Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lazy Sunday Service

Finished off The Dramatist by Ken Bruen last night. I knew what was coming with the sucker punch, it had been well signposted, but it still took all the air out of me. Not one to finish at gone midnight if you want to sleep soundly. If I was Jack Taylor I'd lose myself in drink.

My posts this week:
The Secret in Their Eyes
Review of Pariah by Dave Zeltserman
Review of Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill
When it flows, it pours

Saturday, July 30, 2011

When it flows, it pours

I starting writing a new novel, Stiffed, on the 25th June. I came across a nice quote – ‘Friends help you move ... true friends help you move bodies’ – and I thought, I can do something with that. Since then I’ve been hammering away at the keyboard and this afternoon - 68,850 words later – I reached the end. I haven’t read it through yet, but I enjoyed the writing so much that I’m reasonably hopeful that it's not half bad. I’m actually looking forward to reading it through! Sometimes things just click. I’ve experienced this a few times with my academic writing, but not with the fiction. A great feeling for now (and hopefully the same once I’ve read through the whole thing from start to end). Off to get a beer (or several).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review of Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill (Quercus, 2007)

When an old blind man is mowed down by a runaway truck his corpse ends up on the mortuary table of Dr Siri, the elderly national coroner of the newly independent Laos. In the blind man’s pocket is an envelope containing a blank sheet of paper. Drawing on his love of Inspector Maigret, Dr Siri reveals an invisible coded message and with his friends cracks the code. What is revealed sends him to the south of the country where royalist sympathisers who wish to overthrow the new regime are still plentiful. There he tries to uncover a dangerous plot and investigates the death of a small child found floating in the River Meekong.

The real strengths of Colin Cotterill’s Dr Siri series are the colourful set of characters, the light and witty prose, and a wonderfully rich sense of place and history. Through the narrative he engages with weighty matters such as nationalism, socialism and familial relationships, without them dominating the story in some overloaded ideological manner. They’re a delight to read. Anarchy and Old Dogs is the fourth book in the series. Whilst the plot was interesting, I felt that it unfolded in a relatively straightforward manner, lacked some twists and turns, and the mystical elements used to good effect in the other stories was underplayed. There was also a sense that the book was doing a lot of work for the next book in the series, moving new characters and scenarios into place. As a result, it felt like a transition book, rather than having a fully rounded story of its own. For me, that meant it was an enjoyable read, but one that didn’t quite fulfil its promise. Regardless, it and the whole Dr Siri series is well worth checking out as no doubt is Cotterill's new series, the first book of which has just been published.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


A few days ago Declan Burke put up an interesting post about Dennis Lehane in which he also discussed his own motivations for wanting to become a writer and the kind of writer he wanted to be. He listed off a few reasons:

"I guess every writer has his or her own motive for writing. Some want to be the best prose stylist ever read. Others want to tell stories. Some get into it to make their fortune. Some just want to be famous, rich or otherwise. And on it goes. When I was 17, my ambition was to write books that other writers liked."

Like Declan, at 17 I also wanted to be a writer. And whereas he went into journalism to maintain and nurture his writing ambitions, I went into academia. Both are publish or perish careers. For the past fifteen years I've told colleagues that my aim was to leave academia by the time I was forty to become a fulltime fiction writer - not because I wanted fame and fortune, but so that I had the time and space to pursue a passion. Given I'm forty one in a week or so, this clearly isn't going to happen! And that's fine. I love writing the academic stuff as well, though I could easily live without the admin and the other pressures of the job.

As for ambition with respect to my fiction writing, I wanted to write books that I would want to read. It's that plain and simple. I guess I figured that if enjoyed the book, then other people might as well, but I was most definitely the target audience. I got distracted along the way when early efforts found no favour with agents and publishers, but I'm now back in that space. And I've never enjoyed writing as much. I'm having a hoot writing the latest one. It's a book I would definitely read as a reader. And that's as much as I hope for. Now back to it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review of Pariah by Dave Zeltserman (Serpent’s Tail, 2009)

Kyle Nevin has just been released after serving eight years for armed robbery, sold out to the FBI by Red Mahoney, the boss of South Boston Irish Mob. Nevin used to be Mahoney’s right hand man, the enforcer who did his bosses bidding, whether than be breaking arms and legs, intimidating local businesses or robbing banks. Nevin only has one thing on his mind – to raise enough funds that he can go after Mahoney – and nothing is going to distract him from the task. His first job is to rescue his younger brother from going straight, then carry out a job that will net millions. If that means leaving a trail of destruction in his wake, so be it.

If you like dark, gritty noir realism, then you need to read Dave Zeltserman’s books. The first person narratives of his prison release trilogy drop you into the world of troubled men and paint extraordinary rich characters. Pariah is no different. Kyle Nevin is driven by a grim determination to rule by fear and to seek whatever he desires by any means except those legitimate. He professes to have a moral code of sorts – sticking by family and brothers in arms – but everyone else is fair game. Ultimately though he’s fighting a battle of himself against the world and he’s prepared to do anything to make sure the world loses. At times, the feeling of realism in Zeltserman’s writing is disturbing, especially in the first half of the book. The second half felt a little rushed at times, with a few key events a little underdeveloped, taking up very little of the narrative and quickly moving on. The twist at the end was clever, but felt a tad contrived. I also felt that the whole Whitey Bulger riff was a bit tired, explored in other books such as Adrian McKinty’s Bloomsbury set and Richard Marinick’s Boyos, and no doubt others. As a result, in my view, Pariah was a good read, but not quite on the same par as the other two books in the prison release trilogy: Small Crimes and Killer. Given how stellar those two books are that’s no great criticism. To repeat: if you like noir read Zeltserman, you won’t be disappointed.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Secret in Their Eyes

Based on the book by Eduardo Sacheri (to be released in English translation in October according to Amazon), The Secret in Their Eyes won an Oscar last year for the best foreign film. It spans a twenty five year period from 1974, tracking the investigation and legacy of the rape and murder of Liliana Coloto in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Seemingly resolved, the case was stifled by corruption and dirty politics. It's told in a series of flash backs by a retired legal counsellor who has decided to spend his free time writing a novel based on the case. At the heart of the film is passion, obsession and loss - the counsellor unable or unwilling to realise his love for his well-connected boss, the dead woman's husband unable to let his love go. The film is the second highest grossing movie of all-time in Argentina, and has won a load of prizes. The acting and cinematography is excellent. It's a little slow moving at first, but it slowly builds as layers of meaning are woven in. Worth a viewing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lazy Sunday Service

I'm still trying to get my head around the bomb and shootings in Norway. The events have a slightly unreal feeling to it given the location and the numbers of dead. My definition of unreality here is anything where if you wrote it as a story people would tell you it was too fantastical, that there's no way that the event could have unfolded as it did. I think this is especially the case with the deaths on the island, where so many were killed. The sheer scale and horror just seems beyond comprehension, especially when the motive and intent are so unclear. As with everyone else, my sympathies go out to the affected families.

My posts this week
Absolutely cool
Review of Headbanger by Hugo Hamilton
Review of Crime Always Pays by Declan Burke
Animal Kingdom
Review of Borkmann's Point by Hakan Nesser

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review of Borkmann’s Point by Hakan Nesser (Swedish 1994, Pan, 2006)

Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is on holiday in a seaside cottage when he gets a phone call asking him to investigate a murder committed a few miles away. A man has been slain with an axe. It’s the second such murder in the space of a couple of months. The local investigative team have made little progress on the first and it’s time for some outside help. There appear to be very few clues, with no links between the victims and little progress is made. Then another murder is committed. Local detective Beate Moerk is determined to solve the case and make a name for herself. Then she disappears. It seems she might have reached Borkmann’s point – the stage in an investigation where no more clues are needed to solve the case – before the others. And in doing so attracted the attention of the killer.

The strengths of Borkmann’s Point is the pacing, atmosphere and everydayness of the narrative. The storytelling has a nice cadence and doesn’t seek to shock or ratchet up the tension too early. Instead we’re gradually introduced to the characters and the investigation, slowly building up a picture of the police officers, their lives and ambitions, and patiently working towards a resolution. The plot is fine, although I’d reached Borkmann’s point in terms of identifying the killer very early in the novel; pretty much off the first clue. I certainly didn’t know with any certainty, but for some reason I just had a gut instinct that solidified as the story progressed. It’s a solution I’ve come across in other police procedurals and it seemed to fit. As a result, a great deal of the edge was taken out of the read, and this might not be the case for other readers. Overall, a pleasant enough read and I’d try other Nesser books, but fairly standard police procedural fare.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Animal Kingdom

I watched the Australian movie Animal Kingdom last night. The story focuses on a criminal family in Melbourne presided over by a matriarch. After his mother dies of a heroin overdose, she takes in her grandson, who is roped into helping his uncles out. When the family and police come to loggerheads, the grandson is caught in the middle, being courted by the police to turn state’s evidence. There was something rather unsettling about the movie. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it. I think it was because it was almost made like a documentary, though with very strong cinematography and no voice over. It didn’t try and put a glamorous spin on crime or the law. Rather it focused on the familial relationships, background pressure, paranoia, jealousy, manipulation, corruption and conflicting choices. The soundtrack and the lingering shots on everyday objects and cast members added to the whole ambience. Very subtly the tension builds, despite there being very few action sequences. An oddly compelling story, based very loosely on the notorious Pettingill family. Worth a look. Trailer below.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review of Crime Always Pays by Declan Burke

In the aftermath of a kidnapping insurance scam, Frank is in hospital with a shattered leg, the crimimally insane Rossi is having his ear tended to by a vet whilst being watched over by his narcoleptic friend Sleeps , Anna the wolf is regretting not ripping Rossi’s whole head clean off, Anna’s owner Karen is looking to skip the country with the money and the reluctant thief Ray, Doyle the cop assigned to the case is suspended but still wants justice, Madge the kidnap victim is looking forward to a nice Mediterranean cruise with Terry, the guy who set up the scam, and Melody a porn script writer is looking to spread her wings and pen a full length decent crime movie script. Karen and Ray are heading to Greece to meet up with Madge to split the proceeds, but where the money goes, everybody follows, all desperate to get their hands on the cash and each other.

I’ve been trying to decide how to describe Crime Always Pays. I guess it’s a screwball, crime caper, road trip noir. And very well done it is too. Burke weaves a tale that does not rest, with the action starting on the first page and not letting up until the final sentence. The story follows the intersecting trajectories of two handfuls of well penned, memorable characters as they set out from Ireland to the Greek island of Ios, swirling round each other trying to bag the proceeds of an insurance scam and each other. Laced with a big dollop of humour, there are bluffs, backstabbings, double crosses, and twists and turns galore. The story pretty much has it all – electric pace, good dialogue, tons of action, great characters (particular the double act of Rossi and Sleeps), clever plotting, and a strong sense of place. I had only had two issues really. The first is the extent to which someone who hadn’t read The Big O would be able to follow what was going on. This is very much a sequel, starting immediately where the first book ends, and it is framed in that context. I suspect it might be fine, but my advice is to read The Big O first (you won’t regret it). The second is the thread following Madge seemed a little underdeveloped and disconnected from the others. And I’m picking hairs here. If Burke’s new book Absolute Zero Cool is as good as this then it’ll be a cracker. Hopefully it’ll catapult him to the kind of success he deserves.

P.S. this book is available for Kindle on Amazon for the criminally low price of 87 pence or $1.47. Talk about a bargain. Get buying and reading.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review of Headbanger by Hugo Hamilton (Secker and Warburg, 1996)

Garda Pat Coyne fancies himself as Dublin’s Dirty Harry, the cop that’s going to take the fight to the scum of the city and kick their asses. To his colleagues he’s Mr Suicide, always taking things too far, putting himself and his colleagues in unnecessary danger. Coyne works out of Irishtown station, dealing with the underbelly of society – the beatings, muggings, suicides, rapes, riots, drunk and disorderlies. What Coyne really wants, however, is a shot a gangland boss, ‘Drummer’ Cunningham. Cunningham runs the city with ruthless efficiency. Fed up with Drummer evading justice with bravado and fancy lawyers, Coyne decides enough is enough. Coyne’s justice will prevail, setting the two men on a collision course.

Headbanger is an in-depth character study of a cop teetering on the edge of madness, seemingly determined to careen down into its depths regardless of its consequences. Hamilton is good at capturing the small details of life, the nuances and foibles of folk and the spaces they inhabit. The characters, their relationships, and the sense of 1990s Dublin are well penned, and I thought the ending was very nicely done. Despite his eccentricities, Coyne and his work and home life are credible, and it’s difficult not to build up an empathy for a troubled soul. For my taste the book is too much of a character study; I prefer more action and dialogue and less introspection. What is refreshing, however, is the focus on an ordinary cop, someone who hasn’t gained rank or a position in an elite squad of some kind. Overall, an enjoyable slice of Dublin noir.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Absolutely cool

I finished reading Declan Burke's absolutely cool Crime Always Pays last night. I'm hoping that his forthcoming new novel Absolutely Zero Cool, published by Liberties Press in early August, will demonstrate that crime does pay. Declan's blog Crime Always Pays is the must read site for news on Irish crime writing and reviews, and his edited anthology Down These Green Streets provides a fascinating set of essays on Irish crime fiction. The guy knows his crime fiction and it shows in his own stories. Expect my review of Crime Always Pays later this week. In the meantime, here's two blurbs for Absolute Zero Cool.

Blurb 1:

Who in their right mind would want to blow up a hospital?

“Close it down, blow it up – what’s the difference?”

Billy Karlsson needs to get real. Literally. A hospital porter with a sideline in euthanasia, Billy is a character trapped in the purgatory of an abandoned novel. Deranged by logic, driven beyond sanity, Billy makes his final stand: if killing old people won’t cut the mustard, the whole hospital will have to go up in flames.

Only his creator can stop him now, the author who abandoned Billy to his half-life limbo, in which Billy schemes to do whatever it takes to get himself published, or be damned . . .

Blurb 2:

Absolute Zero Cool is a post-modern take on the crime thriller genre. Adrift in the half-life limbo of an unpublished novel, hospital porter Billy needs to up the stakes. Euthanasia simply isn’t shocking anymore; would blowing up his hospital be enough to see Billy published, or be damned? What follows is a gripping tale that subverts the crime genre’s grand tradition of liberal sadism, a novel that both excites and disturbs in equal measure. Absolute Zero Cool is not only an example of Irish crime writing at its best; it is an innovative, self-reflexive piece that turns every convention of crime fiction on its head. Declan Burke’s latest book is an imaginative story that explores the human mind’s ability to both create and destroy, with equally devastating effects.

Between them those have got me whetting my lips. Postmodern literary noir. Sounds like Duane Swierczynski territory a la Secret Dead Men. Which is the kind of territory I love.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lazy Sunday Service

Finished reading Headbanger by Hugo Hamilton on Friday. It's an interesting piece of crime fiction because it's an in-depth character study of a beat copper, one that is slowly going mad at how the system fails to adequate deal with everyday criminal acts and administer justice. Most crime novels that have police lead characters tend to focus on elite team members or high profile crimes. I'd be interested in recommendations of other stories that focus more on the routine side of policing. Suggestions?

My posts this week
Turning two
Review of Fun and Games by Duane Swierczynski
Wifiless in London
Holiday reading

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Holiday reading

I'm taking the next two weeks off of work. Staycation. Going to work on the new novel, mess around with the dogs and read a few books. I've seven plucked from the pile. Expect reviews in dribs and drabs.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wifi-less in London

Just got back from a short trip to London. I stayed in a city centre hotel in Bloomsbury which cost 340 euros for two nights. The room was not ensuite, with the bathroom down the end of the corridor. There was no wifi or internet access, except for a terminal in the lobby which you had to pay for (3 pounds for 15 minutes). The conference venue also had no wifi access. I didn't find a free wifi hotspot anywhere. Having the bathroom at the end of the corridor was fine. Having limited access to the internet was a pain (and I used my precious 15 minute slot on the lobby machine to access work email). I'd have thought in a global city like London that every hotel in the city centre would have wifi access. And it should be free. At this stage, internet access is a public utility, like water and electricity. In one way it was nice to be cut off, but in another it was a real nuisance, especially when so much of my work is done through email. Anyway, that's the reason for the silence.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review of Fun and Games by Duane Swierczynski (Mulholland, 2011)

Charlie Hardie used to be an off-the-record security consultant to the Philadelphia police. Then three years ago a case he was working on went badly wrong. Now Charlie house sits for the rich and famous, drinking booze and watching old movies whilst making sure the house stays in one piece whilst their owners are on holiday or film location. His latest assignment is to guard the house of a composer. Only when he turns up there’s a D-list actress hiding out in the house who claims she is being hunted by professional hitmen – the Accident People. Charlie decides she’s whacko, but then strange things start to happen and it soon becomes apparent they are under siege. The only way out seems to be in a body bag unless they can find a way to survive.

The premise of Fun and Games is a great one – that for a price there are a bunch of Hollywood directors who script ‘accidents’, creating deaths which are accompanied by a plausible narrative. The accidents are then played out by a group of unscrupulous actors and professional hitmen using a van load of tricks. For me this was a book of two halves. In the first half, the book felt like this was Swierczynski’s attempt to cross-over into the mainstream. It lacked the edge and other-worldliness of his other novels. There was also a huge over use of the character’s name, with Hardie appearing dozens of times on each page. Once I started to read ‘he’ instead it read more fluidly. The second half felt much more like a Swierczynski story – bold, brash and adrenaline filled action. At the start of one of the chapters an Alfred Hitchcock quote is used: ‘A far-fetched story must be plausibly told, so your nonsense isn’t showing.’ Swierczynski normally excels at this, especially in Secret Dead Men and Expiration Date, but a little too often in Fun and Games there is slippage, especially with Hardie’s seemingly super-human qualities – the man will simply not die! – and the contrived set up of some scenes. That said, this is an enjoyable romp which works off a convincingly pitched premise – it would also make a great movie or TV series.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Turning Two

The View From the Blue House is two years old today. Over the past two years I've reviewed 213 books, a fairly respectable number I think given everything else going on. I've only reviewed one book so far this month however and I'll stick up another tomorrow before I head to London. Been a slow month of reading as I work on two books - a new novel and a dictionary. Going through a purple patch of writing which is a great feeling.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lazy Sunday Service

Off the London later this week to give a keynote talk at an Information Visualization conference. I'm not sure they're going to get what they think they're getting, which is probably Atlas of Cyberspace kind of stuff. Although I do use info visualisation quite a bit in my work, my theoretical interest is concerned with the philosophy of cartography, not on the technical aspects of producing visualizations. I suspect that most information visualization researchers couldn't give a monkeys about the wider philosophy of science, instead trying to create more effective means of revealing and communicating information. Of course, the two are not unrelated, but its rare enough that they're worked through in relation to each other. Should be interesting to see what they make of what I've got to say. Not a lot probably.

Most posts this week:
Half yearly report
Housing vacancy 1991-2011 in the Upper Shannon Renewal Scheme
Letter A
Review of 1974 by David Peace
Nice things in the post

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nice things in the post

The postman bought a nice offering this week - Louie Knight's latest case in Malcolm Pryce's The Day Aberystwyth Stood Still.

From the backcover:

It is May in Aberystwyth, and the mayoral election campaign - culminating in the traditional boxing match between candidates - is underway. Sospan the ice-cream seller waits in his hut for souls brave enough to try his latest mind-expanding new flavour, and Louie Knight, Aberystwyth's only Private Detective, receives a visit from a mysterious stranger called Raspiwtin asking him to track down a dead man. Twenty-five years ago Iestyn Probert was hanged for his part in the notorious raid on the Coliseum cinema, but shortly afterwards he was seen, apparently alive and well, boarding a bus to Aberaeron. Did he miraculously evade the hangman's noose? Or could there really be substance to the rumours that he was resuscitated by aliens? Now, as strange lights are spotted in the sky above Aberystwyth and a farmer claims to have had a close encounter with a lustful extraterrestrial, Iestyn Probert has been sighted once again. But what does Raspiwtin want with him? And why does Louie's investigation arouse unwelcome interest from a shadowy government body and a dark-suited man in a black 1947 Buick?

Sounds like a cracker.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Review of 1974 by David Peace (Serpent’s Tail, 1999)

Eddie Dunford has moved back to north to the Leeds of his youth, working as the north of England correspondent for the Post. On the morning of his father’s funeral he is attending the press conference concerning the disappearance of a local school girl, Clare Kemplay. For Dunford this is an opportunity to establish himself at the paper and come out from under the shadow of Jack Whitehead, the paper’s award winning crime writer. His growing obsession, however, soon moves him from an interested observer into an active participant, a pawn in a much larger game of local business interests, politics and police corruption. The more he seeks out the truth, the further he descends into underworld, and others start to pay for the consequences of his actions.

Maxine from Petrona describes reading 1974 as like reading a scream. I know exactly where she’s coming from. Peace’s narrative is intense, visceral, gritty, dark, unrelenting and unsettling. It is very tightly written and through the flair and style of the prose, the contextual framing, and the palpable sense of realism, it produces a powerful affective response from the first page. If anyone is looking for the ultimate noir, then 1974 must be near the top of the pile. The story is a long way from horror, and none of the scenes are particularly horrific, but I nevertheless found it a difficult read at times, simultaneously feeling senses of compulsion and revulsion. It’s one of those strange books or movies that draws you in at the same time as pushing you away. I read it in several sittings and found it emotionally draining. The end unravels a little, becoming a bit disjointed (much like the main character). Nevertheless 1974 is a brilliant piece of writing, but it’s not for the faint hearted.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Letter A

Rather than writing reviews I've been busy writing dictionary entries. I now have my assigned entries for the letter A drafted for the forthcoming Oxford Dictionary of Human Geography. Been an interesting exercise so far. The entries are pretty disparate. I wrote an entry today on 'affect' immediately followed by one on 'agent-based models', which is about as far apart in human geography conceptually and methodologically as one can get. 25 letters and 670 odd entries to go. The plan is to draft 200 over the summer.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Half yearly report

So far I've read and reviewed 52 books this year. Six were classed as 5 star reviews and seven as 4.5 stars. I'd recommend all of them. As for my book of the year so far, I'm mulling that over. Probably Field Grey shades it. The Deputy and Caught Stealing would make great movies, The Rage good TV. Secret Dead Men is the most thought provoking in a head wrecking kind of way. Ghost Mountain Boys, the only non-fiction on this list, makes you wonder about the follies of people and the strength of human spirit.

The Rage by Gene Kerrigan
The Deputy by Victor Gischler
Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston
Ghost Mountain Boys by James Campbell
Secret Dead Men by Duane Swierczynski
Field Grey by Philip Kerr

Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen
The Brush Off by Shane Maloney
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson
The Main by Trevanian
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
Devil Red by Joe Lansdale
A Stone of the Heart by John Brady

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lazy Sunday Service

The first results of Census 2011 were released in Ireland this week. It showed that about 100,000 additional people were living in Ireland than was expected. In fact the population grew by 341,421 between 2006 and 2011 (8.1%). This was most due to strong natural increase with a high rate of births (the highest in Europe) and a low death rate, with emigration not occurring to the same extent as people thought (in fact, 118K more people move to the country than left). Since 1991 the population has grown by more than a million people to 4.5m, a whopping 29.9% increase. The figure though that I had been waiting for somewhat nervously was the housing vacancy rate. Based on our research the media had reported back in January 2010 that the vacancy rate for the country was 300,000. A number that became synonymous with the property crash. We were roundly criticised by the construction and property sector for that assessment and have spend much of the last 18 months debating with them the level of vacant stock. The Census reported that there were 294,202 vacant units that were habitable. Thankfully for us, but not for the country, we were just about right. Phew! The map above is vacancy by ED, with blue areas having over 20% vacancy.

My posts this week:
Review of White Death by Tobias Jones
Reading a scream
Old book, new format
Review From Aberystwyth With Love by Malcolm Pryce
2011 Census housing vacancy data
Geographic variation in housing vacancy 2011
June reviews

Friday, July 1, 2011

June reviews

A pretty mixed month of reading. I'm surprised I posted nine reviews as it didn't seem like a nine book month. Three books stood out - Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen, The Rage by Gene Kerrigan and The Deputy by Victor Gischler. The one that was a head clear for me was The Deputy, a fine slice of country noir; short but sweet.

From Aberystwyth With Love by Malcolm Pryce ****
White Death by Tobias Jones ***.5
The Fatal Touch by Conor Fitzgerald ***.5
Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly **.5
The Rage by Gene Kerrigan *****
The Deputy by Victor Gischler *****
The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan ****
Plugged by Eoin Colfer ****
Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen ****.5