Treacherous Games - David Brodie.
This is Mr Brodie's first novel written after his retirement as a Professor of Cardiovascular Health, and not a bad first effort at all.
So to set the scene, the central character is Nigel Gressley who is a top sports agent, the guy who puts together all the sponsorship, appearance etc. deals and creams off a nice percentage profit. He has a young English middle distance runner in his stable of sportsman and woman. A chance comment from this athlete after a defeat by the worlds best makes him consider a radical strategy to help his man claim the ultimate prize, a gold medal at his home Olympics in London 2012. So extremely topical! The plan, to actually disadvantage the main rivals through a variety for means. To get information on how to do this Nigel funds some research by a promising young student and boxer to discover ways to undermine an athletes performance, all the time he claims he is doing this to help his stable of athletes to be prepared for these possible skullduggery being perpetrated on them but in reality his intention is to scupper the opposition so his guy has an advantage on the day. There is also a dramatic subplot involving some radical British Islamic terrorists.
All in all not a bad yarn. The basic premise is good enough, some of the dialogue a bit stilted and some of the situations a little over played. Also the subplot with the terrorists could have had more substance, especially towards the end of the book it sort of ends with you wondering "So how did they all end up?". A small chapter to bring that to a conclusion would have pleased me. The ending itself has a variety of twists and turns in it as well that ends you not fully where you thought you would.
A single thumbs up on the FITUBRS - if you want a book to read now in the run up to the games this isn't a bad bet
The Seventh Stone - Pamela Hegarty
So this is another first novel and very much in the self published category. It is then with some regret that I have to say there were numerous times I nearly didn't complete this book, and frankly it has been a very very long time since that happened. Why? Well the plot is a bit over the top but I can go with that I've read many books in similar areas of mythical disbelief but it is also the characters, plot structure etc. Frankly it is a bit all over the place. There are a heap of characters introduced without you really getting to know them and how they fit in. There are references back to things so much so that I checked to see if this was a follow up in a series but it isn't but those throw backs actually alienated me as a reader as I wasn't in on that previous story so it isn't relevant at all really. The situations are more and more fantastic with multiple mythical creatures becoming real etc. Now the author describes it as Dan Brown meets Indiana Jones, I can see that but it would be better as one of those National Treasure type movies - the ones I rarely can watch all the way through as again my credulity gets stretched too far. The neighbour who seems able at a moments notice with access to no discernible funds whip up a private army complete with combat helicopters etc. Even if he was a retired General that just had me laughing. I did persevere in the end as Ms Hegarty has taken time to write it, I did buy it so I did finish it. I most definitely wouldn't recommend it. Not a raising of either thumb on the FITUBRS I'm afraid.