Thursday, 30 July 2015

Good Old World by V P Hall (A new book)

The title above is of my own memoir of growing up in the north of England before and during the 2nd World War. Written for my grandchildren aged between 15 and 30, it was meant to show how different the times were back then. It is written in a light-hearted style despite a world war, shortage of food and clothing, and other privations and the title reflects this.

The book can be ordered from any bookshop anywhere. Ask for:

Good Old World by V P Hall   isbn=9781785070662

Carry on below to the great reading reviewed on this site ...

Friday, 5 December 2014

Ordinary Courage by Scott Turow

Lawyers, yes, of course, with this writer - but not dazzling us with their erudition and wily witness work. Lawyers - mainly one lawyer - who finds himself involved in the fighting in France during the 2nd World War 'Battle of the Bulge' as the Allies pushed back the German army to the borders of Germany.

Ahead for the Generals and politicians of the Allies, there lies the eventual control of the areas they are winning back from the enemy. For the soldiers there is just the enemy in front of them. Kill or be killed. In the midst of the confusion at the sharp end of this war a lawyer is parachuted in to arrest a popular major, a wildcard, whom the Brass want under control.

A passionate associate of the major, ......., is the enigmatic fast woman!

Layered into this story a generation later is the tale of the lawyer's son trying to make sense of the fact that his father was imprisoned for the murder of the major whom he was sent out to arrest from the battlefield. And the identity of his mother: she wasn't the fearless fighter at the major's side, was she?

This is a brilliant read. Outstanding research into the positions of Patton's army and the forward troops at this point in the drive into Germany. Outstanding story-telling and suspense. More than just a lawyer story - one of the best war stories that I have read.

Monday, 9 September 2013

BLOG IDEAS (Photo credit: owenwbrown)

Finding your way inside the blog

The archive on the right lists items under the years when they were written. Further down on the right are the names of authors with a book reviewed on the blog.

And the blog itself just keeps on going downwards ...... in a spacial sense! When you come to the end - you haven't! Look for Older Posts and click on that.

Monday, 5 August 2013

An Italian detective.......and a British author.

Cover of "Back to Bologna"
Cover of Back to Bologna
Michael Dibdin's novels set in Italy featuring Commissario Aurelio Zen, an Italian maverick policeman, are set in a different parts of Italy, and one in Sicily. Sicily! The name alone makes you wince for the fate of a policeman in the home territory of the Mafia. He survives.
The Aurelio Zen books are:
  1. Ratking (1988)
  2. Vendetta (1990)
  3. Cabal (1992)
  4. Dead Lagoon (1994)
  5. Cosi Fan Tutti (1996)
  6. A Long Finish (1998)
  7. Blood Rain (1999)
  8. And Then You Die (2002)
  9. Medusa (2003)
  10. Back to Bologna (2005)
  11. End Games (2007)
 Start where you like, there may be brief references to an earlier story but nothing vital to enjoyment of the current one. You get a feeling of what it must be like to live with Italian bureaucracy and politicians  - and how similar they are to the British versions. Yes, corruption in public and business life; we have them too and they are continually coming to public knowledge. They have always been there. We just prefer to read of them in other countries, or at least I do. There is plenty of excitement and suspense, too; plus Zen's love life and his mother's influence.

Of his other books, the one I have read so far is set in the USA, in the Seattle area with scenes in Texas and the East. It is called Dark Spectre and shows an understanding of American life-styles and idiom. The latter put me off on my first try but when I later read the book to the end it was one element that made the story almost believable.

Unfortunately, Dibdin, a British born writer, died in 2007 at the early age of 60 after having settled finally in Seattle.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Professional Reviews

Follow the link to find hundreds of reviews.

Recently I found there a review of

Canada by Richard Ford

a most unusual story told through the eyes of a boy of school age who realises along with his slightly older sister that their parents have committed an astonishing crime. What happens to the boy as he grows to manhood in a remote part of Canada where he is taken to be looked after when his parents are ...........
Eight out of ten!

Finding this review reminded me of an earlier book by Richard Ford, The Sportswriter - the setting is American sport. But the intensity of the story makes the type or location of the sport irrelevant. It's a great read. Nine out of ten. And I intend to read 'Independence Day' when I get hold of a copy.