I have to say I really enjoyed this read. Murder Games is light, fluid and an incredibly quick and effortless read. The opening chapters are among the most entertaining I’ve read, certainly in the last year or so, introducing us to characters and plotlines so fast that if you blink you’d miss it!
I’ve read a few of James Patterson’s books, not all of them I hasten to add but more than enough to know what I like and what I don’t and the overriding feeling I get when reading his books is enjoyment. I really enjoy how he writes the books and how entertained I am with each turn of the page. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at the very beginning of the book, the middle or the end. If you’re lucky, as I feel you are in Murder Games, you’ll be thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.
There aren’t too many shocks here but the couple that were, they were so well done it was pure magic. One of the earlier surprises, and I won’t spoil it here, was delivered so subtly it really shocked me. I’m talking about two of the characters at this point, something I really hadn’t expected.
As the book ends and the authors – James is joined by Howard Roughan this time around – do not fall into the trap that so many authors do, they do not get sucked in and change relationships because it is the “done” thing. I loved how they kept certain relationships as they were meant to be. This paragraph will probably make little sense to anyone who hasn’t read the book, hopefully it will once you’ve read it!
Great characterisation, a thrill a minute read with short, sharp chapters – very much inkeeping with the Patterson tradition – that keep the story and sub plots moving at a frenetic pace. Not sure if we’ll see more of these characters in the future but I really do hope we will. Great job.
THE MURDER HAS BEEN SOLVED. BUT HAS JUSTICE BEEN DONE?
Harry Hole is back in Oslo. He’s been away for some time, but his ghosts have a way of catching up with him. The case that brings him back is already closed. There is no room for doubt: the young junkie was shot dead by a fellow addict.
THE POLICE DON’T WANT HIM BACK…
Denied permission to reopen the investigation, Harry strikes out on his own. Beneath the city’s eerie tranquillity, he discovers a trail of violence and mysterious disappearances seemingly unnoticed by the police. At every turn Harry is faced with a conspiracy of silence.
THE CRIMINALS DON’T WANT HIM BACK…
Harry is not the only one who is interested in the case. From the moment he steps off the plane, someone is watching his every move and tracing his every call.
SOMEONE WANTS HIM SILENCED.
I’ve recently re-read Phantom by Jo Nesbø following the release of The Snowman Film and thought I’d share a few of my thoughts about the book. Phantom is a terrific novel, one that will keep you turning the pages and on the edge of your seat from the very first moment you pick up the book right up until the powerful ending, the author placing you smack bang in the middle of a city torn by drug addiction, murder and corruption – politicians and policemen alike. Trust is at a premium and betrayal the key word of the day, believe me, you don’t want to miss this novel, it will shock and surprise. I certainly didn’t see the twist coming and I’m still reeling!
Very few authors write better than Nesbø in my eyes – aided once again by a superb translation by Don Bartlett – and I am so glad I’ve had the chance to read so many of his books, Phantom is the latest in a mesmerising series featuring the damaged Harry Hole. Alcoholic. Drug Addict. Policeman. Husband. Father.
I really have to make time to read some of his earlier titles that have somehow alluded me.
Phantom isn’t your typical Jo Nesbø novel; this is all about drugs and the devastation they cause both directly and indirectly. Everyone is affected in one way or another but Nesbø pulls no punches as he paints a different kind of Oslo from the one politicians and the tourist boards would like to promote. The streets are full of pushers and gangs hell-bent on cornering the market no matter the cost or who gets in the way; they certainly don’t take kindly to Harry Hole’s interference.
You won’t find an unhinged serial killer in Phantom but you will find murder most fowl and an ex-policeman in Hole struggling to secure the release of Oleg – his son – who has been arrested for the murder of a drug addict, a supplier and someone who just happens to be his best friend. Things are never clear cut and the way Nesbø weaves his magic is incredible. Take it as read, Nesbo mentions a character for a reason, there is no dead wood in this novel.
I’m not even going to mention the narrative there really is no point – you know what you’re going to get and you certainly won’t be disappointed! Suffice to say it’s both powerful and gripping and although this is a steady read without too much gore – certainly compared to The Snowman – for the first two thirds of the book, you’ll find with 120 pages to go the pace moves up a number of gears and you’ll struggle to put the book down. The way he hooks you in is sublime to say the least. This is Nesbø at his very best.
Harry is back in Oslo after a three year exile living in Hong Kong. No longer a policeman, he returns wearing the only suit he owns and has cleaned up his act and as a recovering alcoholic he faces temptation on every corner. This is personal and only Harry has the determination to see it through but is he ready to meet the truth. Can he handle the truth? Only time will tell.
A compelling read, Phantom is a taut and multi-layered thriller that simply deserves to be read and although a rather sombre read it will most definitely entertain. Rush out and get this one, it’s a cracker!
Way back in July, the BBC announced that Jodie Whittaker – in a 60 second special trailer – would be the 13th Time Lord following Peter Capaldi’s four year reign as Doctor Who came to an end. Well technically we still have Christmas 2017 before he leaves our screen forever but where has the last four months gone?
Today, the first pictures of Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who were released and boy is it an interesting look. In a throwback to previous incarnations of the Doctor and an obvious nod to Robin Williams’s Mork & Mindy Jodie Whittaker wears the new clothes well.
As the picture shows Jodie can be seen in cropped teal culottes with yellow braces, as well as a striped jumper and long trench coat.
Her look is completed with brown boots, blue and turquoise striped socks and some unusual earrings, at the top and bottom of her left ear.
I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey — with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet. It’s more than an honor to play the Doctor.
Braces – Not the first Doctor to wear braces – who can forget Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor smarting the clothing attire?
Stripes – They could well be a nod to Tom Baker’s (The 4th Doctor) iconic scarf, Osgood or it could just as easily be an homage to Mork and Mindy.
Earrings – Only Donna Noble as a main character has sported earrings, that is until now!
Not long to wait now, Christmas is only a few weeks away when we witness the regeneration.
In the morning, they gave Reacher a medal. And in the afternoon, they sent him back to school.
It’s just a voice plucked from the air: ‘The American wants a hundred million dollars’.
For what? Who from? It’s 1996, and the Soviets are long gone. But now there’s a new enemy. In an apartment in Hamburg, a group of smartly-dressed young Saudis are planning something big.
Jack Reacher is fresh off a secret mission and a big win. The Army pats him on the back and gives him a medal. And then they send him back to school. It’s a school with only three students: Reacher, an FBI agent, and a CIA analyst. Their assignment? To find that American. And what he’s selling. And to whom. There is serious shit going on, signs of a world gone mad.
Night School takes Reacher back to his army days, but this time he’s not in uniform. With trusted sergeant Frances Neagley at his side, he must carry the fate of the world on his shoulders, in a wired, fiendishly clever new adventure that will make the cold sweat trickle down your spine.
Jack Reacher’s back for his 21st adventure, this time he does things a little differently, this time he’s going back to school – Night School, army style!
I’ve always enjoyed reading the Jack Reacher books and I guess I’d class myself as a fan, the Reacher series is a series I can’t wait to read. It’s not only the character that draws you in with this series; it’s the humour, literary subtlety, action and the storytelling. Who needs Bond or Bourne when you have Reacher to fight your corner?!
On the face of it there’s very little to the books. Reacher gets caught up in a situation at the beginning of the book and you know there’s really only one outcome – he has to put things right by the end. Simples. A, B, C. 1, 2, 3.
But here’s the hook, these aren’t simple books. From scene setting, character development, plotting and enough action to satisfy the most critical fan, these are complex stories written in such a way that make them easy to read and follow. You could say they’re infectious! I just adore the way the author adds complications as he goes along, it’s as if – half way through writing – he decides to make it even tougher for Reacher. Let’s face it Reacher has it easy! Just when you think things are reaching an explosive dénouement the author cranks it up and another sub plot is introduced, destined to make Reacher’s life a little more complicated.
There’s more than enough dry humour to satisfy everyone, the passages really made me smile! And of course Reacher has a dalliance or two – he deserves it, after all he is saving the world! Overall the book has a different feel about in from some of his previous books, I can’t put my finger on it but perhaps it’s the fact that Reacher goes back in time to his army days that has something to do with it. One this is certain, this is another great example of action and thriller writing at its best.
The Gunpowder Plot is the name given to the conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the 5th November 1605 during the State Opening, when the King, Lords and Commons would all be present in the Lords Chamber. The plot itself was foiled at midnight on the 4th November during a search of the cellar by Sir Thomas Knyvett and his friend Edmund Doubleday.
Contrary to popular belief and folklore Guy Fawkes (or Guido) played but a minor role even though he is the name widely associated with the annual firework celebrations. He was a solitary figure guarding the gunpowder when the cellar was searched on the 4th November. No one knows why he was involved but it is widely believed that his inclusion was down to his particular set of skills and the fact he was not known in London at the time.
The plot centred around four main conspirators namely Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, Thomas Winter, John Wright and the aforementioned Mr Fawkes. They were later joined by a number of other conspirators.
No one knows how the plot was discovered but history suggests an anonymous letter sent to Lord Monteagle, a catholic, warning the Lord not to attend the State Opening. A search was conducted and the rest as they say is history. Although we have a fair idea of what happened I’ll refrain from spoiling the Gunpowder series until the end of this article. Scroll down to find out what happens!
Gunpowder Episodes 2 and 3
After recovering from a brutal first episode last week, episode two aired on BBC One and episode three quickly followed via BBC’s iPlayer. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened! Episode two includes an early torture scene where two Spanish Jews are burned at the stake by the Constable of Castile. It left very little to the imagination with the screams of terror slowly falling silent to the crackles of twin fires.
Production values for all three episodes was amazing with the production painting quite the dreary picture. London is hemmed in and the majority of scenes were played out in dingy alleyways or candlelit rooms, it all added to a sense of fear and claustrophobia. You could almost smell the sewage with each step.
Of the three episodes I found episode two the weakest and I felt it reverted to torture to rescue any sense of drama, not even Kit Harington could rescue the episode. While Robert Emms (Father Gerard) is being stretched and pulled to all corners (the sound effects were gruesome!) Catesby played by Harington tries to rescue him from the Tower of London. In a combination of aromatic television and gloomy lit scenes it did allow the episode to end on a high – even if it was a little far fetched!
The final episode ties everything together quite nicely and as it hasn’t aired on BBC yet, I wont go into too much detail. It does leave a little to be desired with artistic license but this is after all a television drama not a documentary. They follow history very well and the dramatic pauses do serve a purpose.
The acting throughout is splendid and the BBC have once again delivered a classy three part series that is well worth watching again, once the dust settles. The one major gripe I had with the series was Mark Gatiss’ portrayal of Robert Cecil. He was far too one dimensional for me and his portrayal was what we’ve come to expect from the actor in past performances. On the flip side however, Shaun Dooley who plays Sir William Wade was incredible.
One has to remember not to feel sorry for these characters when they get their comeuppance, they were after all guilty of treason and plotting to kill not only the King, James I, but members of parliament. It’s easier said than done however because we all like the romantic ideal of our heroes beating the perceived baddies in film and tv!
Francis Tresham died of natural causes in the Tower of London on 23 December 1605. The eight surviving conspirators were tried in Westminster Hall on 27 January 1606. All were condemned to death for treason.
Four men – Sir Everard Digby, Robert Winter, John Grant and Thomas Bates – were executed on 30 January 1606 in St Paul’s Churchyard.
The other four – Guy Fawkes, Thomas Winter, Ambrose Rookwood and Robert Keyes – were executed just outside Westminster Hall, in Old Palace Yard, the following day.
The heads of the two ringleaders, Percy and Catesby, who had been killed earlier at Holbeach House in Staffordshire, were set up on the ‘Parliament House’.
Fresh, or perhaps not so fresh, on the heels of Don Bradman Cricket and Don Bradman Cricket 17, Big Ant studios are set to release the latest cricket game on November 16th, 2017.
Ashes Cricket is the officially licensed video game of cricket’s greatest rivalry. Bringing all the fast-paced action, big hits and skill that you see in the greatest cricket competition on earth, in both a more realistic and authentic way than ever before, you’ll be able to bathe your team in glory in the men’s and women’s 2017/2018 Ashes tours.
Courtesy of Big Ant’s unique photogrammetry technology, Ashes Cricket presents official photorealistic likenesses for all of the Australian and English men’s and women’s teams – it will make you feel like you’re right there at the live game.
Star Test players have been fully motion-captured and you can choose your own batting or bowling style to make your game your own. Big Ant’s most detailed and refined cricket engine to date allows for true 360-degree batting. No two players will play the game the same way!
Other features of the most in-depth and realistic cricket game to date include:
• A deep career mode that offers the ability to play as a star or start as a junior and play club cricket until reaching international level.
• Fully customise your play experience. Create players, teams and even umpires in the Cricket Academy and upload it on the online community.
• All the officially licensed stadiums featured in the 2017/18 Ashes tour.
• Want to create your own dream competition? Create your own stadiums and logos to enhance your playing experience. Make this your personal cricket game.
• Online play – play with or against players in the most competitive online cricket game yet!
Moving from the heart of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside is a big undertaking for Ollie and Caro Harcourt and their twelve-year-old daughter Jade. But when they view Cold Hill House – a huge, dilapidated Georgian mansion – Ollie is filled with excitement. Despite the financial strain of the move, he has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child, and he sees Cold Hill House as a paradise for his animal-loving daughter, the perfect base for his web-design business and a terrific long-term investment. Caro is less certain, and Jade is grumpy about being separated from her friends.
Within days of moving in, it becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren’t the only residents of the house. A friend of Jade’s is the first to see the spectral woman, standing behind her as the girls talk on FaceTime. Then there are more sightings, as well as increasingly disturbing occurrences in the house. As the haunting becomes more malevolent and the house itself begins to turn on the Harcourts, the terrified family discover Cold Hill House’s dark history, and the horrible truth of what it could mean for them . . .
There’s not really much you can say about Peter James that hasn’t already been said. A terrific author who never seems to put a foot wrong, time after time he publishes a novel that is both engaging and fascinating to read. This time around he dispenses of Roy Grace’s services, heaven knows why because I for one would like to see Grace tackle a ghost! A standalone, The House on Cold Hill will have you shivering from the outset until a bone shaking finale.
I don’t get the chance to read ghost stories all that often, I did as a kid and loved them, but when I had the opportunity to read this title I jumped at the chance, it wasn’t the only time I’d jump while reading! The House on Cold Hill, although set in modern times, has a distinctly old fashioned style to it. I couldn’t help but think, despite the inclusion of computers and mobile phones, that I had been transported back to the old days of no electricity, no running water and reading by candlelight – no idea why, it just had that feel about it for me.
The first few chapters serve to set the story, lay a solid foundation – despite the possibility of subsidence!! – and introduce the characters to the reader but once all this has been achieved there’s no holding back and the story moves along at a rapid pace. Ollie is without question the star of the show and he proves to be a great protagonist. Worried about making a huge financial mistake in moving lock, stock and barrel to the country he’s prepared to ignore the warning signs and the fact that the small problems that immediately start to surface are in fact just the tip of the iceberg.
You can’t help but feel empathy with the family and how they put up with the problems is beyond me! They really do endure a lot but their hardship serves to entertain the reader! I know it’s a cruel world isn’t it! As long as it’s not happening to us, suck it up!!
A chilling read, I loved the way the story unfolded and how the ghostly activities increased as it became clear the Harcourt family wouldn’t be giving up without a fight. Characters come and go, some a little more gruesome than others, but the story continues to progress and flow well. Haunting in parts, there were a couple of points in the book that really freaked me out, the author has a knack for this genre.
So there we have it, not going to spoil it for anyone and give away any clues but the ending is very well done and just about right but if ever there was a book that had an alternative ending chapter then this is one! Now there’s a thought! Has that ever been done?
Bravo Mr James
Published by Macmillan ISBN-10:1447255909 ISBN-13:978-1447255901
Zwift HQ have delivered the promised update and it does not disappoint. Three new routes have been created namely:
Big Loop (42.8km, 26.6 Miles & 663m Elevation)
Jungle Circuit (19.9km, 12.3 Miles & 200m Elevation)
Road to Ruins (30.1km, 18.7 Miles & 276m Elevation)
I’ve only had chance to try the Jungle Circuit so far but it’s a wonderful ride and very challenging! If you’re working out in the gym, at home or on a direct trainer in the garage, make sure the fans are on! You encounter a steady climb for a few kilometers before you enter the new stretch of road but it’s well worth the wait! So who can ride the new Mayan Jungle roads? You have to be level 10 or over to ride on your own or ride with a friend who just happens to be level 10 or as part of a group. If you are level 10 then you’ll see the Jungle Gate in green, for anyone else it’s red and not available.
Intrepid Shane Miller has ridden the route and has published a great video, it’s well worth a view. He talks throughout his ride and gives us his first impressions on the new expansion. Over to you Shane:
So if you’ve ever wanted to cycle through rolling terrain and some quick high speed decents then this may just be for you! One thing I should add that the new roads are also available to level 10 runners – so Ride On or Jog On – the choice is yours!
To access the Mayan Jungle Expansion, head to the wind farm in Watopia Island and cross the bridge toward the Epic KOM route. The entrance is southwest of the Spruce Goose, the new base of the Epic KOM.
For almost a quarter of a century, John Grisham’s A Time to Kill has captivated readers with its raw exploration of race, retribution, and justice. Now, its hero, Jake Brigance, returns to the courtroom in a dramatic showdown as Ford County again confronts its tortured history. Filled with the intrigue, suspense and plot twists that are the hallmarks of the world’s favourite storyteller, SYCAMORE ROW is the thrilling story of the elusive search for justice in a small American town.
Reading the first fifty pages of Sycamore Row I experienced two very different emotions. Firstly, and I can’t remember this happening before, I couldn’t help but grin as I lost myself in every page, in fact I wasn’t aware I was grinning until I heard my mobile ringing and looked away from the book – smiling! The second emotion was anger. Not of Grisham’s writing, his narrative or style, but Seth’s distant family. Racist, obnoxious, opinionated and just plain vile – you can’t help but feel for Lettie the black housekeeper, a housekeeper tasked with looking after the house and an ailing Seth Hubbard for the last three years. Upon his death and his family’s arrival Lettie is cast aside like a mess on a shoe, left to fend for her family and unemployed.
Now that I’ve finished Sycamore Row I can categorically say that those emotions never went away. They would bubble and fester, they weren’t always present but it was as if they were stuck in limbo, waiting to emerge just like a pocket of air escaping water throughout the entire story. You never quite knew where the bubble would burst but you knew it would at some point.
This is without doubt the best legal thriller I’ve read this year, hands down the best. Set at a terrific pace this multi layered story evolves and evolves and just when you think it can’t go anywhere, that the end is in nigh, the book suddenly branches off in a fresh direction, a new perspective, and Grisham introduces a new witness or a different focus to the investigation. This really is clever and sharp witted stuff!
Characterisation is key to any book and it was so satisfying for me to find out what happens to Jake Brigance and his family following the trial of Carl Lee Hailey. Three years down the line he’s still dining out on the plaudits and fame from the case – even if the money and rewards aren’t as forthcoming – and finds himself stuck in a rut doing the same old cases day in day out. Our protagonist had hoped to have moved on to bigger and better things but alas his loss is our literary gain.
John Grisham has brought together an eclectic mix of old and new characters. They all play their part in a legal thriller that is both entertaining and evocative. Even the nasty characters are enjoyable; they all help to add depth and colour to the book but Jake, Ozzie and Lucien carry the book as far as I’m concerned.
I enjoyed where the book takes the reader and where it ends and hopefully in a few years’ time we’ll be allowed to revisit Ford County and experience life in Reuben Atlee’s courtroom once again through the eyes of Jake Brigance. With sharp dialogue, atmospheric narrative and a sagacious storyline, Sycamore Row is one not to be missed. Highly recommended.
A man in a bowler hat, a haunting violin and a bottle of curious sulphuric tasting water. Did I mention water? Whatever you do, don’t drink the water. I repeat; don’t drink the water!
I’ve just re-read this classic book and can’t believe it has been seven years since I first read the book – my introduction to Michael Koryta – and it still ranks as one of my best ever reads.
So Cold The River by Michael Koryta is a hypnotic and hauntingly chilly tale following one man’s attempt to chronicle a family’s childhood history in West Baden, Indiana. It’s very hard to categorize into one genre as so many themes are utilized in this 528 huge page turner. Horror, thriller, Crime and supernatural forces are all present in a stunning story of murder, greed and deceit.
Eric Shaw, a has-been cinematographer formerly of Los Angeles and now Chicago, has resorted to making small videos for funerals at the bequest of grieving families. Shaw is approached by Alyssa Bradford at the end of her sister’s funeral and offers him a job to investigate/document her father in law’s (Campbell Bradford) family, long since forgotten.
The video is to be a celebration of his life, one she wants completed before he dies so that the family as a whole can enjoy with him. Shaw accepts not only the $20,000 offer but an ancient blue bottle of Pluto mineral water.
The bottle had never been opened and belongs to Campbell Bradford, the 95 year old multi-millionaire who lies dying in a lonely hospital room. Although hidden away, and until this point had never left Bradford’s side, Alyssa Bradford sensed its importance. The blue bottle sparks a chain of events that would lead to a destructive and devastating conclusion.
Shaw, estranged from his wife Claire, makes his way to the adjoined Midwest towns of West Baden and French Lick armed with a camera and the curious, foul tasting bottle of Pluto Water. Shortly before he embarked on the drive to Indiana Eric gave in to the temptation and opened the bottle and took a sip of the mysterious water. He became violently ill and the die had been cast.
Despite being a monster of a book, the pace is rather interesting. It isn’t a quick read for obvious reasons but I found that as the story developed so did the pace, hand in hand with the water’s stranglehold and intensity. I’m not sure if Koryta meant this to happen but this is how I saw the book evolving. Very clever and the flow is just right, I finished the book in three reasonable sessions.
We meet a number of colourful characters along the way and Josiah Bradford, the only living descendant of the millionaire in Indiana is one of them. An evil brute of a man, he appears to have a chip on his shoulder, a chip that grows rapidly after coming into physical contact with Eric. Koryta tells his story well and whenever Josiah is centre stage it’s as if the book takes on a whole new dark persona.
A story of Yin and Yang, light and shade, good and evil – the book is an engaging, icy page turner in every sense. This is Koryta’s first book to be published in the UK and certainly won’t be his last, not on this form I suspect.