Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

* * * * * * * * * *  10/10

Douglas Adams

200px-Dirk_Gently_front_coverI was utterly delighted with the brief reference to Hitchhikers.

It’s been sat for so long on my to-read shelf, I ended up watching it on Netflix before I ever got near it. Then I googled it and found out there’s a British TV show which I still need to sit down with, and finally I remembered I have the book, gathering dust.

Svlad Cjelli, otherwise known as Dirk Gently is not a psychic, not even a little. Definitely not. It’s just coincidence.

He is a holistic detective who will find your missing cat through proving the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.

It’s exactly the kind of book you’d expect from Douglas Adams, and every bit as good as Hitchhikers.

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Killjoy

* * * * * * * 7 / 10

LeVar Ravel

517uZolDueL._SY346_Elizabeth, known better as Gwen, has been made a fool of. Her husband and their business have been made fools of. The only reasonable way to deal with the cause of their unhappiness is with a hitman.
The best man for the job is the man who makes his hits look like suicide, making certain that his employers are never implicated in the death at all. No one knows how he does it, they just know he’s the best.
The story starts off well and is hard to put down. The characters interact well, Gwen and Charles in particular, and in a way that while it’s easy to see how they got where they are, it’s still frustrating. By the end of the book, it was like I’d known them for years.
It does come a little heavy on the moral lessons, the ending a little cloying. The story itself is good, though.

The Soul of Nemach

* * * * * * 6/10

Scott Butcher

download (1)A story set in the 40’s, where the threat of Nazi invasion is palpable. Nemach and Humphrey must outwit the bad guys and stop them interfering in the filming of a movie that could aid the war effort.

It’s a nice little comedy which at times feels a little under-written. I got the impression that I had picked the book up mid-way through a series. Being a short book, there wasn’t much time to get to know the characters so they came across as being a little one-dimensional.

Even so, it’s not a bad story and could be an excellent series if the author gives it a little more attention.

Coldheart Canyon

* * * * * * * * *  9/10

Clive Barker

download (1)Todd Pickett has a face-lift that goes horribly wrong, and has to go into hiding until he has recovered, in the hopes that he will recover. The perfect hiding place is found in Coldheart Canyon. The beautiful house and grounds are neglected but liveable, and although are not to Todd’s usual tastes, he is quite happy to stay. It isn’t long before Todd finds out why Coldheart Canyon is so lost to the world, however.
This one was read in just a few days. I wasn’t sure about it to begin with, having started at the start like you do, about a canyon. It didn’t take long to get right into the story though. The the celebrity name-dropping made me smile, but at the same time made the book much more real and was much easier to get into the plot.
These are not people I can relate to, with problems that I am faced with and at no point was there an attempt to ‘normalise’ these super-stars for me. This was much appreciated.
Where I was disappointed is in how much story happened after the story ended. Everyone except the dead got their happy-ever-after, everything worked out well and it was as glittery, shining and fake as the people the book is mocking. In a way it was the perfect ending, but it went on for a little too long and felt a bit like the author was uncertain of where to stop.

Chicken Boy – Books

* * * * * * * * 8 / 10

Frances O’Roarke Dowell

I had to buy the book called Chicken Boy. How can you not buy a book called Chicken Boy?

I was only a little disappointed it wasn’t about a chicken-boy hybrid monster that terrorises all who get in its way.

Tobin is a young lad whose mum has died, dad isn’t quite able to fill her shoes and Granny is not quite all there. He’s failing at school and has little hope for a future, until he meets Henry. Henry likes chickens.
It’s a story of friendship, having faith in your friends and in yourself, aimed at 11- 13 year olds.

Grand Theft Octo – Books

* * * * * * * * * * 10 / 10

Niels Saunders

What starts of as a fun trip to crazy town takes a dark turn into horrified fascination. Jonathan Doe is a con-man selling whatever it is you’re willing to buy, be that an assurance your plants will be fine while you’re away or that your octopus is in dire need of teasing. He’s brimming with self-assurance, fun, insane and somehow manages to bend the world to his will while at the same time failing hugely in whatever he’s doing.

The failing part is largely due to Caputo, the hotdog in the middle. Just as in what happens to the story, Caputo will take all your fun and crazy and twist it into something unpleasant and violent.

Jonathan Doe is charming and funny, at first appearing superficial but as he reels from one situation to another it becomes clear there’s more to him than meets the eye… while at the same time he continues to be… well, superficial.

Dust Blowing – Books

* * * * * * * 7/10

Margaret Skea

I don’t read many books of short stories, for no particular reason.
This one has a lot to offer. Some stories are sad, some frightening in their own way, some are hopeful. The common theme seems to be a battle of some sort or another. A few are battles be with yourself in doing the right thing, some with yourself to do the necessary thing.
The writing is good, the ideas in each story work well and for the most part they complement each other despite all of them being so different. There was one story, Finding Rose, that I just couldn’t get on with and to me seemed to stick out from the rest like a sore thumb. The rest of the book though was excellent.