Recommended Blogs

February 10th, 2006

I've been wandering around a lot of book related blogs recently and I'm slowly building up a list of those that I really like.

If you have a look at the links on these blogs we're all starting to add others that are well worth the reading time. Feel free to let me know of any of your favourites.

Cock of the Walk, Wendy Laing

February 9th, 2006

Okay, this is a bit of an odd entry because I've not actually listened to the book yet, but I came across something fascinating on ebay recently and just had to bid and get a copy.

Cock of the Walk by Wendy Laing is an audio book on CD, self-published by the author / narrated by Amy Howard Wilson.

Wendy's website is http://www.wendylaing.com and the narrator's website is http://www.amyhowardwilson.com.

I thought what a great way to get yourself published. From the pamphlet that came with the boxed CD set the production is done in Virginia, USA and the publishing, sales and promotion is done at Wendy's home in Sunbury Victoria. Great idea.

Wendy's store is at http://www.stores.ebay.com.au/wendaveaudiobooks or http://stores.ebay.com/The-Wendave-Audio-Book-Shop

Now I've not listened to the CD's yet as I said, but I thought points for a different approach.

One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, Christopher Brookmyre

February 8th, 2006

Title: One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night
Author: Christopher Brookmyre
ISBN: 0-7515-3183-9

Gavin is a holiday tour operator turned big spending resort developer who was invisible at school. Simone, his wife, has had enough of Gavin and his philandering and wants a divorce, although Gavin doesn't know that yet. Catherine is the PR agent for the oil-rig resort and for reasons that even she doesn't even seem to understand, Gavin's latest lover. Matt is a successful stand-up comedian turned wealthy but less successful celebrity due to his part in an American sitcom, and Davie is a violent nutcase turned family-man painter.

What they all have in common is that they all went to the same Glasgow high school, and Gavin, in an attempt to rub in his success, has arranged a large school reunion on his latest project - an oil-rig turned luxury resort. Unfortunately along with the reminiscing and rekindling of old relationships, there is also the unexpected arrival of terrorist hijackers armed with machine-guns, rocket-launchers and not a whole lot of planning.

Whilst the bulk of their schoolmates are held captive, it is up to Matt, Simone, Catherine and Davie to save the day. To do that they team up with the charming and slightly mysterious security consultant Tim Vale and Hector McGregor the hapless, one day into retirement, police officer who stumbles upon the scene in his tartan pyjamas, still a little bit miffed about the local police treating him like a suspect when he was knocked unconscious by a severed arm.

This is classic Christopher Brookmyre. Social commentary, incisive and razor sharp observations of human nature and behaviour, all wrapped up in a rollicking lunatic scenario that is so over the top you have to wonder if it really did happen. Definitely gory, definitely confrontational and definitely not to be missed.

Well Really

February 7th, 2006
Karen Chisholm --
[noun]:

A person with a sixth sense for detecting the presence of goblins


'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

The Broken Shore, Peter Temple

February 7th, 2006

Title: The Broken Shore
Author: Peter Temple
ISBN: 1 920885 77 3

Joe Cashin is a Detective Sergeant from the Major Crime Squad who has been transferred to the small country station in his childhood home town, while he recovers from physical and emotional injuries sustained in an investigation. He lives, with his two poodles, in the only remaining section of the house his grandfather built and then partially destroyed (because he wanted to), and there's something of that streak of building and destroying in his entire family to this day.

When a wealthy, elderly local landholder is found brutally bashed in his home, Joe finds himself dragged reluctantly into the investigation which the local police conveniently decide has to be the work of local Aboriginals boys. There's outright antagonism between the whites and the Aborigines within the town and nobody in the white community seems all that surprised or upset when Aboriginal boys are killed as the police attempt to arrest them on suspicion of the bashing. But the local police seem to have only scratched the surface and Joe and his mates from the larger, Melbourne based crime squad are dragged into the investigation because of the political connections of one of the Aboriginal boys and the bashed man.

This main investigation weaves its way through the lives of Joe; a swaggie who helps to push Joe into decisions about his grandfather's house; and local solicitors and politicians, all of whom are involved in the sorts of secrets that can sometimes remain buried for so long in a small country town.

This is not a book for readers who don't like confrontational writing. The language is strong and pitched perfectly for the characters, their personalities, backgrounds and locations. The characters are starkly drawn and spotlighted so that all their imperfections and virtues are in very clear focus. The landscape contributes to both setting the location of the action and the mood of the characters and events. The mystery is nicely laid out with a final solution which is progressively revealed throughout the story in a way that is fair to the reader. The final outcomes, however, contain a unpredictable twist that prevents the reader from becoming complacent. Peter Temple has a way of writing the Australian story which is stunning in its clarity of vision and its honest, forthright summation of everything that Australia is, or was.