776

Re: Last Book Read...

The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen

I usually love Tess Gerritsen novels but this latest novel however, was a bit of a disappointment. Very bland and generic. It also contains
some strange goings on even for her. I also guessed who the culprit was about half way through.

Not one of her best.

777

Re: Last Book Read...

I finished reading Masters of the Air by Donald L. Miller, a history of the US 8th Air Force's bombing campaign in WWII. The aviation side of World War II is one of my lifelong interests and I found this a vivid and engaging narrative of the massive aerial battles over the Reich. An added bit of interest with this read was the knowledge that a Spielberg-Hanks miniseries has been in development for years and is apparently due to start shooting early next year. I can't wait to see these bombing missions rendered on screen with the aid of today's technology in the hands of people who genuinely care about presenting historical combat in a realistic style. A Bond related aside, Fukunaga was apparently announced as one the directors for the miniseries.

778

Re: Last Book Read...

"Blue moon" by Lee Child.

This is the newest Jack Reacher novel, I think. As usual Reacher enters a small town and helps someone, in this case an old man who is about to be robbed. It turns out the man and his wife have loaned far too much money from local gangsters to pay for their terminally ill daughter's treatment. The town is devided in half between Ukrainian and Albanian gansters. Reacher starts playing them against each other, Joiimbo-style. The Reacher novels are always good entertainment and "Blue moon" is no exception.

779

Re: Last Book Read...

Number24 wrote:

"Blue moon" by Lee Child.

This is the newest Jack Reacher novel, I think. As usual Reacher enters a small town and helps someone, in this case an old man who is about to be robbed. It turns out the man and his wife have loaned far too much money from local gangsters to pay for their terminally ill daughter's treatment. The town is devided in half between Ukrainian and Albanian gansters. Reacher starts playing them against each other, Joiimbo-style. The Reacher novels are always good entertainment and "Blue moon" is no exception.

I read this earlier this year, quite enjoyable...the Reacher novels are very easy reading - which isn’t a bad thing...it’s the last Reacher novel that Lee Child will write alone...he shared duties on the recently published The Sentinel with his brother, who now takes over sole writing duties...

YNWA 96

The Unbearables

780

Re: Last Book Read...

A shame really. How will Lee spend his days?

781

Re: Last Book Read...

I recently finished the first Jack Reacher book, Killing Floor. I enjoy the Reacher books but I found some of the violence, in this one, too graphic for my taste.

782

Re: Last Book Read...

I set myself a challenge at the start of the year to read 100 books.
Just finished number 81:
THOSE IN PERIL by Wilbur Smith.
Absolute garbage. I used to read loads of his books in the 80s & 90s; good actioneers I thought at the time. But this was dismal all-round. Ugly characters who spoke as if they were still entrenched in the Boer War, turgid action, plot holes and a worrying authorial emphasis on soft porn and racist attitudes. Horrible book.

783

Re: Last Book Read...

Number24 wrote:

A shame really. How will Lee spend his days?

In retirement, although he could help his brother with the next couple of books...

YNWA 96

The Unbearables

784

Re: Last Book Read...

The Spy Who Never Dies wrote:

I recently finished the first Jack Reacher book, Killing Floor. I enjoy the Reacher books but I found some of the violence, in this one, too graphic for my taste.

Yes, the earlier Reacher novels are more ‘raw’ in approach...

YNWA 96

The Unbearables

785

Re: Last Book Read...

Haynes car manual for Nissan Micra (2003 - 2010)
Not much of a story but full of facts  ajb007/wink

"I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."

786

Re: Last Book Read...

I’m taking the time to reread my 10 favourite books, in no particular order.

The first is, The Rats by James Herbert. This was Herbert’s first novel and a very exciting and thrilling, raw, read it is. Set in London, it is about a plague of dog size rats, whose bite is lethal. There are lots of genuinely scary scenes, with the invasion of a school particularly brilliant.

There is no doubt that Herbert’s writing improved in later novels, but this first novel remains my favourite of his.

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

787

Re: Last Book Read...

Agreed, I got the "Rats" Trilogy on Kindle hadn't read then since I was a teen.   ajb007/martini

"I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."

788

Re: Last Book Read...

You’re a man of impeccable taste, TP  ajb007/cheers

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

789

Re: Last Book Read...

CoolHandBond wrote:

I’m taking the time to reread my 10 favourite books, in no particular order.

The first is, The Rats by James Herbert. This was Herbert’s first novel and a very exciting and thrilling, raw, read it is. Set in London, it is about a plague of dog size rats, whose bite is lethal. There are lots of genuinely scary scenes, with the invasion of a school particularly brilliant.

There is no doubt that Herbert’s writing improved in later novels, but this first novel remains my favourite of his.

I remember reading this and enjoying it…even though it was many years ago  ajb007/crap  ajb007/lol

YNWA 96

The Unbearables

790

Re: Last Book Read...

Chronicle of a Death Foretold & No  One Writed to the Colonel.

I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Two great novellas. I thought I had a copy of Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores, but I can't find it. Next up ' Sad Wind from the Sea' by Jack Higgins

Last edited by chrisno1 (14th Nov 2020 15:25)

791

Re: Last Book Read...

I just yesterday started Erebus, by Michael Palin. I'll let you know if the crew engages on to the sport of fish slapping....

"I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
-Mr Arlington Beech

792

Re: Last Book Read...

0073 wrote:

I just yesterday started Erebus, by Michael Palin. I'll let you know if the crew engages on to the sport of fish slapping....


An excellent read, and, at risk of a spoiler, it was indeed the fish slapping that caused them to lose their way.

793

Re: Last Book Read...

chrisno1 wrote:

Next up ' Sad Wind from the Sea' by Jack Higgins

And I rather enjoyed this. Its Higgins' first ever novel - from 1959 - and published under the author's real name Harry (Henry) Patterson. Set in Macao and featuring ex-US Navy Commander Mark Hagen, the novel follows his attempts to retrieve a sunken cache of gold bullion from under the noses if Red Chinese agents. Suspense, action, a tad of romance, occasionally quite nasty; a brief thriller with a laconic hero in the Humphrey Bogart style - as I read it I imagined him visually as Hagen even if the description wouldn't fit.

It's made me want to read more of Higgins' output.
Any recommendations??

794

Re: Last Book Read...

A Study in Scarlet
Doyle, 1887
this was the first Sherlock Holmes adventure.
I had reread the Sidney Paget illustrated stories a couple years back (there is a common hardcover edition that compiles four volumes of short stories with Hound of the Baskervilles) but had not read this one since I was a lad.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/ArthurConanDoyle_AStudyInScarlet_annual.jpg
Here is the original cover, as found in wikipedia.
No, its not the edition I read. I suspect the original is mighty rare, as I don't think the novel was successful until republication a few years later.


Novel is neatly divided into two parts.
The first two chapters are the origin of the Holmes/Watson team: Watson returning from Afghanistan needs a roommate to afford living in London on a military pension, and is introduced to an eccentric character hanging round the chemistry labs at the hospital, who has found a flat on Baker St he cannot afford by himself.
Holmes shows off his reasoning skills to Watson in a series of minor displays while Watson argues his new roommate cannot possibly know these things, it must be a trick of some sort.

Remaining chapters of Part 1 relate the first mystery Watson witnesses Holmes solve, and introduce official police detectives Lestrade and Gregson. A corpse with no signs of injury, some clues only Holmes seems able to see but does not explain, and two highly competitive police detectives who each rush off to arrest the wrong person while Homes chuckles smugly.
Part 1 concludes with Holmes capturing the real murderer right in his Baker St flat, as witnessed by Watson Lestrade and Gregson. So far we have no clue as to Holmes's reasoning except from his own cryptic braggadocio, yet the captured man confesses. What the heck has been going on?

Part 2 suddenly becomes something altogether different, seemingly an unrelated novel told in the third person, and a distinctly different narrative voice from Watsons precise observational style. We watch the travels of the Mormons to Salt Lake City, similar to Moses' journey in Exodus, followed by a tale of rivalry for a young ladies hand in marriage in a community of polygamists, religiously ordained murder and vows of revenge.
Doyle sure makes the Mormons look bad in these sections, and I gather he apologised years later. Yet til this day there are still occasional news stories about not too different atrocities taking place in the various closed religious communities hidden up in the mountains of the west coast.

Story returns to London for the final two chapters, and back to Watson's first person narrative voice. The murderer does not repeat the backstory we have just read (so I wonder "who" is writing the first five chapters of Part 2?) but does precisely explain how he carried out the murders.
In the final chapter we get to the usual bit where Holmes explains his reasoning to Watson, and because he is jealous of Lestrade and Gregson receiving public credit for his own genius, he encourages his new roommate to write and publish what really happened.


A while back I watched the first episode of the Moffatt/Cumberbatch/Freeman version of Sherlock Holmes set in the modern day. The scenes where Holmes and Watson first meet and move in together are almost exactly adapted from this book, except for period trappings. It's an impressive bit of temporal transposition: Not only is the British army back in Afghanistan, but big city rent is even less affordable to a bachelor living alone than in 1887! so that all makes sense.
The mystery Homes solves in the teevee episode shares some key elements...

Spoilermurderer is a London cabbie, and offers his victims a choice of one poisoned pill or an identical placebo

...but otherwise not similar, in particular there is no Salt Lake City backstory.

Last edited by caractacus potts (3rd Dec 2020 17:21)

795

Re: Last Book Read...

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (Eric Blair), published 1949.

This was one of the books I studied for my O-level exam in 1973 and is the second on the list of my 10 favourite books I am re-reading.

This is probably the the most predictive novel ever written. In fact it is staggering how relevant it is from how the world has been over the last few years.

Thought crime, curtail of freedom of expression, history being rewritten or cancelled, repressive state regimentation and surveillance, are all in the book and is happening today.

The hero is Winston Smith who’s job is to rewrite historical records to whatever the totalitarian government stance is on that day, so enemies become friends and vice-versa. He begins an illegal love affair with Julia and they are caught and he is re-educated in Room 101.

Tragically, he is broken down by the system and finally accepts his place in society.

This book is a stunning read and slowly but surely is coming true  ajb007/crap

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

796

Re: Last Book Read...

Everything you write is correct, but Orwell didn't predict one thing: the power and surveilance of private companies. Imagine everything Facebook and Apple knows about us  ajb007/amazed

797

Re: Last Book Read...

That’s true, but with Facebook and Apple force-feeding left wing propaganda as news, it seems they are under control of the Democrats anyway  ajb007/biggrin

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

798

Re: Last Book Read...

ajb007/lol  ajb007/lol  ajb007/lol
That will have to be fact checked  ajb007/tongue

"I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."

799

Re: Last Book Read...

I AM MALALA   by Malala Yousafzal

Very popular a few years back, the biography of the young women's rights campaigner and Nobel Prize winner, victim of the Taliban and survivor. The story is most interesting before the author's transfer to London when she reminisces on life in Pakistan's Swat Valley pre- & post- Taliban, the hopelessness and incompetence of the authorities, the indifference of the general population, the sheer backwardness of religious clerics, who ought to be enlightened. Nor does her story reflect particularly well on her family: I find it odd the father, who is very progressive, still does not encourage his wife to read & write. The issue is barely addressed and I think this hints at an inherent misogyny molding Pashtun society. Nonetheless, Malala's fortitude is breathtaking. I'd not realised how significant a figure she was BEFORE a rogue assassin wounded her. The depiction of that hellish moment was harrowingly visceral. Thereafter, the book tailed off a little into medical territory. The fact Malala isnt conscious for 5 days ensures the ghostwriter Christina Lamb has plenty to say  but these sections share less of an authentic voice.

Still, a worthy read.

Last edited by chrisno1 (13th Dec 2020 10:59)

800

Re: Last Book Read...

"Traverse of the Gods" by Bob Langley

This is a WWII thriller in the style of "The Guns of Navarone". But it's different in two important ways: with the exeption of the Swiss female character all the main characters are German. There are Americans in the story, but they are supporting characters.
The second difference is that this novel is more a mountain climbing story than a war story. A soldier named Sprengler is asigned to a secretive mountain climber unit in the gebirgsjägers by Hitler's special forces commander Otto Scorzeny. Their mission is to climb the famous Eiger in the Alps for some hidden purpose. Just to be clear: the main character s are German soldiers, but the tone is absolutely anti-nazi. I liked the novel in spite of a poor translation.