Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Rainbow Man by P B Kane (a review)

Daniel Routh lives in a small fishing community on the island of Shorepoint with his mother and his little brother Mikey. After a storm he, his brother and two friends, Jill and Greg follow a rainbow and find a body on the beach. This strange, unknown man, when he recovers, becomes a part of community life, everyone seems to love him but Dan is not convinced. Alas he seems to be the only one though.

This is P B Kane's first foray into YA fiction (he is better known as Paul Kane) and a very fine effort it is too. Not as much of an all out horror story, more of a creeping fear. It makes you feel as though you are watching events, you want to yell at the characters to wise up to what is happening.

I must say I really enjoyed this and by the end I was so wrapped up in the story that when the 'reveal' of who the man on the beach really is I never saw it coming even though I should have guessed.

Hopefully Mr Kane will write more in this genre as well as his usual adult horror tales.

(and if you have a young adult reader treat them to a copy of this..........and read it yourself when you can pry it out of their hands )

Monday, 6 January 2014

Invent-10n by Rod Rees - a review

The year is 2030 and there are cameras everywhere. It is a bleak Britain with everyone (well, almost everyone ) being observed and controlled by the Government. There is very little oil, gas, heating, lighting etc - all in all, a pretty miserable place.

The Government is wanting to send all the "Gees" (Russian refugees) back to where they came from but things change when Ivan Nitko ( one of the 'gees') is found to have a new power source (the invent-10n of the title). Sebastian Davenport, a low level Government worker is sent to Scarborough to meet Nitko and try and get the details of Invent-10n but they haven't counted on Nitko's new PR person, Jennifer Moreau, who is as anti-government as there is.

The story is told from the point of view of both Sebastian and Jennifer (but as her alter-ego Jenni Fur). Their parts of the book are written in the style of blog posts or diary entries and along with these there are also newsletters, magazine/newspaper type articles that help to explain what is happening in the world. These sections also give clarity to the terms used to describe the people and places of 2030 Britain.

The two main characters are very different but also similar in ways. Sebastian works for the Government while Jenni Fur hates them and everything they stand for but maybe Views will change along the way (you don't really think I'm going to tell you do you?).

For me the strongpoint of this book is Rod Rees' gift for characterisation. While Sebastian comes across as a bit meek and mild Jenni Fur is totally in your face.  She talks in a hep style of years ago and throws in other bits of slang and at first I thought this could be a bit of a bind but it is so well written that it feels natural and within a few pages you barely notice that it's slang.

For me Jenni Fur is one of the best female leads out there today.

One other thing to think about while you are reading this book - there are cameras everywhere, watching your every move. You are constantly being told what you can or can't say and do......maybe Rod Rees' vision of 2030 isn't all that far away.

A cracking and well presented book - 5 stars

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams (a review)

Bobby Dollar is an Angel Advocate, whose job on earth is to plead the case for the souls of the recently departed. At point of death each person is judged, with an advocate (from Heaven) and a prosecutor (from Hell) trying to "win" the soul - good people go to Heaven, bad people to Hell and those in the grey area spend a time in Purgatory before moving on.

Things start to go wrong for Bobby when he turns up to plead for a soul and the soul in question has disappeared - and this is only the first! Added to this, a short while after, the Prosecutor,  Grasswax is found murdered (most gruesomly ) at the scene of the missing soul and Bobby starts to look around and solve the mystery. There is also the small problem of a missing item, belonging to one of Hell's big hitters, which everyone seems to think Bobby has (apart from Bobby) and everyone wants to get there hands on.

The world of Bobby Dollar (aka The Angel Doloriel) is not what you might be expecting in a tale of the eternal battle between Heaven and Hell. It is a gritty, Chandleresque version of our world. Our hero himself also, is not what you would expect from a member of the Heavenly Host, a very rough round the edges guy with a habit of getting into trouble. The story starts at a run and picks up more speed as it goes along with hardly a chance to draw breath. Unsure who to trust, constantly on the run, pursued by demons and monsters, and falling for The Countess of The Cold Hands (yeah, that's right an Angel in love with a member of "the other side") - life with Bobby is far, far from dull, with a full supporting cast of the weird and wonderful.

This is possibly Tad Williams' best work since Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, which will appeal to fans of The Dresden Files and Mike Carey's Felix Castor books. I'm certainly looking forward to more in this series.