Friday, March 14, 2014

Biannual Book Review

I can see a trend developing here. Six months ago I posted a holiday book review bemoaning the fact that my last blog had been my previous holiday book review. I never did get round to that post about armchair activism, maybe sometime soon

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer - 10/10

There's a lot been written about this book both before and after it winning last year's Costa prize so I don't see much point in writing much more about it other than to say the award was well deserved and this is a fine piece of work. The book is both heart-rending and funny, full of warmth and the author's knowledge of the subject matter shines through. Read it.

Bedlam by Christopher Brookmyre - 8/10

Generally known for his tongue-in-cheek crime novels, Brookmyre has given in to the constant nagging from fans and brought his sardonic wit to the sci-fi genre. With quotes on the cover from the late, great Iain M Banks and Charles Stross there was every indication from the start that he could manage the transition and he has. The concept of a character being stuck inside a video game isn't a new one but  Brookmyre pulls it off with aplomb in this romp of a novel

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - 8/10

I loved Gone Girl when I read it last year and recently read her first novel, Sharp Objects, which was pretty good too so had high hopes of this, her second book. And those hopes were pretty much fulfilled. Alternate chapters deal with the present day search for answers by Libby Day into the murder of her morher and sisters and the events on the day leading up to the killings. I wasn't completely convinced by the obligatory twist at the end though having earlier worked out some of what it might be it didn't come as a complete surprise.

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner - 6/10

Wonderful writing but it takes an eternity to actually get anywhere. I stopped halfway through but may well go back to it as the prose is so good.

The Big Picture by Douglas Kennedy - 9/10

Another cracking read from Douglas Kennedy as a Wall Street lawyer gets the chance to throw away his past and reinvent himself. The end can go one of two ways and I think I would have preferred the other one but the story is such a good one I can forgive the choice.

They say you can't judge a book by its cover and it seems to be especially true of just about anything by Douglas Kennedy. His publishers seem to think that chick-lit covers are appropriate for his work but THEY ARE NOT!!!!

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett - 9/10

I'm still only halfway through this but so far it's performing well and only a pathetic literary cliche rearing its ugly head like it did with Woman in the Fifth this time last year would seem likely to spoil it. If it does, I'll be very surprised.