Rivers of London: Body Work

13 Feb

“Body Work” is a fantastic graphic novel written by Ben Aaronovitch set in his Rivers of London world.

Miriam Stephanopolous and Sahra Guleed are less than impressed when Peter Grant turns up at the site of a car being hauled out of the Thames.  The last thing they want to deal with is any more “weird bollocks”.  Unfortunately, what they want isn’t what they get.

The discovery of the car and it’s deceased driver starts a fast paced story with extremely Stephen King “Christine” like elements, which at one point involves Peter and Sahra being chased by a pissed off BMW!

The story alternates between being funny and creepy and is a thorough delight.

A word about the graphic part.  Excellent.  The attention to detail is incredible.  One guy is eating a chocolate bar whilst driving.  It’s clearly obvious that it’s a Curly Wurly.  That’s the level of detail.  The artists involved have captured all the characters EXACTLY as I have imagined them, and that is quite a feat.

Cannot recommend “Body Work” highly enough.

Brilliant.

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone

29 Jan

“A Study in Brimstone” by G. S. Denning is less of a Sherlock Holmes parody (regardless of the re-writing of canon stories) and more of an alternate universe.

An extremely weird alternate universe.  One where Gregson is an ogre, Lestrade is a vampire, Mrs Hudson is a malignant dwarf…and Holmes shares his head with Moriarty and talks to demons.

And Watson?  Well, he’s much the same, except he is trying to teach Holmes deduction…and failing.

Funny, fast paced, and a delightful romp from start to finish.

The second book, “The Battle for Baskerville Hall” is due out in May.  I will be getting a copy as soon as I can.

Doors Open

23 Jan

“Doors Open” is an awesome stand alone novel from Ian Rankin.

Mike MacKenzie is a rich playboy with an interest in art.  Along with his friend Allan he gets drawn into an art heist, all the while being watched by Detective Inspector Ransome, who is interested in one of Mike’s old school pals.

Fast paced, action packed, and loaded with twists and turns, “Doors Open” is an excellent read.

Ian Rankin shows that he doesn’t need to write Rebus to create a brilliant story.  In fact, this one was better in some ways, because there was no character baggage.  There was, however, a sly reference to Rebus that made me chuckle.

Highly recommended.

Here We Go Again…

16 Jan

I came online this morning to find the internet in meltdown.  Sherlock fans venting their anger at the creative people behind the Sherlock episode “The Final Problem”.

I was going to stay out of it, but I can’t.  Because I’ve seen this shit before and it is NEVER good for anyone.

The last time I saw an internet storm this bad was when Cote de Pablo, who played Ziva David on NCIS left the show.  I said my piece then, but obviously people weren’t listening, so, at the risk of repeating myself… here we go again.

You have a right to be upset about a television show.  You have the right to an opinion.  You DO NOT have the right to be rude, vicious, and vile to the people involved in the creation of the show.  THAT is bullying and harassment and is a crime in almost every civilized society.  Problem is, in acting like that, you are displaying to the world that you are not civilized at all.  Or mature.  Or intelligent.

In what world do you think it is right to abuse Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss?  Or Arwel Wyn Jones – a man who, while he is responsible for the wonderful sets and locations, has sweet bugger all to do with the script?  In what world is it right to so harass the director Ben Caron that he deletes his Twitter account?

I’ll tell you what world. NONE.  None at all.

The demonstration of vindictiveness and bile displayed demonstrates a lack of compassion, humanity, and sanity.

It’s a television show, people.  Look around you.  There are people suffering: homeless, hungry, miserable, dying in wars…and you’re bitching because a television show didn’t go the way you wanted it?  Priorities, people, priorities.

It would serve you right if that was the last ever episode of Sherlock.  I know that if I was involved with the show I sure as shit would be wary of making any more and exposing myself to that level of vitriol.

Grow the hell up!

Deadly Election

11 Jan

I tried the Flavia Alba books by Lindsey Davis when the first one was released, and couldn’t get in to them.  Couldn’t make the adjustment from Falco to his adopted daughter Flavia being the main character.

After seeing the reviews of “Deadly Election” by a few friends on Good Reads, I decided to give it a go.

I’m glad I did.  I’ve been long enough away from Lindsey’s work that it was easier to accept Flavia Alba and not judge her by Falco.

In this book Flavia is helping with finding out scuttlebutt for electioneering purposes, when a rotting corpse turns up in a chest being auctioned at the family auction house.  Naturally, Flavia investigates.

The book has the same slightly hard boiled edge that the Falco books had.

Well plotted, well written, and very enjoyable.

Highly recommended.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

10 Jan

I picked “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” by Elisabeth Tova Bailey up last year at a book fair at my local library.  This slim volume has sat on my shelf waiting for an opportune few moments to browse it.  I decided to give it a go last night and was enraptured from the first page.

Two words describe this book: charming and enchanting.

When Elisabeth Tova Bailey contracts a virus that leaves her bedridden with an auto immune disease, a friend brings her an unusual present:  a flower pot of woodland violets and a small snail.

On the surface a book about snail watching hardly seems interesting, but Elisabeth’s observations paired with interesting scientific information about gastropods turns this book from an oddity into a delightful, beautiful, soul enriching book.

“The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating” is a gentle, moving, read.  You will find yourself with tears in your eyes at times.

Highly recommended.

The Hanging Tree

9 Jan

Peter Grant is back in “The Hanging Tree” by Ben Aaronovitch, the 6th of the Rivers of London series.

In “Whispers Underground” Lady Tyburn saved Peter’s life with the understanding that she would be calling in the debt.

She does so – in spades.  Her daughter Olivia is in trouble with the police and Tyburn would like her out of trouble, PDQ.  Poor Peter has to untangle Olivia without getting himself into trouble for corruption, higher ups are becoming more aware of Falcon, the Faceless Man is back, and Leslie is back – with a face!

Like all of the Rivers of London series, “The Hanging Tree” rips along.  You could view this one as the direct sequel to “Whispers Underground”, indeed, several characters from that book make a return appearance.

Ben Aaronvitch writes what I consider quite possibly the best urban fantasy series currently available.  Peter Grant is likeable, quirky, and very well rounded.  As are all the characters.  They have distinct personalities and feel very real.

If you haven’t made the acquaintance of Peter Grant and his friends and enemies, I suggest you do so.

Highly recommended.

Taking A Break

21 Dec

Just letting you know I’m taking a short break over the Christmas and New Year period.

Time to catch up on some quality napping time, read a few good books, eat some delicious food, and take lots of long walks.

I’ll be back on deck in the new year ready to start blogging away again.

Merry Christmas, and a very Happy and Prosperous 2017 to you all.

Escape Clause

18 Dec

“Escape Clause” by John Sandford is the 9th Virgil Flowers novel.

Two Amur tigers are stolen from a zoo.  Virgil is tasked with tracking them down and returning them before the are reduced to component parts for Chinese medicine.  To add to the confusion, Virgil’s girlfriend Frankie’s sister has turned up and getting herself into all sorts of trouble interviewing illegal immigrant workers at a canning factory.  Then when Frankie is beaten up by thugs, all hell breaks loose for Virgil and the BCA.

Baring one or two little niggles, I loved this book.  The plot was just this side of believable to make suspension of belief fun not ridiculous.

There was lots of Jenkins and Shrake.  Two characters I adore.

I found the skinny dipping scene a trifle creepy and the character of Sparkle’s boyfriend, Bill, pretty much unlikeable.  Mostly he tripped my ethics and morality buttons, seeing as he’s supposedly an ordained priest!

But apart from those quibbles, “Escape Clause” was a fantastic read.  Lots of drama, plenty of Sandford’s trade mark humour, and the scene where the main bad guy gets his comeuppance has to be read to be believed.

In a word: Fun.

Highly recommended.

Anno Dracula

8 Dec
Queen Victoria has been persuaded out of widowhood by Dracula who is now the Prince Consort and Lord Protector of England.

Someone is carving up young new-born vampire whores in Whitechapel. They call him Silver Knife. The Diogenes Club instructs Charles Beauregard to investigate. He is assisted by a French vampire elder named Genevieve who works at a mission in Whitechapel.

It becomes obvious that these are no simple killings. We, the reader, learn early who the killer is, but Charles and Genevieve do not until the end.

A word about this book. Brilliant.

Kim Newman writes an enchanting and engaging story, and cheekily name checks as many real and fictional people as he can. I had a merry old time name spotting as I went. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you are familiar with Victorian/Edwardian writers and their creations you will love this book so much.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the other three Anno Dracula novels.

%d bloggers like this: