Playing With Fire Tess Gerritsen

51v584gXV-L._AA324_PIkin4,BottomRight,-59,22_AA346_SH20_OU02_ 61VFFb1OtgL._SL160_

Playing With Fire   Tess Gerritsen

Julia is a musician; she has a successful Husband who loves her, and a beautiful three-year-old daughter who she dotes over. Life is pretty much perfect.

The book starts with Julia buying a book of Gypsy Music whilst on a trip to Rome. Within its pages she finds an original piece of music by an unknown composer. Reading the music and playing it in her head Julia finds it complicated but beautiful.

When Julia arrives home she plays the piece for the first time she waits till her three year old daughter Lily is playing quietly by herself, before taking out her violin and playing the piece. As she reaches the end of the piece her daughter comes running into the room covered in blood and holding a gardening fork. From that point on Julia’s life changes; the relationship with her family is affected by her thoughts and at the centre of it all that piece of music: Incendio.

In Julia’s attempts to discover the origins of the music another story unfolds and the reader is transported to 1930’s Italy where a young musician, Lorenzo, is given his grandfathers violin and asked to take part in a duet competition with a young lady he has never met before. They are from different backgrounds and would never have met if it wasn’t for the music, but there blooming relationship has one major problem. Lorenzo and his family are Jewish and the Italian Fascists are beginning to act like their German allies and alienate the Jews. The young lady and her family try to warn Lorenzo’s family of the change in attitudes towards the Jewish community and convince them to escape before they are interned and transported to Poland with the rest of the Jews caught up in the horrors of Hitler and Mussolini’s reign.

The 2 stories play out through the book. Lorenzo experiences in Europe during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Julia’s fight to prove her own sanity in America in the 21st Century.

Eventually the two stories inevitably come together in a spine tingling conclusion to a story that, at times, made the hair on my arms stand up.

It is very hard to do this book justice without giving away too much of the plot. As a rule I usually am happy to comment on anything that happens in the first half of a book but nothing in the second, to avoid the dreaded spoilers. I could happily write about this book all day but that would just ruin it for everybody else, and everybody should read this.

Whilst I was reading the book I had in my head the haunting violin piece from the film Shindler’s List. My daughter is a good violinist and I have seen her reduce people to tears playing that piece, and there is the obvious connection between the film and this story.

Then I discovered that Tess Gerritsen has composed a piece of music, Incendio, and had it recorded by one of the top violinists in the world. I had it playing whilst I wrote this blog. Just as it is described in the book it is a beautifully haunting waltz with a tumultuous finale.

So I guess this is not only a book review but in a way my first music review.

All I can say is both are 10/10. I loved the book, I loved the music. What a talented woman

Thank You Tess Gerritsen

Advertisements

Why is publishing so geographical

Ramblings of a bookworm

From an early age I have been reading, in fact you would do well to catch me without a book in reach. For years it was paperbacks, often second hand, as I got a bit older I started to treat myself to hardbacks so as I could read my favourite authors as soon as they were published. Now it’s all about the download, I have dozens of books on my Kindle and a few on my iPad from the Apple Store.

It is this new download age that has got me asking questions.

As an avid reader I spend a lot of time browsing bookshelves, whether they are in indie bookshops, Supermarkets, or the big chains such as Waterstones. Why am I not finding print books on the shelves I know are available online?

At first I thought it might be a geographic thing. Some of the writers I’ve found online are from other country’s and maybe they haven’t found a market in the UK. Then I started finding really good UK authors I’d never heard of. Mari Hannah is a writer based in the northeast, she has written the best Police procedural thrillers I have ever read. Can I find her books on the shelves in the Midlands?Only in the biggest of the big bookshops, and only if I had already heard of her and knew where to look. There are more big displays for the latest John Grisham or Stephen King, in fact a recent trip to my local Waterstones found no UK writers books on their main display table.

So maybe it is a more localised geographical issue. Maybe you have to be a really local author to get into your local shops. No, there is another excellent writer Angela Marsons who is hot on Mari’s heels as, in my opinion, the top Police Procedural writer at the moment. She sets her books in my local town in the Black Country, she lives and works close to the same area, the only place I have ever seen her books are on Amazon. She even mentions one big supermarket in her books, they have a big book section, I look through it every Sunday when I go shopping. Have I ever seen one of her books in there? No.

So why are the bookshops not carrying these books. Is it because it’s easy to sell the big names?, or maybe the publishers are not out there pushing them enough. I know the writers are tireless in the promotion of their own books. There is hardly a week go by when they are not at a literary festival. Twitter is awash with them retweeting reviews, all online.

I write reviews on this blog. I’m lucky enough to get pre-published books to do early reviews, and yes it is online so people who read it use computers, tablets or smart phones to read it. But many people have not yet crossed over to e-readers. Recent figures have shown that the figures for ebooks are falling whilst the figures for actual books are back on the rise. I get dozens of people contacting me when I give a book a good review on, or after publishing day, asking me where they can get a copy because “they’ve looked everywhere and couldn’t find a copy”

I know the next generations first port of call for most shopping these days, especially books, is Amazon. They are missing out on touring around bookshops reading the backs and inside the cover. They are missing the adventure of popping into a shop to find something to read and losing a couple of hours of their lives as they get carried away browsing the shelves.

Don’t get me wrong I love Amazon, I like the way it gives me suggestions based on what I’ve previously purchased, but it’s not as good as the conversations I have with the people who work in bookshops. I know I have found some fantastic writers, who’ve given me some fantastic stories and characters, but I wonder how many other people have missed out by just not living in the right part of the country.

Heavy Hour Patrick Brown

Heavy Hour Patrick Brown

Is a murder at a wedding related to an incident that happened 10 years before? I’m sure this has been the basis of many books in the past, but not many will have evolved into a story as good as this one.

On Jelly and Dillon’s wedding day Dillon is cruelly murdered. The Police investigation identifies no suspects so the family turn to a friend, local security expert Salem Reid.

As Salem begins his investigation it draws him towards a mysterious man. The man is violent and a sexual predator. What’s worse is he makes and distributes violent pornography.

Can Dillon have been involved, or is it coincidence that joins them.

Patrick Brown is a very descriptive writer. During the scenes of sexual violence he does not hold back and it is rare for me to say a book goes too far but this one came close. However it didn’t cross the line, I didn’t put it down and I have to say I really enjoyed the story.

This story is told from an independent point of view, the main protagonist is a family friend who helps the grieving widow. There is no abundance of the scientific methods used by the police in a modern investigation. Salem Reid uses observations. He follows people, he thinks things through, makes connections and then acts on them.

This is a good book with a good story. Its told from an unusual point of view. It kept me reading from start to finish. That has to be a good sign

Would I recommend this book? Yes but not to anybody feint-hearted

The Wrecking Crew Taylor Zajonc

The Wrecking Crew   Taylor Zajonc

The book starts with a plane full of scientists being shot down whilst they are investigating a mysterious red kelp off the Horn of Africa, continues with a prison escape, luxury yatch theft and that’s just the first few pages.

Are the uber-rich causing the pollution in the gulf fro their mega-structure in the sea? One mans greed and vision has created a land that belongs to no kingdom but is it working as well as he thinks it is.

Dr Fatima Nassir was that crashed. Her son breaks Jonah Blackwell out of prison to help him find justice for his mother and to recover her research.

Blackwell is one of the most complex characters of have encountered recently in a book, but what a character a cross between Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne. That alone is worth reading this book for.

Every good adventure thriller needs a bad guy, and it’s easy to dislike Charles Bettencourt from the start. Rich, obnoxious, corrupt and outright nasty, the perfect villain

This book has everything a Clive Cussler fan would like, at times I forgot I was reading a book and was transported back to the boys own tales of the Warlord comic I used to read in the 60’s and 70’s.

Did I like this book? Yes.

Would I recommend this book? Yes but, I think it’s a male thing, and without being sexist I really don’t see many of my female friends liking it.

Mr Zajonc I look forward to your next book.

City on Fire Garth Risk Hallberg

City on Fire     Garth Risk Hallberg

This is a mammoth book running in at well over 900 pages. Each one is carefully crafted a takes the reader on several journeys, I think each of which may have made a good book on their own.

Set in the mid 70’s New York my baby boomer generation saw as a gang ridden dangerous city, where big money lived next to ghettos, where the music scene was in full swing, as disco was giving way to punk.

Hallberg could not have chosen a better city to paint his literary tapestry, nor better people to use as his characters.

The book introduces us to a diverse set of characters that seem entirely unrelated; but as a blizzard hit New York prepares to ring in 1977 two shots ring out.

The investigation into the shooting brings more characters into the story. Like cogs in an engine they all play their role, the actions of one inadvertently affecting those of others. Eventually the cogs start to rotate as one, and during the Blackout of July 1977 a revelation.

If you like Edward Rutherfurd’s style of writing; but prefer Ed McBain’s stories this book will be perfect for you.

If, like me, you love a good book then this one is definitely for you, but be prepared its long and it doesn’t get put down very often.