Month: September 2016

mal au cœur

      He sits by my side, his gaze seemingly stuck somewhere behind the computer screen. I talk to him, softly. Again. But still I get no reply. I stop what I am doing and I lean back, inconspicuously observing him somewhat more attentively than before, from the corner of my eye. Something is eating him up inside, I know him only too well. I just wish he’d talk to me. I’ve got everything sorted into neat piles on the bed, right there in front of us. We’ve stopped for a while, giving ourselves a little breather, alongside a cuppa and a biccie, and a wee little fluttering of wings around Twitter. Just to see if there are any new instalments in any of the sagas that have had our attention absorbed for the last few months — if not Brexit then May, if not May then Labour, if not Labour then Trump, if not either or each of them, or all of them combined in one great big heavy over-looming shadow, then this dismaying state …

Review: The North Water ~ Ian McGuire

Blurb: A ship sets sail with a killer on board . . . 1859. A man joins a whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. Having left the British Army with his reputation in tatters, Patrick Sumner has little option but to accept the position of ship’s surgeon on this ill-fated voyage. But when, deep into the journey, a cabin boy is discovered brutally killed, Sumner finds himself forced to act. Soon he will face an evil even greater than he had encountered at the siege of Delhi, in the shape of Henry Drax: harpooner, murderer, monster . . .  Yes. That is all you get, to pique your curiosity as you’re about to buy this book. Short and sweet and to the point. Says it all, without saying too much. As blurbs go, this one is close to genius. It works so well that I did indeed buy the book. So. The review. The North Water by Ian McGuire is a literary novel that, in the words of Colm Tóibín , is ‘riveting and darkly brilliant’ . …

Review: The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton ~ Katherine Hayton

My copy of this book was kindly sent to me by the author, Katherine Hayton, in return for an honest review. The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton is the second book I read by indie author Katherine Hayton. The first one was Skeletal, which is described as a ‘supernatural thriller’, and relates the story of the murder of a teenage girl who is bullied at school and slowly descends into madness. I think I gave Katherine 3 stars for Skeletal, inasmuch as I’d love to have seen the protagonist’s mental illness differently explored. The title however stayed in my mind, as did Katherine’s name as an author of consistent promise. So much so that, when Katherine asked for readers for her new novel, I did not hesitate. I knew it would be a crime thriller, and I knew Katherine would not disappoint my expectations. And she didn’t. Hayton’s new book, The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton, tells exactly the story of its title. There is a teenage girl, Magdalene Lynton, who lives in a religious …

Raven9 ~ George Donnelly

This short-story pinged into my mail box a few months back, an ad offer to stimulate my interest in a dystopian, libertarian short fiction collection soon to be released. I had read bits of George Donnelly’s fiction here and there, but when this came I thought he had finally hit the right track. This was sooo much better than anything else! There’s possibly one word too many, but that’s about the only fault I’ll find with this bit of fiction… Hope you enjoy this too — be sure to let me know as you finish reading it. ◊ Raven Number 9. My streets, my city, my prey. Mine. I alone defend it now. For the ancestors! *** “It was all black!” Rona pushed herself against the wall behind a dusty, bannerless stairwell and sobbed. “Relax.” Dane tapped his ear. “Wolf to Roundhouse. Come in.” He paused but no answer came back. The deep guttural throom of the floating vehicle zoomed toward them. Rona threw herself into Dane. “You said it would be in and out. …

books, books, books — and prizes

Wow! Hasn’t this been a busy day, where books are concerned! The first bit of worthy book news is that the shortlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize has just been announced. So excited everyone seems to have been (and not just us humble readers waiting for a verdict) that the Man Booker Prize even tweeted the results before the press conference. So, here are the titles: Paul Beatty, The Sellout Debora Levy, Hot Milk Graeme Macrae Burnet, His Bloody Project Ottessa Moshfegh, Eileen David Szalay, All That Man Is Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing The surprise here, for me, is that The Many, a book that some tipped as a very serious contender, didn’t make it into the shortlist after all. Of the ones that did, I already had four added to my list (Levy’s, Burnet’s, Szalay’s and Thien’s), so I only have to look forward to Beatty’s The Sellout and Moshfegh’s Eileen. … On a definitely more modest scale than the Man Booker Prize, there’s a new armful of books being added to the reading list, this time …