The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz – My Thoughts

‘You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late… ’

These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce, found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000, to be precise.

The Sentence is Death

Odd, considering he didn’t drink. Why this bottle? And why those words? And why was a three-digit number painted on the wall by the killer? And, most importantly, which of the man’s many, many enemies did the deed?

Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony, who’s really getting rather good at this murder investigation business.

But as Hawthorne takes on the case with characteristic relish, it becomes clear that he, too, has secrets to hide. As our reluctant narrator becomes ever more embroiled in the case, he realises that these secrets must be exposed – even at the risk of death…

A thoroughly entertaining read from an author clearly at the top of his game. The way the author is himself very much part of the story is incredibly entertaining and original. You never quite know at what point he’s drawing from real life experience or making it all up! I was completely fascinated from start to finish and the length of the book was just about perfect. Not too short and not too long, Horowitz has really hit the ball out of the park with this one.

As with most of his books, The Sentence is Death is heavily character driven and as the story progresses Horowitz somehow manages to juggle writing the second book in the Hawthorne trilogy, keep up to date with re writes for Foyle and somehow solve the murder!

At times witty, the writing is intelligent and well crafted. I really enjoyed the red herrings and the Sherlockian deduction that Hawthorne utilises at the end to solve the crime. Very clever and so much fun. The Sentence is Death is well worth a read.

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Century (1 Nov. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178089709X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780897097

noblechairs – The Hero or The Epic? Decisions, decisions!

Noble Chairs – HERO

So much changes in one week, just take a look at the US Midterms – Democrats have fought back against Trump’s Republicans and have seized control of the House and although the Senate will remain in Republican power, there are recounts planned for Florida! Trump’s control – what there was and is – has diminished. Absolutely nothing to do with this post but I just wanted to highlight how quickly things can change – from one day to the next – we have no clue on what will happen.

A week is a long time in politics! Harold Wilson 1960’s

Noble Chairs HERO – hint of Red!

Last week I posted an article where I was unsure if I would pick noblechairs or Secret Labs, these chairs aren’t cheap! I followed that first post with one mainly about Secret Labs chairs a few days ago – Omega and Titan – and the new softweave chairs they now offer. After a weekend of more research, reading forums and watching youtube videos I am now considering Noble Chairs again – only two models this time which makes things a little easier – The Hero (or Epic). I guess you could say I’m Holding Out for a Hero! Bonnie Tyler would be so proud!

Noble Chairs HERO – Gold

One of the things I like about the Hero from noblechairs (can be purchased from Overclockers in the UK) is that it is so understated. For a “professional” person like me it’s not about the glitz and glamour of a sporty neon or RGB chair, I’m far too old for that. Understated definitely rules! The branding is subtle; it’s not in your face – something I really appreciate. The all black version looks incredible as does the stitching on the Gold and Red chairs!

Reading online, the foam included with the Hero chair is harder than the Secret Labs chairs and because of this it promotes better posture, supporting the body over a slightly softer foam. By all accounts the foam remains firm for a number of months but does soften slightly after the bedding in period. This is something I think I’d appreciate over a softer chair.

Noble Chairs HERO – Gold

As I alluded to in my earlier posts that’s one of the things I found with my current chair. The foam included was so soft when I bought the chair there was only one way it was going to go, so much so that I feel as if I’m now sitting on the frame two years down the line. I don’t want to make that mistake again! I’ll never buy another Eames chair.

I discovered today that Noble Chairs has another couple of things in its favour. Firstly, the weight capacity is a sensational 180KG’s – that’s right 180KG’s! That should cover most users and frankly beats secret Labs out of the water! Secondly, if you do happen to be on the shorter side, or vertically challenged like yours truly then noblechairs will supply a shorter gas lift at no extra charge – if you order directly from their sales team.

Footrest

For those of you who really like the look of the bigger Hero chair but concerned about the height of the base to seat then this may well solve your problems. It won’t make you 6 foot but it may well make the difference between getting the chair or not.

Finally, they also supply a footrest, ideal for under a desk if your feet need that extra support or relaxing watching a video.  More to come when i look at the Epic model but for now I’m signing off to do more research!

 

Harman Kardon & Softweaves!

As many of you will have noticed in my earlier piece about changing my office set up at home, and even though I’ve made no decisions on the chair, I’m dedicating the next few days on upgrading my desk

Harman Kardon Wireless Soundsticks III

speakers. I currently have a pair of Bose Companion speakers and although they are great speakers I do feel like a change! The front runner at the moment is the Bluetooth & wireless offering from Harman Kardon – the Soundsticks III. I’ll be doing a piece on the audio in the next day or so with my options but for now it’s back to the chair.

Secret Labs Secret Labs have kindly sent me a number of stock images of their new Softweave chair and I thought I’d share them with you guys, the chair looks incredible and very sexy! Making the decision even harder!!

The Titan Softweave from Secret Labs.

These chairs do offer a totally different feel to the PU leather offering we are so used to seeing. To be frank it’s almost impossible to say one type is better looking than the other. The styles are the same, it’s just the finish of the chair and that of course comes down to personal choice.

Made from 350gsm short-yarn and finished with a grinding process that Secretlab says gives it a softer and fluffier texture and quite possibly an advantage during the summer months, as the fabric should be more breathable than PU leather.

Throne Softweave Front

If you’re looking for a little colour then this chair certainly fits the bill!

The Soft Pink Throne from Secret Labs

The Throne was the first chair Secret Labs produced and has now received a 2018 makeover. It’s still their entry model and is built for the shorter person at 145-165cm – don’t eat too many cakes either this has a recommended weight of 60kg (max 100kg)

Just how I’d imagined working at the desk – reclining on the Omega! So for now these new images still leave me in a quandary! They all look stylish and would fit most scenarios – whether you’re a serious gamer or someone spending hours at the desk writing your next novel – or even recovering from a sporting injury! That said, these are champagne problems as Meghan Trainor once sang – it’s a good dilema to have!

One thing is certain, these chairs are stylish, they pop and in a market full of saturated gaming chairs, mostly doning the PU leather – they stand out!

Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci (Atlee FBI #1)

David Baldacci

New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci introduces a remarkable new character: Atlee Pine, an FBI special agent assigned to the remote wilds of the western United States. Ever since her twin sister was abducted by a notorious serial killer at age five, Atlee has spent her life hunting down those who hurt others. And she’s the best at it. She could be one of the Bureau’s top criminal profilers, if she didn’t prefer catching criminals in the vast wilderness of the West to climbing the career ladder in the D.C. office. Her chosen mission is a lonesome one–but that suits her just fine.

Now, Atlee is called in to investigate the mutilated carcass of a mule found in the Grand Canyon–and hopefully, solve the disappearance of its rider. But this isn’t the only recent disappearance. In fact, it may be just the first clue, the key to unravelling a rash of other similar missing persons cases in the canyon. . .

It was about this time last year that I read David Baldacci’s book The Christmas Train, a real good feeling book about, you’ve guessed it, Christmas! It’s the same old story – travelling at Christmas in inclement weather, and an adventure with plenty of intrigue. I think I was twenty pages in when I suddenly thought this would make a charming film and guess what, they made one! I digress! Halfway through Long Road to Mercy there’s a thrilling scene set on a train travelling across America, it made me think of David’s previous book! Plenty of subject matter and imagination available there then!

Long Road to Mercy – David Baldacci

So this time around we are introduced to Atlee Pine, Baldacci’s first female lead and in a time of #metoo and sexual equality Atlee has arrived just in time, in fact her timing is impeccable. She’s a ballsy character and one who knows what she wants and how to get it. She’s intelligent and clever and can beat most men at hand to hand combat, she also has a soft side but that takes a little coaxing out!

Atlee carries a lot of baggage as we soon discover, attacked at the age of 5 in her own bedroom, the abduction of her twin sister Mercy that same night, helps mould her into the fierce loner we are introduced to. She doesn’t enjoy relationships, a loner as I’ve just said and someone who’s really not interested in climbing the corporate FBI ladder. Give her a beer at the end of the day and she’s happy.

Atlee Pine’s name came to me very swiftly. I wrote it down and then thought about what sort of character I wanted to build from that. As a writer, I think you can tell when you want to stretch your wings and challenge yourself to do something different. Writing a female as the lead protagonist was something different for me, and it was a challenge for me as a male to write a female character. Doing something different with each book is what drives me as a writer and what keeps me excited. I hope this means that readers are excited when they’re reading it too.

Long Road to Mercy moves at a frenetic pace, helped in part by great characterisation – especially Atlee and her secretary Blum – who following a sticky beginning, click and help carry the storyline along. I really enjoyed the story, how Baldacci brought in relevant and current international topics of concern – Russia and North Korea to name but two – and the bad guys you find yourself hating! It always amazes me how authors can get this reaction out of readers but it helps when you have an author at the top of his game.

The length is just about spot on but the final third flies by in the blink of an eye with quick chapters and great adventure. The only question left is who will end on top and will Atlee save the day? I guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out – I know!

Long Road to Mercy will be published on November 15th, 2018 by Pan Macmillan.

Updating my gaming and office set up!

So what brought me to this point in my life? The simple answer is indoor rowing and an injury sustained on a night off when I was taking it easy! Go figure! When rowing in my normal style I had no issues but one night, 10 weeks ago, I decided to not miss a training day and row a more relaxed style – big mistake! I’m now back indoor biking, determined to build up my strength but still 4 weeks away from rowing and all this got me thinking. Should I adjust the way I sit and work at home – everything I can do to protect my back and improve my posture must be good, right?

When I started taking a good look at my setup I saw so many things that weren’t right, in fact most of it was wrong! I have to get a new chair, a new desk, a new wider monitor and while I’m at it, a monitor arm to take the new monitor away from the generic stand and take up desk space.

The chair

After a few weeks of looking at youtube and researching various websites I’ve narrowed the search down to two companies – Secret Labs (The Titan and Omega) and NobleChairs (Hero or Icon). I’m not after anything “boy racer”, I’m far too old for that and to be honest, even though I’m looking at gaming chairs, I’m not a huge gamer! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the odd session but certainly not the hours and hours most of the gamers do!

I don’t want anything too soft, that’s been my downfall in the past, because if a chair is super comfortable on day one it’s only going to get worse quickly. My current chair of choice is the Eames chair but that really hasn’t lasted well and at well over £3000 it’s not a cheap chair!

From what I’ve heard, none of the chairs from Secret Labs or NobleChairs are soft, in fact they are quite hard but with the lumbar support and a style that encourages good posture they are a must for office work or gaming sessions.

Ordering online is never easy when it comes to a big purchase like this, if you’re miles away from a showroom it’s simply impractical to try these chairs out free of any risk, that’s why it’s taking me so long to decide. I really want to do my homework and make sure I get the right chair. There are so many things to consider – height of the chair, the backrest, does it have inbuilt lumbar support and how far back does it recline?

Over the next month I’ll take the plunge and order one but even then I’ll have the dilemma of whether to order a leather, PU leather or Secret Lab’s new Softweave material – like I said so many decisions!

One thing I am slowly moving towards is having inbuilt lumbar support to help the posture which in itself narrows down the field a little to Secret Lab’s Titan and the Hero model from Noble Chairs – both incidentally come in at the same price point of £349 – not cheap by any means.

I love the way both look but I am concerned about the height of the Titan from Secret Labs, it may well be too tall for me. Using their online calculator they are pointing me towards the Omega model (which comes with a neck pillow and a lumbar support pillow) decisions, decisions!

The Hero from Noble Chairs doesn’t come without any risks either, height is once again a concern but at least I have the option of getting a smaller Gas Lift (both options are class 4). It’s a lovely problem to have, champagne problems! But health is important and it’s all about making sure I do as much as I can to keep training.

The Desk

I had originally decided to go down the Ikea route but after talking toa  friend – who jsut happens to be a carpenter I’m going to make – or rather he is – an Oak desk. It’ll look so much nicer!

So that’s it for the first post, plenty to think about and so many add ons will be required to make it look minimal. It’s so much fun though!

Hit me up on Twitter …NOW! The follow up article to this can now be found here – Harman Kardon & Softweaves!