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Ian's reading log 2016

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The Twelfth Card by Jeffrey Deaver

 

A nail-biting suspense about why a professional hit-man would target a brilliant high-school girl, who is digging into a 140 year old mystery about her ancestor & his shocking secret

 

My Thoughts.

 

I've read a few of these now, so I know what to expect: lots and lots of twist, most of which you won't see coming. And if you do, it will be a double bluff. It's fast-paced, without losing any readability. My only problem? I guess that most readers. like me, know that there are twists, and so we look harder for them. This means that the author has to work harder to keep us on our toes; a kind of arms-race of red-herrings! So, at times, I did feel like I was being tricked, rather than just reading a book. Still really good though, so 4/5.

 

Interestingly, I picked this up at a charity shop without really looking at it. It turned out to be an "uncorrected bound proof" copy, which isn't something I've come across before

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Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver

 

James Bond, in his early thirties and already a veteran of the Afghan war, has been recruited to a new organization. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of MI5, MI6 and the Ministry of Defense, its very existence deniable. Its aim: To protect the Realm, by any means necessary.

A Night Action alert calls James Bond away from dinner with a beautiful woman. Headquarters has decrypted an electronic whisper about an attack scheduled for later in the week: 

Casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected.

And Agent 007 has been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to fulfill his mission . . .

 

My Thoughts

 

Jeffery Deaver & James Bond? What could go wrong? Well, something could, because I was left feeling a little underwhelmed by this. 

My first problem was the first couple of chapters. It felt like Deaver was trying just a bit too hard to introduce little bits to make the book seem more British.  And he didn't need to - he got it pretty much nailed down. Also, we seemed to spend a lot of time at the start re-introducing James Bond, who in this book is a modern day Bond. Is that really necessary? 

 

It settles down after the first quarter, and becomes much more readable, but still, it didn't come across to me as very exciting, and I can't pinpoint why.  Perhaps my expectations of this book were just too high. 3/5

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Shame this was a bit of a disappointment. I hope your next read will be nicer! I enjoyed reading your review, anyway.

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Blow Back by Peter May

 

When France's top chef, Marc Fraysse, summoned the world's press to make a shattering announcement, rumors abounded that he was about to lose one of his three coveted Michelin stars.  Instead, on arrival at his remote restaurant on a volcanic plateau in central France, they were greeted with the news that the troubled genius had been murdered, and the message he intended to deliver was never made.  Seven years on, the identity of his killer also remains an enigma.  

Enzo Macleod takes on his fifth cold case and delves into the big business and high stakes of French haute cuisine.  As winter sets in, and snow gathers along a volcanic horizon, he retraces long cold footsteps across a remote hilltop.  But unravelling the complex web of relationships that surrounded the brilliant and mercurial chef - a spurned lover, a jealous wife, an estranged brother, an embittered food critic--also leads to strange parallels with his own life.  And in opening up this celebrated cold case, he finds himself reopening old wounds from his past (taken from Goodreads)

 

My Thoughts

I thought I would enjoy this more than I did. I didn't really warm much to the main character - Enzo Mcleod. Maybe it's dropping into a series in the middle, rather than starting at the beginning, but he (Enzo) comes across as a bit of an insufferable know-it-all. He knows about wine, he knows about food. He can solve crimes that have baffled everyone else for years. Naturally, every woman in his presence falls for his charms. 

 

But, fair play, this is a memorable crime and it's well written and obviously well researched. The relationship between Enzo & the female police officer goes into a direction that I wasn't expecting and so was refreshing in what can be a bit of a cliche in crime novels of this type. I obviously need to read more. 3/5

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