Friday 26 April 2013

Full Circle by Terry Tyler (a review)

This book is a follow on to last year's Dream On, so the first point I have to make is that you really ought to read Dream On first. The majority of the characters from Dream On reappear at some time during this story and 'knowing them' before hand really improves the read (trust me, I've been waiting for this with an itchy kindle since I heard it was coming out and I wasn't disappointed - far from it in fact.

The story takes place three to four years after the events of Dream On. At the start Dave is living with his partner Isabel and their baby, Ariel is back from a failed attempt to crack the American music scene, Shane is 'up north' with his partner and their baby and Janice is settling into married life. The rock band Thor are still going, although without Shane who is now in a Bon Jovi tribute band.

The core of the story, as before, revolves mainly around the will they/won't they of Dave and Aerial. They are obviously meant to be together but there always seems to be something in the way - and I'm not saying either way.

A lot of the magic and fun with this tale though comes from the other characters, the 'extras' if you like. Mel is little changed from before, still aiming for the life of celebrity and Hello magazine, Shane likewise is still the same as he always was, and even though he is devoted to his baby daughter he still can't resist the temptations of the flesh.

This may all come across as a bit chick-lit but trust me, this is a story for male and female readers both. I found, as soon as I started reading that it was like meeting up with old friends, the kind you really enjoy spending time with and miss when they are not there.

The author, Terry Tyler, seems to be getting  stronger and more confident  with each book she writes and I am looking forward to more from her in the future. The book is neither heavy going or lightweight fluff, just a well told tale of friends, lovers, family and ROCK!!!

Very much recommended

Monday 15 April 2013

Grimm and Grimmer (various authors) - A Review

This collection from Fringeworks is the re-telling of several fairy tales, some in the original (ish) setting, some more up to date.

Did you love the tales of the Brothers Grimm as a youngster - then you'll love these tales. There is Rapunzel in here, Hansel and Gretel are here, as are the wolf and the three little pigs (and boy, is that a cracker). There is also a fun take on The Princess and The Pea and a modern day The 3 Goldilocks and The Bear.

There is not a bad story here - some are stronger, admittedly, but all are worth the entrance fee on there own. So step inside this collection and go back to the stories of your youth - told for the grown up kids we've become

There are more of these collections to come, and I will be the first in the queue for them.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Whitstable by Stephen Volk (a review)

It is 1971. A man, sad, broken and devastated by the loss of his wife walks along the beach at Whitstable in Kent. He is approached by a 10 year old boy who wants his help.

The man is Peter Cushing but the boy recognises him as Van Helsing, the vampire hunter he has played on the silver screen. He needs 'Van Helsing' to save him from his mother's  boyfriend who he believes is a vampire that comes to him in the night......

This novella has several things in its' favour, the first, and strongest (for me) is the sense of loss in the character of Peter Cushing. It is only a month or so after the death of his wife and it is really hitting him hard. He doesn't want to have to face people, he doesn't want to interact with the world. The depth of feeling with this character is so strong that you may just want to reach into the pages of the book to console him.

The second is the horror of the boys' story and his skin crawling nastiness of the mothers' boyfriend. Cushing may have vanquished all kinds of monsters at the movies but will he be able to stand against the monster in the real world.

The final meeting between the two takes place in a cinema where one of Cushing's movies is playing while they face off and this is very cleverly done. It gives a very real sense of reality to the event, flicking from Cushing the Big Screen Hero, to Cushing The Man, back and forth and on and on. Trust me, tense doesn't even come close.

This is a wonderfully written and absorbing novella that, in my opinion, deserves to be a massive success.

This novella is a work of fiction written to mark the centenary of the birth of Peter Cushing and as such is a worthy tribute to a great actor.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

The Visitor by Catriona King (a review)

This is the third novel by Catriona King to feature D C I Marc Craig and his team from Belfast CCU.

The story this time concerns the death of a young woman on a maternity ward and the hunt for her killer. The team suspect she may be the latest victim of a serial killer. To make things just that little bit harder for all involved, the victim's father is one of the Belfast "old boys" with a history dating back to the troubles and his own idea of justice.

The story rattles along at a good old pace, building up to a tense ending (the best of the series in this reviewer's opinion!) and will keep you guessing right up to the very end as to who the killer is.

As with the other books in this series (A Limited Justice and The Grass Tattoo) the members of the team at CCU are a good part of what makes this story flow so well. Their are issues outside the investigation that make the characters feel real, make you really want to invest in their story lines but that don't push the investigative element of the story into the background.

Book 4 should be with us later this year and when it arrives I, for one one, will drop whatever else I am reading to spend more time with D C I Craig and the team.