Thursday 19 December 2013

King's Artesan by Cas Peace - A review

This, book 3 in the first of the 3 trilogies, picks up from exactly where the second ended. Major Sullyan (Sully)has won her battle but is suffering severe injuries as a consequence. With help she manages to remove the majority of the poison on her body but there is still a small portion within her she can't reach and if it is left there it will kill her.

The answer turns out to be that to cure her completely she needs the staff, the 'maguffin' from the first book, which is still in Taran's cellar back in their home realm but Sully, due to the poison in her system is unable to cross between realms so it is up to her friends to retrieve the staff before the enemy get to it.

This is a very good end to a quite remarkable story and the author has done a very good job of tying up the loose ends here while setting things in motion for the next series in the trilogy. The whole world (or series of world's if you want to think of it like that)is well realized and the lead characters are the kind of people you want to spend time with. Add to that a quite clever magic system and you're onto a winner.

As a lead character Sully is probably one of the best there is at this moment in time. She is a leader who cares for, and about, those under her command and her friends but is prepared to do what
 is needed to get the job done.

So, the next up will be a new trilogy and hopefully it won't be too far away as I can't wait to travel in Cas Peace's realms again.

A phenomenal effort - 5 out of 5 stars

The Broken Shore by Catriona King - a review

The fifth book to feature Superintendent Marc Craig and his squad is more of what I expected - an intriguing murder to keep you guessing (even when you think you have the answer you'll find you are doubting yourself), a good feel for Belfast and the surrounding area, and the company of characters that feel like old friends.

The Crime this time involves the murder of a young woman where method and location have startling similarities to a murder 30 years ago, at the height of The Troubles. There is also a side Story that is a lot closer to home for one of the characters.

There is reference to events from earlier in the series and appearances from at least one character from a previous story so it would be of benefit (although not essential) to read the other books first.

As with the previous books in the series the storytelling is top notch, making you want more when the book is over. There is insight into the lives of the squad members, sometimes little things, sometimes momentous, but even the little things feel like they matter.

I am looking forward to the next book and seeing where things go for Marc Craig and his team. One thing is certain - Catriona King is a writer who deserves to be up there with the best of the crime writers -I see a bright future ahead for her

Friday 13 December 2013

Nine Lives by Terry Tyler - a review

I must say that until recently I haven't been a massive fan of short stories but here is another collection that has helped to change my mind.
I have been a fan of Terry Tyler's long fiction so trying the "short stuff" didn't take too much thinking about.
What we have here are nine excellent slices of human life, each slightly different but all well told. The author, as she usually does, gets you right under the skin of her characters. The stories, as you would expect, are not over long but that doesn't lessen the enjoyment factor.
A good solid collection suited to both male and female readers. Hopefully there will be more like this in the future.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Painter of the Heavens by Bart Stewart (a review)

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a true and fair review.

This is a story of two parts, the first being the meeting, relationship etc of the two main characters, Penny and Lyle, the second part being the aftermath of their actions. When they meet it seems in his bookshop. She falls for him straight away and they have several discreet dates but he tells her he is on the verge of "something big" so she must keep their relationship secret and tell no-one.

After several dates he lets her in on his secret - he, along with an acquaintance, has forged a letter from William Shakespeare and now he knows he can trust her he needs her help to sell it at auction, after which they will spend the future together living a much better life from the profits.

As you would expect from this kind of story things go wrong just as they are about to make good their escape to pastures new and the story turns into a hell for leather chase and that is where the story real picks up pace. The first 3/4's of the book felt like it could have been a strand for a season of Desperate Housewives and went at a much steadier pace.

The main problem for me was the lead characters - I just didn't connect with them overly. Lyle, as he needed to be, was a somewhat shady guy but Penny was just a little too wet. The way he treat her at times I would have expected her to leave him but she just kept going back to him.

The final resolution of events worked out well though. That seemed more like the Penny I would have expected her to be.

All in all, an enjoyable enough book that would make good holiday reading (and as for the Desperate Housewives comment - that was meant as a compliment, I was actually  a fan of the show)