in his past she would rather not know about, especially his criminal activities. These acts conflict with Eve’s code of ethics as an honest homicide detective. When a series of vicious murders involving torture and mutilation, occur, Eve realizes that all the victims assisted Roarke on his personal quest for vengeance. Eve faces the biggest crisis of her career and her marriage as she is confronted with choosing between love and honour.
I haven’t started to read this series in order and even with that I wasn’t too intolerably muddled.
Vengeance in Death is the sort of novel that that I expected it to be, the fast paced story is packed with action and is volatile and the relationship between the male lead and female lead fresh, scorching, and moving.
I just can’t wait to get to the next one!

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