Friday, August 26, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

The original Deus Ex was one of my favourite games on the PC. Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released today and I picked my copy up at lunchtime. Can't wait to see if it's as good as the original!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: The Lizards Bite by David Hewson

The Lizard's Bite (Nic Costa Mysteries 4)The Lizard's Bite by David Hewson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Falconi, Peroni, Costa, Lupo & the former FBI agent Emily Deacon return. 

A fire in a glass foundry leaves two dead, but is it an accident, a murder/suicide, or double murder?  Falconi and his team having been banished from their Roman home to the city of Venice slowly uncover a tale of deceit and murder in the ancient city.   With Massiter the intriguing Englishman all is not as it seems, and as further murders follow, Falconi's men must uncover the truth.

This is the fourth "Nic Costa" book, and the series goes from strength to strength, from the horrific opening scenes to the satisfying final chapters, this entry in the Costa series is by far the best of the first four, in my opinion.  As I have read the series out of order I know that it goes from strength to strength from here on, but I am trying to start and read/reread the series from the beginning.

For me, whilst these are very much of the crime crime/mystery genre, they are also about art, culture, architecture, travel, good food and good wine.  One of my favourite weekend pastimes now is to sit with a Nic Costa tale, and a glass of Italian white that I have read about in a previous outing.

The Lizard's Bite also sits alongside David Hewson's standalone novel, "The Cemetery of Secrets", although I have yet to read the latter, and either book can be read without the benefit of the other, some characters appear in both books.

Ah, Venice and murder, another outstanding Nic Costa tale from David Hewson, recommended!

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Book Review: Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles by Edward A Grainger

Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon MilesAdventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles by Edward A. Grainger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my introduction to the characters of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles, and I wasn't disappointed. A selection of short stories, that show the violence of the old west and the principles that the lawmen of that time held dear is well portrayed.

A highly recommended read.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Impossible Reading Challenge?

Each year, over the last few years I have set myself a different reading "challenge". I've had challenges around the number of books I would read in a year, this year I started at 30 books in the year, and have now extended that to 60, having reached and past 30 a while ago.

Previously I have made promises to my bookshelves on the near state of collapse that I would only buy a new book if I had read one first. In that year I read some 38 books (and probably bought 38 too).

And so the challenges go.

Recently I've been thinking about some of the classic crime novels there are, and rereading some Arthur Conan Doyle, and more recently my mind has turned to Agatha Christie.


Now I have read some of her novels in the past, but I thought it would be interesting to try and read them all. Could I do this in a year? All in 2012 perhaps? Then I realised just how many books there are:


So maybe not?

I do still intend to read them all, but it might take me a while!


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Monday, August 15, 2011

Book review

Dexter in the Dark (Dexter, #3)Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm afraid this third outing for the serial killer that only kills bad people was a little off the mark compared to the previous two outings.

Too much time was taken up with plot that didn't really seem to be going anywhere and at times seemed largely irrelevant.

Overall a disappointing read.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Review: Lake Charles by Ed Lynsky

Lake Charles: A Mystery NovelLake Charles: A Mystery Novel by Ed Lynskey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s the summer of 1979 and Brendan Fishback, his sister Edna and brother-in-law Cobb Kuzawa are heading to Lake Charles to do some bass fishing and have a good time.

Brendan has the spectre of a murder charge hanging over his head, a crime that he didn’t commit, and this might be the last chance he gets to cut loose before his trial.

Lake Charles isn’t the same place that it was though, once a haven for leisure, it’s now run-down and in a bad way, and it isn’t long before Brendan’s situation goes from bad to worse. His sister disappears and Brendan and Cobb run up against some back-country marijuana growers while trying to find her.

“Lake Charles” is told by Brendan in the first person and also through the clever use of flashbacks in dreams in Brendan’s mind’s eye. In this way Ed Lynskey writes a novel that oozes evil and violence by turn. As the story unfolds you are caught time and again by another punch to the guts in terms of a twist in the plot or a revelation that you didn’t see coming. Page after page, I found myself thinking about things I wanted to include in this review, but without giving too many spoilers that would have made this review too long, and given away too much of the plot.

The story carries an air of realism, and is grounded with the practicalities of the late ‘70s, this gives it an edge in terms of pace and dialogue that wouldn’t have been possible with a more modern setting. The characters feel complete and as a result as the plot turns, you become embedded in what is happening to them and wondering what the next shock will be.

This is the first novel I have read by this author, but I will certainly be looking out for others, and would recommend “Lake Charles” if you like a good crime or mystery.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Book Review: Back Of Beyond by C. J. Box

Back of BeyondBack of Beyond by C.J. Box
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cody Hoyt is a troubled cop, at the edge of control, with the threats of alcohol abuse and violence only ever a step away.

When he receives word that his friend and AA mentor has been burnt alive in a fire Hoyt goes to the scene.  First impressions are of an accident, but Cody Hoyt realises that not everything is how it seems, and sets to work investigating his friends murder.

A recovered computer hard-drive from the scene leads Cody on the trail of the murderer and to a backcountry outfitter and a trip into Yellowstone National Park.  Can Cody stop the killer before he strikes again, and perhaps his next victim is Cody's son who is on the same backcountry trip with his stepdad.

C. J. Box starts this one out at what seems like a perceptively slow pace, but the initial investigation  rapidly leads to a rattling pace that sees the story expand and lay out a great narrative, in one of the most stunning locations on the planet.  Box doesn't stint on using the backdrop as a part of the tale, using wolves, bears and hot springs as part of the story.

The tale can be tricky to follow if you're not paying attention, and if you're planning to work out the who, what, why before the end you'll need to be playing close attention.

C. J. Box is probably best known for his Joe Pickett series, but this stand alone (although Hoyt has appeared before), is just as good as any of the Pickett series, and well worth a read this summer.

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Rainy Summer Holidays

It's been raining pretty much all day today, good for my garden and allotment but not quite so good if this happens to be your school summer holidays or you're the parent of a child on holiday.

I was thinking back to my school summer holidays, the best six weeks of the year. No school!

We used to spend our time outside. Either playing at each others houses or off in the woods making dens and pretending to be Robin Hood or King Arthur.

When it rained though, we had to resort to playing indoors, and that other staple, watching children's daytime tv. This was in the days before home computers, and in particular the ZX Spectrum at which point my summer holidays would take a different path.


Hard as it may seem now, there were only three channels and daytime tv for kids was reserved for the school holidays only, the rest of the year it was educational programmes and perhaps some Mr Ben at lunchtime.


In the school holidays though the daytime tv was awesome. There was everything from Larry "Buster" Crabbe in the black and White serials of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers.

There was also the original (and in my opinion, the best) Superman, played by George Reeves


My favourite though had to be Space:1999


This was the series that was made for me, it had everything, great stories, action, was set in space, and had the. Best. Spaceship. Ever! The Eagle


This is what summer holiday tv was all about.

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