Over 550 book reviews with full author links

30 November 2012

Sandra Edwards: The Memory Bouquet

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What a con - it isn't a novella but a prequel
The book description says that it is a short novella. What a con - it isn't a novella but a very short and (IMHO) not very good prequel for "The Lonely Hearts Club" (still to be released). If you write a prequel then the real book or series should be available or coming soon. I got this so called novella in March and would have forgotten everything about it by now if I was interested in the real book (which I am not).

In my view a novella is a short stand-alone novel around 75-100 pages.  They test the author's skills in being able to write a complete and satisfying story within the page limitations and I have read a couple of really good ones lately. This "novella" is just a jumble of introductory chapters that didn't even whet my appetite for more.

29 November 2012

J.A. Redmerski: The Edge of Never

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Well written contemporary romance
Contemporary romance is not my normal genre (I'm normally into fast action thrillers) but from time to time I have a break and read something lighter. In some ways this was lighter, but not really because both characters had a lot of bad history to face up to.

At only 20 years Cam has faced serious depression from family problems, the death of the her much loved boy friend and a breakup with her long-time best girl friend. She tries to escape to nowhere to find herself. I really liked her choice of nowhere - when buying a bus ticket she sees the ticket seller is eating a baked potato and decides to go to Ohio, the home of potatoes.

Andrew is taking the bus to his dying father's bedside so that he can have time to work out how he feels about life. He meets and protects Cam and without knowing it they gradually come together as a couple and decide to travel to nowhere together. Andrew tells her "Live in the moment, where everything is just right, take your time and limit your bad memories and you'll get wherever it is a lot faster..." Little do they know how true this is.

There is strong sexual tension between them which takes time to release as both of them are slow to commit to the inevitable. The steamy parts are well written, but are only part of the journey. The finale hits hard with an unexpected twist in the tale.

Overall I found the book took some time to get moving and was a bit too long because of unnecessary digressions into contemporary rock music. I find this book hard to rate because I can't really associate with the culture as I don't live in the US and have little appreciation of contemporary rock music having grown up in the 1950's and 60's. The first part of the book was slow and the descriptions of contemporary music were completely foreign to me. But I could see why the book has been enjoyed by the younger-set, especially from the US, so was not harsh in my rating because I couldn't completely empathise with the characters.

Personally I would give this a 3 star rating but have raised it to 4 star because because it is well written and that is how most of the audience out there would have judged it.

27 November 2012

Nora Roberts: The Witness

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One of Nora Roberts' best
Norah Roberts has written so many books it is difficult to decide which are the best - but this one must be in my top 10. It does not strictly follow Roberts' normal romantic suspense formula and the feminine lead is different because she is still trying to hide from had a terrible trauma when she was a teenager.

Abigail Lowery is hiding from her past when at age 16 she witnessed a Russian Mafia assassination and was then nearly killed in an attack on a police safe-house when she was under witness protection before the trial of the Mafia hit-man and the son of the Mafia boss. Twelve years later she is still on the run and lives an almost solitary life guarded by advanced security systems, a guard dog and an arsenal of firearms. The only person who can penetrate her isolation is Brooks Gleason, the local police chief who has recently returned home to his loving family.

The interaction between the scared, reclusive but very intelligent and clever young woman who didn't have a loving childhood and a skilled, personable and friendly police chief is well played. Unwittingly Abigail drops her guard as the attraction between the couple grows and she gets exposed for the first time in her life to a loving family.

Abigail's conundrum is that she will never be able to live a normal life until the Mafia threat has been faced and eliminated. As usual Norah Roberts builds on the relationship as she builds up the tension. The finale is cleverly schemed and orchestrated.

24 November 2012

M Leighton: The Wild Ones

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The sorbet melted quickly
I read this book as a sorbet between servings of pretty heavy thrillers. The first half was pretty well written, with very clear sexual chemistry between the key players and signs of trouble ahead when the chemistry turned into something serious. But when the troubles started to unravel my sorbet melted quickly as they were pretty ridiculous.

The Wild Ones was a misnomer, especially as the steamy parts were pretty tame. Naming the key male character Trick was pretty thoughtless when that word is normally related to the world of a hooker.  And the last words of the book were "THE HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER END" - oh dear!

Christopher Smith: Bullied #1

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A magic solution to bullying
This first novella of a series of 4 introduces us to Seth, who is nearly 18 years old living with drunken parents in a trailer park, with no self respect or confidence because he has been emotionally and physically bullied all of his school life. When he starts his last year at school an old man at the park gives him an amulet necklace containing a piece of human bone and tells him that, used properly, the magic powers of amulet will help him to counter bullying and create a better life. The old man warns Seth to be careful as the powers of the amulet could cause harm to others as well as to himself.

Seth's first day of school is dramatic as he explores how to use the power of the amulet to counter both bullying students of both sexes and the disinterest of  his teachers. For the first time Seth finds some self confidence and as a result makes a couple of friends, Alex and Jennifer, who look set to support and follow him. The novella ends dramatically in a way that opens the way for vengeance down the track.

Most of us will have experienced some kind of emotional or physical bullying during our school days and will identify in some way to the extreme bullying and the bullies that Seth faces. With the power of the amulet as a great plot opener Christopher Smith introduces us to the roller coaster ride that converts a downtrodden youth into a powerful and vengeful person. While I am not a fantasy person the idea is an interesting one and I will go along with the ride, at least for the next novella. The latter 2 novellas appear to tend to the supernatural and I will pass judgement when I get there.

Christopher Smith: The Bullied Series Box Set

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Bullied part was almost OK but the fantasy was stupid
In my review of Book One I said that the concept of an magic amulet that would help someone to overcome bullying was a great plot opener to a roller coaster ride by Christopher Smith to convert a downtrodden youth into a powerful and vengeful person. I also said that the other novellas in the series appeared to tend to the supernatural and I would pass judgement when I got there.

I decided to read the next novella, "Revenge" in this boxed set, where Seth sets out to revenge the death of his parents in a fire lit deliberately by his school bullies (of both sexes). He takes the advice of Jim, who gave him the amulet, not to kill them but to make sure that they will be punished throughout life for what they did. One of the solutions was ingenious in starting one of them on a life of crime (and jail) from which he could never escape, but another was downright stupid where a girl was made to behave like a pig in the cafeteria and would eat so much that she would gain weight throughout her life to dangerous levels. My tolerance was starting to wear thin at that stage.

Then at the end of "Revenge" the stupidity really started when Seth is attacked by 2 paranormals seeking to steal the amulet, helped by a beautiful and even more dangerous Witch. To protect himself (even though he has only just started to understand the power of the amulet) Seth is able to turn himself into a flying Superman, with an impenetrable shield, and transform his hands into guns and knives that eventually kill the attackers and drives away the Witch. Oh dear, what rubbish.

I did read the start of the next novella but the paranormal tripe got worse. This was too much for me and I couldn't stomach any more stupidity and didn't read any further. It's a long time since I have failed to finish a book.

22 November 2012

Michael Connelly: The Black Box

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Bloodhound Bosch is still the best
After so many Harry Bosch stories you would think they should start to run out of steam - IMHO this is not so. Michael Connelly is a consummate author who can keep a great character running and evolving and continue to produce a top-class page-turning police procedural.

In the last book, after a short retirement Harry Bosch returned to the LAPD with  a 5 year contract under the Deferred Retirement Option Plan - "The DROP".  He now works with the Open Unsolved Unit chasing up cold cases. In 1999, at the height of the LA Riots, Bosch briefly gets involved with the discovery of the gunshot death of  a pretty female free-lance Danish press photographer who was apparently killed as part of the riot.  This case had always troubled Bosch and he gladly accepts the challenge although after all that time the trail has gone cold.

Bosch is an impatient detective - to him momentum is everything. Once he is on the trail he is a bloodhound who never lets up until he finds a break. He calls this "The Black Box" because, similar to air crash investigation a single verified clue may open up the whole case. After diligent and clever police work Bosch finds his Black Box and discovers a web of intrigue and violence going back to the first Gulf War.

Working the case in his normal independent manner is not helped by his a strained relationship with and lack of respect for the competence of his superiors at LAPD, especially his current Lieutenant (O'Toole - nickname "O'Fool").  "You are the worst kind of police officer, Bosch. You are arrogant, a bully, and you think the laws and regulations don't apply to you." O'Toole refers Bosch to Internal Affairs on what seems to be a petty matter, but it is important because it affects the way Bosch can run the investigation and if the complaint is upheld he could easily lose his job because he is on a DROP contract.

Connelly keeps up the pressure and spins an exciting tale of skilled police investigation by a dedicated, independent but somewhat personally flawed Harry Bosch. I recommend this book as a great read for lovers of police procedurals.

21 November 2012

Russell Blake: Fatal Exchange

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A turbo-charged thriller
Fatal Exchange is yet another great page-turning, turbo-charged thriller by Russell Blake.

Here are some of the diverse plot components dreamed up by Blake:
* A beautiful female NYC bicycle courier.
* A serial killer/body mutilator who has struck at several female bicycle couriers.
* A huge gang-related dreadlocked black man working as a bicycle courier.
* A NYC watch dealer who sells rare antique watches to a Korean diplomat for $1 million in USD cash.
* Large scale counterfeiting of USD $100 notes by a rogue Asian country.
* A greedy and unscrupulous hedge-fund operator helping that country to make billions.
* A group of Asian assassins at large in NYC.

How do they get connected?  They are put into the Russell Blake thriller-generator and chapter by chapter the plot evolves and connects.

Blake once again shows his skills in writing a satisfying thriller. Some parts are a bit gruesome but that's what you expect in this kind of thriller.

19 November 2012

Vince Flynn: The Last Man

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The Real Rapp Returns
After the prequel "American Assassin" it was great to see the return of the more mature and experienced Mitch Rapp we have followed in so many books, especially the Rapp who can face up to enemies of all kinds, both in the field and the bureaucracy.

Vince Flynn has written a clever book set in the current international environment, from DC to Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is very realistic without making you think about the current players in the field. This time Irene Kennedy, Flynn's head of the CIA features heavily as the experienced, influential and almost unflappable professional head of the CIA. I hardly had a thought about the recent real incumbent who didn't understand that his private life affected his public responsibilities.

I loved the parts where Rapp doesn't tolerate fools, especially when things are going wrong. "... the answer to your question...I think you are an imbecile. There could be some underlying physchological issues as well....beyond that I'm pretty sure you're stupid." "Let me explain how this works. We're the folks you call in when the shit hits the fan."

I really loved the character of a 4 foot 11 inch female behemoth - USAF "Command Master Sargent" Sanchez - who ran the intensive care ward of a military hospital in Afghanistan where Rapp was recovering from one of his usual close encounters with violence. Sanchez was able, single-handedly and without any weapons, to protect Rapp from an invasion of a troop of FBI agents. With such a CV I hope she has a future on Irene's administrative staff....Rapp and Sanchez would make a mean combination!

The plot is fast moving and mostly believable and this time some goodies become baddies and baddies become goodies. Flynn also leaves us with a couple of violent characters that I am sure will re-emerge in later books. I scored the book at 4.5 stars because of a few inconsistencies in the plot.

17 November 2012

Jo Robertson

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Disappointing after her recent novellas
I really enjoyed and recommend Jo Robertson's novellas, "The Perfect Gift" and "The Hitman's Holiday".  This book started as a good late 19th century detective/murder mystery and showed the same character skills I liked from the novellas. IMHO it went downhill when the detective stuff got sidetracked and became mixed up with a steamy relationship between the town marshal (great name Tucker), and Meaghan, a very independent female for the time, who carries out her own  investigations into the murder.

14 November 2012

Herman Wouk: The Lawgiver

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An amazing and satisfying book
Herman Wouk (HW throughout the book) has written a clever, and amusing story with a strong Jewish American background.  I have long been an admirer of his major "factional" works about WWII, the creation of Israel, the 6 Day War and the Yom Kippur War. I read this book on its release because I wanted to see what HW could offer at the age of 97 when so many other authors have reached their "sell by date" many years earlier.

I was surprised by a short and satisfying novel that reeks of modernity in its epistolary format using only letters, tape recordings, e-mails, text messages, fax and even Skype between the main characters (including HW and his wife) to tell the story.  The prose adapts to each method of correspondence and is as sharp, and probably more learned and philosophical than his more action-packed stories from earlier days.

This may not be a book for everyone as it is essentially Jewish, and especially American Jewish which, as a Protestant Australian, is far outside my cultural and religious comfort zone.  But the writing and the passion for the subject, and especially for the characters kept me mesmerised and fully entertained.

Basically, the initial plot is that HW (in the book) has long dreamed of writing a novel about the life of Moses, the prophet who is at the foundation of all three of the world's the major monotheistic religions and "the most humble man in the world". The project had only got to the stage of a yellowed, almost empty folder at the bottom of a drawer when HW is approached by a leading Jewish filmmaker to write a screenplay about the life of Moses, to be financed by a Jewish billionaire from Australia. HW compromises by agreeing to vet the work of Margo Solevi, a successful young Jewish filmmaker with a great knowledge and understanding of the story of Moses drilled into her by her estranged Rabbi father.

The life of Moses is really peripheral to the main plot which revolves around the sometimes very amusing machinations of the Jewish dominated US film industry and more importantly the lives of several younger Jewish Americans who are struggling to come to terms with the legacies of being brought up in strict Jewish household. To me it is essentially a clever personal and professional romantic coming-of-age story with a Jewish background.

I could be picky at some of the Australian background which HW's editor's should have improved (for example Fair Dinkum means real or genuine, not OK) but that would be uncharitable to HW's work. It was great to me to see HW use the legendary background of Uluru (Ayers Rock) for a romantic interlude and to cast a humble and honest Australian bloke (or "mensch" - a good man) as Moses in the movie.

The ending was especially emotional as HW's wife, and mentor of 63 years didn't see the end of this book.  A few years ago HW said to his wife that he had 3 more books to write. "Is one of them fiction?" "Yes" "Then write that one." "Why?"  "Because we're living it up (her brand of Zen)". The last page of the book has a small photo of Betty when HW met her - what a beautiful woman.

A recent New York Times interview with HW tells that this lovely picture is framed on his desk. He told the NYT that his next book is already well under way. "I have written a large section, of which I will tell you nothing," he said, smiling.

11 November 2012

Russell Blake: Geronimo Beach

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Reluctant Hero - "Al the Slob"
This was one of the most original and amusing thrillers I have read for some time. Russell Blake has skilfully crafted an almost believable conspiracy theory CIA thriller around a reluctant hero (or more truthfully anti-hero) Albert Ross.

Meet the reluctant hero - "Albert Ross, proud member of the U.S. Diplomatic Corps in shit-swamp Panama, Central America at your service".  In reality Al is a real slob whose daily routine includes large doses of alcohol and nicotine, and American fast-food to keep building his obesity.  To provide the cash to support his demanding lifestyle, via his contact with the Madame of the local bordello, Al uses of his diplomatic status to help people leave Panama illegally.

Al's boss, Sam (who is marginally brighter than Al) is impressed that Al was decorated for bravery during service in Kuwait. Actually Al was the only survivor of a gone-bad cocaine purchase meet between his Army buddies and a group of heavily armed locals. The Army thought that brave Marines had been ambushed by terrorists and Al, as the sole (but wounded) survivor was decorated for his bravery - Al preferred to keep the army version of the event.

The action really starts when Al agrees to escort a recently unemployed chef, Alfonso, to cross the border illegally into Colombia.  Both of them are not aware that Alfonso is being sought by powerful forces to recover some property he took from his former employer.

What happens then is an action-packed and frequently very amusing tale of Al's travels from Panama to Colombia. From time to time I laughed out loud at Al's predicaments and reactions. Blake carefully developed Al's character so that at the end I nearly liked him.

Russell Blake is a talented author to be able to write this kind of character based thriller as well his current more action-based thrillers (the Jet and Assassin series).

Stephen Coonts: The Minataur

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Jake Grafton recovers to fight another day
Stephen Coonts is one my favourite author list and when I got my first Kindle I  quickly found that this was the only book in the Jake Grafton series that I had missed.

This is a direct follow-up from the end of "Final Flight" where fighter pilot Captain Jake Grafton deliberately rammed another plane to prevent nuclear Armageddon.  After many months Grafton has recovered from his terrible wounds but is still facing up to his mental wounds. His wife Callie despairs that she will ever see the old confident Jake back again.

One day Jake is invited by the Pentagon to take an office job - something of an anathema when he really wants to go back into action. But he soon finds that his new super-top secret job of evaluating advanced stealth fighters and combating espionage is as challenging as being in action.

Grafton's navigator, Toad Tarrington, was not as seriously injured (only one rod in his leg) and is fit for active service. When he hears that Grafton is headed for the Pentagon he decides to follow him and join Grafton's team. There he meets his match with Rita Moravia, a top-gun female pilot who quickly decides that Toad will become the love of her life, and Toad quickly agrees. Toad and Rita feature in several later Jack Grafton books.

A lot of this book focuses on aeroplanes and flying and is very militarily detailed so it may not be everyone's cup of tea. But it does provide an interesting bridge between Grafton the pilot and Grafton the Admiral and intelligence operative in later books.

Stephen Coonts: The Intruders

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Jake Grafton - a post Vietnam prequel
With lots of aerial action and detail this is a great vintage Stephen Coonts about life on an aircraft carrier. "The Intruders" is set in 1973, shortly after the end of the Vietnam War and tells the story of Jake Grafton's experience after the stresses of Vietnam. Actually this is a bit of a 'prequel' because it was written out of sequence (it should have been book 2 after "Flight of the Intruder" but was written as book 5 after "The Red Horseman").

The main story is about Jake Grafton adjusting to a degree of normality after the stresses of Vietnam and his life as a carrier pilot. We also revisit Grafton's budding relationship with and love for Callie McKenzie that carries through strongly in later books. The book contains some memorable words about his first contact with his future father-in-law:

"You....drop...bombs?" His face was blank, incredulous. "And shoot missiles." Jake said firmly...."Doesn't it bother you? Dropping bombs?" "Only when the bad guys are trying to kill me."

A lot of the book is taken up with Coonts detailed description of shipboard life for a carrier pilot, how naval aviation worked at that time (things have changed a bit since then) and the action and excitement of flying in a dangerous environment.

If you like that kind of thing then you will love this book. Otherwise wait till later books when Grafton matures and gets promoted into an environment of world shattering responsibilities.

09 November 2012

Robert Kennedy:

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Romance remembered from a divided Berlin
Robert Kennedy has written one of his most powerful and challenging contemporary romance novels, set mostly in the days of a divided Berlin. Thomas Nesbitt, an  American writer is facing the loneliness of a failed marriage that was always probably doomed to failure because of Nesbitt's memories of what might have been. His memories are revived when he receives a box in the mail from Berlin, with a return address marked Dussman, the name of a woman with whom he had shared a most passionate and damaging relationship many years ago.

The book revisits Berlin in the days of the Berlin Wall and describes the relationship between a young American writer and a beautiful woman refugee from the evils of the East German Stasi. Kennedy's description of the relationship is top notch,  and you get to know (or think you know) the main characters living in a world of deception, betrayal, and survival that we quickly forget after the end of the Cold War. His background of both sides of the Berlin Wall at that time is both evocative and chilling.

Kennedy's supporting characters are also superbly crafted, especially Alistair a larger than life talented artist who balances life as a homosexual and drug addict with intense artistic creativity laced with suicidal tendencies. When Nesbitt arrives in Berlin he saves Alistair's life and shares Alistair's apartment, putting up with his new friend's wild and different lifestyle. Amazingly, despite their differences they become a most unusual pair of supportive friends.

This is a challenging but rewarding book which you will remember for a long time.

Monique Martin: Out of Time

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Great time travel - stupid vampire stuff
I am a great fan of "Back to the Future" and this book is a bit along those lines with accidental time travel linked to an ancient watch. But the full-moon link to the time vortex was more than far fetched.

Professor Simon Cross and his assistant Elizabeth spend their academic lives searching for evidence of vampires. When they are accidentally transported to Manhattan in the 1920's they are thrown together in an interesting adventure that unlocks an emotional and physical attachment that was repressed in modern times. I really enjoyed how Monica Martin described how the couple coped with finding themselves in another time, without money, wearing the wrong clothes and not understanding the culture of the time.

What really put me off this book was when an unsavoury character who sets his sights on Elizabith incidentally turns out to be a vampire and proved what they had been searching for so long. Oh dear how unbelievable and stupid.

07 November 2012

Jo Robertson: The Hitman's Holiday

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A very novel Novella
Jo Robertson has written an entertaining and clever Novella with a very novel plot - what does a contract hitman do at Christmas during his off season.

He starts by being bored with no action and gets into the Christmas spirit by purchasing a Christmas tree and starting to decorate it with items for the twelve days of Christmas. When he gets to the "5 gold rings" he is offered a contract that is different from any he has had before.

You need to read the book to find out how the strange contract evolves. Surprisingly, like some other reviewers, I started to like the cold-hearted killer when he was faced with  some difficult human choices.

05 November 2012

Russell Blake: JET II - Betrayal

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Jet flies higher and higher
Sit back and enjoy another unforgettable episode of over-the-top escapist romps featuring Jet, an unstoppable female cold-hearted killing machine. There have been a few fictional kick-ass female "heroes" before (notably Lizbeth Salander [Steg Larssen] and Vanessa Michael Munroe [Taylor Stevens]) but no-one as apparently cold-hearted, skilled and successful as Jet.

This time Jet adds Parkour (a combination of gymnastics and martial arts) to her  skill-set. With Parkour, Jet almost become a Spiderwoman, defying gravity and the laws of physics by climbing up unscaleable buildings and jumping from building to building in death defying acts of athletic skill.

Facing up to another challenge with the help of Parkour is easy for Jet: "Six men. Four buildings. One Jet. She liked the odds."

Despite being cold-hearted in action, at the beginning of the book Jet shows that she has normal emotions when she is allowed to live an everyday life, especially with her her 2 and a half year old daughter, Hannah. She also shows an ability to bond with her loved ones and forge relationships and friendships.

But for the first time Jet meets a situation that even she can't control - when Hannah goes berserk in the shops when she can't get her own way.

Once again Jet has to leave her daughter behind to cope with to some Russian nasties left over from Jet #1 and a potential terrorist threat that could spread panic and illness across the world. The express-paced action moves from Uruguay, to Argentina, to Russia, to Yemen and the US as Jet and an unexpected companion battle evil in all its forms. Some of the similarities in the Yemen episode to those in Nelson DeMille's recently released "The Panther" are uncanny.

In previous reviews I thought that the character of Jet was too over-blown, and not realistic enough. I now understand where Russell Blake is coming from in unapologetically and deliberately going overboard to create a series that would catch the imagination of his reader audience.  While I am still not a total convert, I was once again riding on his roller coaster with this book.

Blake's Jet production line in releasing 3 books in the Jet series in apparently less than 3 months and foreshadowing another 1 or 2 still to come is impressive.  With so much to think about I wonder how he sleeps at night and how he dreams up the twists and turns for such a complex series.

03 November 2012

Jo Roberston: The Perfect Gift

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A charming Novella about family challenges
This was a charming short novella about the true meaning and importance of family, especially after tragedy. I needed to read something light but meaningful as a sorbet between my normal taste for heavy thrillers - and this hit the spot.

I think this quotation sums up what this book was all about - "Families are strange configurations.....They're like socks. They come in all different sizes and colors they hardly ever match up like you want them to."

You should read this book to find out how this family faced up to its future.
This was a charming short novella about the true meaning and importance of family, especially after tragedy. I needed to read something light but meaningful as a sorbet between my normal taste for heavy thrillers - and this hit the spot.

I think this quotation sums up what this book was all about - "Families are strange configurations.....They're like socks. They come in all different sizes and colors they hardly ever match up like you want them to."

You should read this book to find out how this family faced up to its future.

01 November 2012

Tony Park: Dark Heart

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Rwanda Genocide Re-visited
It takes a very talented, confident and knowledgeable author to base an adventure/thriller story on the aftermath of the appalling 1994 Rwanda genocide.  Only Australian author Tony Park can do this successfully using his knowledge, love and understanding of Africa and his great storytelling skills for the unusual things that can happen on that Continent.

The Rwandan genocide happened in 1994 when the minority Tutsi tribe brutally massacred literally hundreds of thousand of the majority Hutu tribe, who then took similarly brutal retribution on the Tutsi. While Dark Heart briefly focuses on the brutality of  the time of retribution, it closely explores the lasting effect of the genocide on 3 members of the UN Peacekeeping force that was under orders not to intervene to curb the violence unless provoked.

Richard was a UK doctor attached to the Australian UN contingent who was involved in trying to save the lives of the multitude of injured.  Liesl, a South African magazine photographer saw it all through the lense of her camera and captured a photo that would haunt all of their lives many years later.  Away from the action, Carmel, an Australian Army legal officer had to cope with the stress of making sure that the UN rules of non intervention were followed. The emotional relationships between them was changed unalterably by what happened at that time.

Their memories of their experience in Rwanda had a permanent post traumatic effect on all of their future lives, including inabilities to form long term relationships, and alcohol and drug abuse to cover their memories. Frighteningly the past becomes the present again for all them when their lives are threatened when they become witnesses to the final legal investigations into the main perpetrators of the genocide.

This is work of fiction based on real life and Tony Park weaves a tangled web of action and intrigue moving from Thailand to Australia, South Africa, Zambia and finally Rwanda. Park's love and knowledge of Africa. its peoples and wildlife shines throughout the book.

I found it hard to give an appropriate ranking for this book. As always the African context was superb but  the storytelling was not as taut and realistic as his other books and at times I had difficulty following the lives of the major players and some of the action was a bit unbelievable. I ended up just giving it a 4 star rating because, despite some shortcomings, it was a story that few authors could even start to tell.

I am a great fan of Tony Park's books (even keeping print copies of some in my post Kindle bookshelf).  I must praise Pan Macmillan Australia for supporting Park (and other superb Australian novelists like Peter Watt) and hope that they can promote his work more widely internationally, especially in the US where the more historical African adventures of Wilbur Smith have long been best sellers.