Monday, 28 June 2010

catch up on book reviews

I've missed a bunch of book reviews lately so here goes with a quick catch up of what I've been reading recently...

A Week in December - Sebastian Faulks

There was a fair bit of hype about this when it came out - it sounds like Mr Faulks was writing this fiction before the financial collapse of 2008 but it is scary to read how close it is to reality. I've not read one of his before - he really is excellent at getting under the people, their motives and background etc. You really want to know what is going to happen to one of the main characters next and also await another of his "flash back" scenes where he'll explain important aspects of the character. There are 7 main characters lives in London over 7 days laid out before you. Their lives all intertwine in some way from the tube driver to the hedge fund manager. The climax isn't actually what you might expect given the run up in the book and the question - who is the real villain here is an interesting one to consider. Given many books I read are more the airport thriller nature this one has little "action" and some of the in depth person descriptions etc. can be heavy going. However very good book highly recommended.

Brad Thor - The Apostle

So the scenario is that the daughter of a close friend of the President of the USA has been kidnapped in Afghanistan - she is working there as a volunteer. Her mother blackmails the President into helping her out and he employs an ex special forces guy to carry out the rescue. Oh there is a sub plot that someone else knows about the blackmail threat and takes it on themselves to investigate that.

Frankly - rubbish. Well it was a fast paced reasonably well written airport thriller but the amount of bloodshed in it was horrible and the tone to which the deaths of the Afghans was set was loathsome. In the acknowledgements Brad goes on about how it is great that there are people like his character who'll step outside the normal rules to take to the war to the terrorists. Sorry?!!! So I find it difficult to recommend a book by someone with views like that - I'm ashamed my buying the book in Boston airport gave him some income but there you go I can't help that now. For the record - we are the civilised nations who are supposed to be showing how to "do it properly" that doesn't mean breaking the rules no matter what.

Tim Serverin - Pirate (part 3 in Hector Lynch series)

Hector Lynch continues his pirating adventures on the high seas in the third part of his life story that has seen him taken as a slave from his Irish home on to Africa, the Caribbean and South America and this time beyond into the Pacific. These are gentle paced books clearly extremely well researched as many of the characters Hector finds himself involved with are historical figures and some of the escapades are based on documented events. Hector was a again left in a quandary at the end so I await part 4.

Chris Ryan - Who Dares Wins

You know Chris Ryan books - read one you've read them all. Down at heel ex-SAS bloke who regrets leaving/being kicked out of the regiment... etc. etc.

Actually this one is a subtle twist - the main character is still serving in the regiment but it is his brother who was kicked out. There are some other nice little tricks in this one that made it one of the best Ryan reads I've had in a while - although some parts of the plot are incredulous to me.


  1. I read A Week In December (over a week last December, actually) and throughly enjoyed it - that John Veals is a piece of work, isn't he?

  2. Try Sebastian Faulks -Devil May Care. It's him writing a Bond book as Ian Fleming - very good. I picked a Hardback up for 50p at the local folk festival last Saturday.

  3. Thanks for the Cliff Notes so Heff doesn't actually have to read books !