Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Friday, May 27, 2016

"Fall of Man in Wilmslow", by David Lagercrants

This story, a melding of two narratives, is an attempt to capture a sympathetic biography of Alan Turing who was badly treated by the establishment and a police procedural in which a detective tries to get to the bottom of a mystery.

This disturbing tale of Turing’s suicide and the circumstance that let to it is told through the eyes of Detective Leonard Corell who was in charge of the investigation. The book reveals Turing’s life and his obsession with mathematics but above all we are shown the anti-gay attitudes at the time and openly admitting to homosexuality was treated as a crime. The novel is set in 1954. More than half the story is devoted to follow Corell.

The book contains a wealth of details about life and theories although it came out somewhat between a dramatized version of a biography and a kind of a lousy detective drama. I really couldn’t tell where the fine line stood between the historical part and where we stepped into the author’s vivid imagination. I also found the characterization to be not only dull but also very thin. I will not expand any further and leave to the readers whether to like or dislike the way this story develops.

What a pity, I would have loved to know more of this exceptional man and have more confidence in what was written. This is not the case here. I also had a hard time keeping my attention at bay, too much intellectual stimulation needed to keep up with the mathematical concepts and philosophical conversations making a painfully slow moving plot one that couldn’t held my attention till the end. Too many dull moments and I agree with those saying this is one of those books that work better as a cure for insomnia.

This novel is not for everyone, it was definitely not mine not to say it wasn’t good book it was simply not my cup of tea.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. “This is the way I see it”.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"Lost Kin", by Steve Anderson

Book 3 in the Kaspar Brothers series

“Lost Kin” is a haunting tale of international intrigue set in postwar Munich, 1946. The story is a stand-alone continuation of “Liberated” featuring American captain Harry Kaspar. In this latest the long-estranged brothers Max and Harry reunites to confront a secret Allied betrayal as the cold war heats up.

Amid the post-war chaos Harry remained uncorrupted until everything changes when a Munich cop knocks on his door and says “there has been an incident and your brother may be involved”……Harry is dragged into a murder investigation and thus opens an atmospheric and suspenseful story of forced repatriation.

This book has its slow moments but in whole there is enough action and mystery to keep turning the pages till the final dramatic face-off in the snowing Sumava Mountains of Czechoslovakia. The author has deftly created a canvas where innocent people get caught between allies and enemies and has exceptionally captured a world on the razor’s edge of survival. You soon warm to the characters and desperately want them to succeed. Although the subject is treated sensitively it still allowed the brutality to shine through. This historical fiction is well-written not to be too dramatic but yet provides all the necessary tension to keep us on the edge of our seat. The author certainly knows this period and post-war politics and knows how to deliver it. “Lost Kin” will move you.

This is my first experience reading Mr. Anderson but it will not be my last.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. “This is the way I see it”.

"The Girl on the Train", by Paula Hawkins

I am not surprised that this psychological thriller made its debut as the no1 Best Sellers for Fiction in 2015 and stayed there for a number of weeks and to this day is still going strong. This is an amazing story that DreamWoks Pictures acquired the rights to make into a movie. “The Girl on the Train” is a mystery and suspense novel that follows the lives of three women.

The story is a first person narrative told from the point of view of Rachel, Anna and Megan. It begins with Rachel on the commute home from London, a journey in which she routinely drinks four pre-mixed gin and tonic and this is just a starter. Rachel is prone to blackout and is a pathetic drunk. The trip takes her along the backs of houses on the street where she used to live. Daydreaming about her ex-husband and his new wife Anna and obsessed with a young couple living in a neighbouring house whom she named Jess (Megan) and Jason (Scott). The train stops outside their houses every morning. When Megan’s went missing and her body is found in the woods, Rachel is desperate to get to the bottom and get answers. Under the influence, her memory and imagination become confused…….and we are into an exceptionally imagined drama…..

I won’t say much more about the plot and leave it to each to dive in spoiler-free.

Their perspectives and the timescales are juggled with great skill, cleverly plotted and perfectly paced, from the impressive beginning to its surprising final act. Once into it, it is not an easy book to put aside. We find compelling characters: Rachel is a wreck, Megan is charming and Anna is love struck blind. A large range of emotions are perfectly captured and illustrated. The writing is excellent and very cinematic. The greatest strengths are the plot and place. “The Girl on the Train” is a classic whodunit without a detective as protagonist.

This novel is captivating and an excellent read

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Tears of Dark Water", by Corban Addison

This is a riveting story of modern day piracy and a page turner that plays out a powerful story of hope and understanding in the face of hatred and chaos.

Having read the previous books by Mr. Addison I knew it would be international in scope and would be told from several points of view. This fast paced thriller really sucks you right in the minute you read the word “pirates”. The intense plot is captivating to no end, a story filled with intrigue, mystery, romance, loss, compassion all kinds of emotions are experienced. Mr. Addison is a fantastic story teller who knows how to raise a large number of issues in his stories.

”The Tears of Dark Water” is about Somalians hijacking foreign vessels and piracy being the result of the breakdown of a country ravaged by civil war and the reason the population takes the law into its own hands in order to survive. This story although a fiction was inspired from the 2011 hijack of “The Quest” a US flagged sailing boat in the Indian Ocean by Somali pirates. The main players are lawyer Daniel Parker and his son Quentin (the victims), Paul Derrick (FBI hostage negotiator), Megan (the attorney), Ismail Ibrahim (the pirate’s second in command) Vanessa (Daniel’s wife) and Daniel’s father. The depiction of events is superbly characterized through the action of each player.

In alternating chapters each voice is heard as the drama progresses and thanks to double crosses, agency jurisdictional disputes and the machination of the world’s democracy we are plunged into one of those exciting and captivating drama. The narration is smooth and is intercepted with a lot exchange between players.

The story has two parts: at first is the piracy drama and negotiations between parties, the second part is the aftermath and the trial.

Mr. Addison took great care delivering a compelling and heartbreaking tale.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

"The Hunters Series", by Glenn Trust

Volumes 1-3

The three first volumes became so popular making a boxset at a reduced price is a great way to lure more readers in.

I have read "Eyes of the Predator", Sanctioned Murder" and "Criminal Enterprise by their own and enjoyed the thrilling ride into the world of crime and conspiracy. “The Hunters” is a team of superb characters that resolve matters of national interest although the plotlines retain a local southern Georgia flavour.

This is an addictive series that brings to life and paints through fiction a portrayal of victimization. Each book has a theme that brings out the good and the evil in humanity in a very interesting and suspenseful way.

This is a great collection I am happy to have in my library.

Monday, May 9, 2016

"Into Oblivion", by Arnaldur Indridason

Book 11, in Inspector Erlendur series

In his latest books Mr. Indridason brought us back in time when Erlendur was a young detective and the Cold War was in full swing. “Oblivion”, another prequel to the fabulous series and second to “Reykjavik Nights “, brings us back to 1979 into a captivating drama that sends Erlendur, our loveable protagonist to a remote area to investigate the discovery of a body found in a mineral lagoon.

Since the day he joined the police forces Erlendur was always one to be obsessed with cold cases and in a parallel mystery he goes off the grid and in his spare time his obsession snares every bit of his attention to get at the bottom of a case involving a girl gone missing during the Second Wold War near the American barracks known as Camp Knox.

As the two threads criss-cross each order Mr. Indridason writing is short and moody and offers another pitch-perfect procedural mystery. A common theme on the bitter relationship between the US military and the native Icelanders at the time wends throughout these two stories and is very interesting. We find the usual complex plotting, evocative setting, excellent character development and realistic and simple narratives. The pacing may be a bit slower than one may want in a mystery but it nevertheless takes us into absorbing investigations hard to put aside. This is another great addition that brings us back in time… Where will this series leads us next?

"The War of the Roses", by Warren Adler

Written in 1978 this novel was translated to a film starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in 1989 and was a huge success from the get-go. It tells the story of Jonathan and Barbara Rose iconic breakup of their marriage.

This story brings the dark side of the human nature. People just do the most horrible things to each other on the end of a marriage. Greed, materialism and selfishness whittle away at an individual’s integrity, destroy common sense and encourage turbulent feelings that lead to violence. Mr. Adler has created a masterpiece in his fictionalization of a macabre divorce.

I loved the book as much as I did watching the movie. The players antics are so vividly described I couldn’t help but picturing Douglas and Turner acting out their rage against each other, sad and funny at the same time. The narrative is well-done and entertaining. The details of how a relationship can deteriorate are extremely well-written. The dialogue is sharp, humoristic and brutal. The players are great: sexy, cruel, vengeful and resourceful.

“The War of the Roses” is a brilliant and clever book, wildly funny and deeply disturbing

Monday, May 2, 2016

"Fifth Column", by Mike Hollow

Book 2, in the Blitz Detective mysteries

This series is set in 1940 during the London Blitz in the Essex County Borough of West Ham, one of the main targets of Hitler’s bombers and it is where Detective Inspector John Jago operates. When there is suspicion of murder, Jago’s job is to investigate and bring the killer to justice, even if it is in the middle of an attack.

The first novel “Direct Hit” opened when the Blitz began and the second continues this captivating drama. “Fifth Column” opens after an air attack just ended and a search party had discovered the body of a young woman found dead on a bomb site but after a short investigation, it was questioned whether a bomb had really killed her or had she felt under a more sinister encounter. The hunt to uncover the truth had just begun……

This is another page turner, beautifully written to grab our attention from the start. Mr. Hollow perfectly blends some historical events into his police procedural and has provided a wonderful protagonist in Inspector Jago who must battle incompetence, indifference and deception to get to the truth. On top of that, Dorothy Appleton, the attractive American war correspondent (recurring character from book 1) threatens to distract him from his duty…and she does a good job of that. We have all good sorts of criminal activity and it is fascinating to follow Jago while he is tackling the case in middle of the blackouts with searchlights illuminating the skies, sirens wailing endlessly and dodging bombs looking for shelter or hunting down a suspect. Reading this story I couldn’t help but to imagine the typical 1940’s English chap wearing a bowler hat with an umbrella on hand and speaking with an impeccable British accent. Indeed this story is very visual, the descriptions, twists even the pacing leave an impression. The narration and dialogue are nostalgic and reflect beautifully the time and the circumstance. The author has obviously done his research with a great attention to details and has brought to life both his characters and the environment.

I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This is the Way I see it.