The SMB Book thread

In Cold Blood by Mark Dawson

Picked up for free on Amazon. In Cold Blood is the first in the Beatrix Rose series in which a wronged mother who happens to be an assassin goes looking for revenge.
Touted as like Jack Reacher and the Bourne series, this is quite a short book where not a lot happens. Filled with lengthy descriptions of weaponry and a lot of back story which feels like it's referring to a book I haven't read. As it's the first in the series, I'm not sure whether it links to another series.
Dawson is a bestseller but judging by the number of books he's churned out and the marketing courses he runs, I feel his skill is possibly in selling rather than writing. (The cover hints at Kill Bill but it's not really like that apart from a female assassin.)
A lot of cliches and outright laziness when it came to naming characters. In one small group of ex soldiers we have Joshua Joyce (Transformers), Oliver Spencer (Clothes designer) and Paddy McGuiness (Comedian). I assumed they were going to be code names but no, he just gave them the first names he saw on the internet.
It's formulaic but not the worst example of this type of book I've read. I imagine if you enjoy Jack Reacher type books, you might enjoy it but I won't bother with any more of his books. 6/10
 

jacko100

Striker
I finished reading this earlier in the week so:

The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

As above, Ambrose Parry is pseudonym for Christopher Brookmyre and his wife, Marisa Haetzman, a consultant anaesthetist. As such, it combines his crime novels with her medical work. It focuses on Will Raven, a medical student, and Sarah Fisher, a housemaid, who join together to track down a murderer in early Victorian Edinburgh. It tackles a lot of the issues of the day - abortion, lack of opportunity for women etc. as well as ongoing medical developments (the invention of chloroform as an anaesthetic happens in this book). Very good, all in all! At least two more books to come in the series. 8.5/10
Ooh hadn’t heard about this, love brookmyres stuff. Must check this out
 
Blowback: How the West Fucked up the Middle East, Michael Luders - 5/10

Highly rated on Goodreads, but massively disappointing for me. Apart from the fact that it has been badly translated from German, and apparently not proofread by anyone (grammatical mistakes and random words throughout) it was too thin on facts or explanation. Why you would try to cover this subject in about 150 pages is beyond me, and it suffers. I've read far better books on the subject.




The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class 1910-2010, Selina Todd - 7/10

Decent read. The main takeaway is that life was largely a load of shit for the vast majority of people in the this country until the 50's and 60's where it got slightly less shit. Oh and politicians, left or right, are c*nts. The author is a little too obviously left wing though which raises concerns about objectivity and some of her conclusions.

 
Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry 9/10
Kevin Barry one of my favourite contemporary writers - especially for his short stories. The Irish vernacular dialogue owes a heavy debt to Roddy Doyle, but ultimately this novel is so much more. Hopefully one to watch for this year's Booker Prize.

 
Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lamaitre

Small town France, the late 90s, a dead dog, a child murder, a biblical flood. We follow 12 year old Antoine through these events then revisit him 12 and 16 years later. It's the first Lemaitre I've read that isn't centred on Camille Verhoeven. It's a reasonable read but I never really felt gripped by it.

6.5/10
 

taipeisafc

Winger
Just finished the Dark Eden trilogy by Chris Beckett. Tremendous series of books. The basic premise is two people have been left abandoned on a planet where the only light is from bioluminescence and an entire culture springs from these two, with religion, stories and a belief that Earth will come and take them home. The book starts about 150 years on and the stories are twisted, the people are inbred and trouble is brewing.
I thought they were brilliant, the way the language and appearances have evolved is very well done. I have just read Beneath the Earth a Sea by him, beautifully written and engaging and had a somewhat bleak ending (as did The Cabin at the End of the World) and I felt there were a few more places he could have gone at that were hinted at but not taken any further.
 
Disaster Inc Caimh McDonnell

Bunny McGarry returns, this time in New York. In search of the secret nuns who will help him locate his past love, Bunny is sidetracked by a chance encounter in a diner.
Colourful, amusing characters, loads of action and as with all his books, very reminiscent of early Brookmyre.
A fun crime caper, well worth a look. (It's free to download if you have Amazon Prime). 8/10
 

janiep

Striker
H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

Borrowed this from the library today and am about 100 pages in. It won lots of prizes. It's about falconry, the human relationship with falcons and hawks used for hunting, and the author's relationship with a goshawk that she trained while mourning her father. It's a fascinating subject, and very illuminating about one human-animal relationship I knew nothing about, but she's taking a long time to tell the story and I'm a little bored.

6.5/10
 

jacko100

Striker

9/10. Had many people recommend this to me over the last few years, finally got around to reading it, loved it! Ploughing through the second book atm.
 

KENT-FTM

Midfield
Patrick Humphries - Rolling Stones 69 waiting for me today in the front porch when coming home from work.

I'll devour this in one or two sittings as I love books like this.

If it's anything like his Nick Drake biography, then I won't be disappointed.
 

zwartekat

Striker
Patrick Humphries - Rolling Stones 69 waiting for me today in the front porch when coming home from work.

I'll devour this in one or two sittings as I love books like this.

If it's anything like his Nick Drake biography, then I won't be disappointed.
Annoyingly, no Kindle version and I'm not keen on paying 14.99 for a 256-page paperback that is likely to be rehashing a fair amount of material.
 

KENT-FTM

Midfield
Annoyingly, no Kindle version and I'm not keen on paying 14.99 for a 256-page paperback that is likely to be rehashing a fair amount of material.

True, but still imho , a cracking read.

If you wait a few months then you'll be able to get it for less then £10 second-hand.
 
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Tropic Moon by Georges Simenon 10/10
I've read plenty of Maigret books, but this is my first 'serious' Simenon novel. Set in Gabon in the 1930s, it's up there with Conrad's Heart of Darkness as an expose of colonial exploitation of Central Africa.

 
I'm wa`iting for the cost to drop. Tend to buy kindle books when they go down to 5 to 7 quid. Currently reading the book he's co-written with his wife, under the pseudonym Ambrose Parry, The Way of ALl Flesh. Medical detective type thing set in early Victorian Edinburgh (1847, I think). Halfway through, seems pretty good. Suspect it could be the start of a series. Will review here when I finish reading it.
The Border by Don Winslow down to 99p on kindle today only.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Border-gripping-thriller-bestselling-trilogy-ebook/dp/B07GX5G8MG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=WEWWVMPNJGW1&keywords=the+border+don+winslow&qid=1562770531&s=gateway&smid=A1G3UP32AZJ14F&sprefix=the+border,aps,135&sr=8-1
 
Don Winslow has been instrumental in reviving the career of Adrian McKinty, who featured in the very first post of this thread. His books weren't selling, he was having to make ends meet as an Uber driver, and in desperation wrote to Don Winslow asking for advice.

Thanks to that advice, his next book has already made him millions - and it hasn't been published yet.

 
Don Winslow has been instrumental in reviving the career of Adrian McKinty, who featured in the very first post of this thread. His books weren't selling, he was having to make ends meet as an Uber driver, and in desperation wrote to Don Winslow asking for advice.

Thanks to that advice, his next book has already made him millions - and it hasn't been published yet.

I've read a couple of articles about him. Proper life changing stuff.
The idea of the book is one of those where everybody goes 'why didn't I think of that'?
Winslow has been championing him for a long time on Twitter.
 

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