Saturday, 25 July 2009

Choosing Books for The Lunch Time Book Review

You might be asking how I choose books for 'The Lunch Time Book Review'? Well I don't choose books for 'The Lunchtime Book Review' specifically, I review the books I am reading anyway.

I have been a voracious reader since I was a small child, and still usually pile through several novels a week. I am the type of reader who will have several books on the go at once, and they will be dotted all around the house. My tastes run to thrillers, anything with a supernatural theme, the odd romance or two and anything else that catches my eye really.

I am incapable of walking into a book shop and only buying one book, that's why I love 3 for 2 offers, and I am one of Amazon's favourite customers!

The Watchman - Robert Crais

I have never read any of Robert Crais's books before, but I really enjoyed 'The Watchman'. Set in the broiling heat of Los Angeles, Joe Pike must accept a job as a bodyguard to a young, spoilt rich girl in return for help he had been given many years ago. His job is to keep Larkin Barkley alive, after she was involved in an accident in her car and saw somebody who did not want to be be seen or identified.

Keeping her safe might be the hardest job that Joe Pike has ever had to undertake, as whoever is searching for the girl seems to know where their secret location is everytime. Realising that he can trust nobody, not even the cops or FBI agents, he flees with Larkin and enlists the help of his old friend and colleague Elvis Cole. Joe realises that the only true way of buying Larkin's safety is turning hunter and finding his way through the maze of lies to find out why she is being targetted and who is the puppet master behind it all. In a race against time, where even Larkin's own father is telling lies and can't be trusted, can Joe Pike and Elvis Cole discover the truth and kill before they are all killed?

Action packed with a high body count, I think this is one the boys will like. Order a pint of bitter and some chips!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Nights of Rain and Stars - Maeve Binchy

'Nights of Rain And Stars' by Maeve Binchy is a gentle summer read. Five strangers from around the world gather one hot afternoon in a taverna high in the hills above the little town of Aghia Anna in Corfu. A tragedy is unfolding in the bay below them, as a pleasure boat suffers an explosion and many lives are lost. As they struggle to come to terms with what is happening far below in the harbour, they gradually open up to each other about the details of their lives, aided by the support of the elderly taverna owner, Andreas.

As they get to know each other better in the aftermath of the disaster, they also receive help and wisdom from Vonni, an Irish woman who escaped to the island to be with her love many years ago. Will Elsa, Fiona, Thomas and David be able to work through their individual problems and find the right path to follow to happiness? Will the magic of this sleepy little town in Corfu, dozing in the sun beside the sparkling blue sea help to heal their past and let them move forward with their lives?

Make a Greek salad, uncork a bottle of retsina and read this in one gulp!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Phil Rickman - The Smile of A Ghost

Merrily Watkins is no ordinary vicar looking after a parish. For a start she is female, she is a single mother and she also happens to be the Diocesan Exorcist or as they call it in these supposedly more enightened times 'deliverance consultant'

The Smile of a Ghost picks up Merrily's story when a teenage boy seemingly jumps to his death from the walls of a medieaval castle in the ancient town of Ludlow on the Welsh border. By the looks of it an 'open and shut' case of suicide, the boy's uncle, a retired detective called Andy Mumford, contacts Merrily to talk about his worries.

Merrily is drawn into a web of mystery in the old town, where it is hard to see whether events are supernaturally inspired or are the actions of man. More people will die and Merrily herself is put in danger, before she can get to the bottom of the mystery.

Another supernatural chiller, to snuggle under the duvet with. Have a large cup of strong tea and lots of chocolate!

The Good Guy - Dean Koontz

Most of us enjoy a couple of beers or a wine or two after work occasionally (or regularly!), but when Tim Carrier sits down to enjoy a quiet beer one night, he will find that it will change his life forever! He enjoys having a chat with the people who come in the bar, but on this particular evening is taken aback when a nervous stranger hands him an envelope full of cash, and the photo and address of a beautiful woman and then leaves with the chilling words 'Ten thousand now. You get the rest when she's gone.'

Within a few minutes of his departure his place is taken by another stranger; the man who was obviously supposed to have been given the money and the details. A hired killer. What does Tim Carrier do? His split second decisions will have a shattering effect on his future. Does he find the strength and courage to do the right thing and save a stranger, risking his own life in the process? Or will he turn the other way and try and forget it all happened?

A tense and eerie thriller, where Tim finds that he really does need to be 'The Good Guy' if he is to help Linda Paquette and find the killer who proves to be much more than a hired gun. Even with the help of his friend from Homicide, Pete Santos, will he be able to save all their lives?

A couple of glasses of red to gulp at the scary bits and a large bowl of crisps are required to navigate this truly chilling tale!

Friday, 10 July 2009

The House of Lost Souls - F.G Cottam

Now this book - The House of Lost Souls by F G Cottam - is as different to Kelley Armstrong's slightly tongue in cheek supernatural chills as day is to night. I am not easily spooked, but the is a creepy book that you want to read with the lights on and someone else in the house!

Ten years ago Paul Seaton stumbled into the wrong house and his life has never been the same and he clings to this sanity by threads. He is living a narrow but reasonably stable life, when everything in it is totally disrupted by the arrival of Nick Mason, an ex-soldier who needs his help. Nick's sister has also found her way into the notorious Fischer House and now Nick must find a way to save her before it is too late.

One of the few leads they have is a few photographs taken by the beautiful society photographer Pandora Gibson-Hoare, and they must delve into her life in the hedonistic upper class society of the 1920s to search for clues, unaware of the evil that they will find there.

Can Nick persuade Paul to return to the Fischer House in order to save his sister and her friends? Can Nick and Paul prevail against the terror that they find there?

A big glass of red and a family pack of Maltesers for this one!

The Swarm - Franz Schatzing

Now I am very partial to an 'end of the world is nigh, humanity is doomed' disaster novel or film, and The Swarm by Frank Schatzing is one of my favourites. A big book, with a story on a large scale, it takes you into the world's oceans amongs the creatures who live there. What would we do if the ocean's whales and dolphins suddenly started to attack shipping and fishermen? Or if previously harmless crabs and lobsters were suddenly mysteriously poisonous and started coming ashore in great waves? These are the questions that Inuit whale expert Leon Anawak has to ask himself and come up with the answers quickly, when reports of attacks on shipping start coming in from around the world and the animals that he studies off Vancouver island start display the same disturbing behavioural patterns.

So what or who is causing these disturbing new developments beneath the waves? Could it be that we have been searching for alien life in the wrong place, and it has been amongst us in our seas all along? Leon, the Norwegian scientist Sigur Hohanson, Jack Greywolf and the rest of a small band of disparate scientists around the world, frantically search for answers as time begins to run out, and the world as we know it begins to crumble. Their research also takes them on an inward journey, and for Leon particularly as he has to finally come to terms with his Inuit heritage and the sadness and tragedy of his early years.

I wouldn't recommended sea food for lunch, but a warm, hearty bowl of soup with fresh bread and a big mug of tea!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Broken - Kelley Armstrong

If you are a fan of Buffy, Angel or Torchwood, you will love the books of Kelley Armstrong. I suppose they could be described as supernatural horror or supernatural fantasy fiction. They are action-packed, have a bit of gore and can be very funny. The action centres around a Werewolf pack and a witch called Paige. Throw in some sorcerers, a few vampires and the odd necromancer and you have a rollicking romp that weaves between our world and that of that of the supernatural.

Broken takes up the story where pregnant werewolf Elena goes to Toronto to retrieve Jack The Ripper's 'From Hell' letter. What should have been a simple theft goes badly awry, and opens a portal that goes from Toronto to Victorian London and literally all hell is let loose. Cue infected rats, devious vampires and zombies until one of the werewolf pack has to risk their life to get the portal closed again.

Not really scary, but snuggle down on a comfy sofa with a bowl of nachos and sour cream and a large mug of hot chocolate!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Tutankhamun - Nick Drake

Tutankhamun by Nick Drake is the second outing for Rahotep, Medjay officer and super sleuth in Thebes in the time of Egypt's 18th Dynasty. Rahotep is summoned from his bed in the early hours of the morning to attend the unusually gruesome murder scene of a young man. When the murderer strikes again, along with his faithful assistant Khety, he has to try and get inside the head of the murderer and find out what is motivating him.

As events spiral out of control, Rahotep is once again sucked into the very heart of Egyptian political life and intrigue, when he is summoned by the young queen Ankhesenamun, wife of pharaoh Tutankhamun to discover who has been leaving gifts and messages in the palace designed to terrify the royal couple. She needs him to find out who is behind this campaign of terror and fast!

Can the events in the city of Thebes and those in the palace be connected? Which of the powerful courtiers surrounding the pharaoh and his queen are implicated? Will Rahotep only discover the information he is seeking too late to prevent a major tragedy?

An atmospheric and detail filled murder mystery adventure set in Ancient Egypt - get your hammock out in the sun, chill a nice bottle of dry white and fill a bowl with grapes as you disappear for a few hours into another time and ancient culture.