My guest reviewer Johnny is the type of bloke that sums up a book in a few very short but eloquent sentences, for those of you that aren't aware. It seems his short and sweet (although sometimes scathing) reviews are very popular with his last post for June being read over 300 times in a couple of days. So I can now give you Johnny's June Book Reviews, and shockingly he has given not one but TWO books 5 stars. I'm shell shocked!! It seems Michael Robotham and Mark Billingham have swayed him to give full marks. It seems that there are a few authors he recommends here although I must also add, that his last review's final line is brilliant!!!
Time of Death by Mark Billingham
Johnny’s Rating: 5/5
Johnny's Review: It’s very heartening to see Mr. Billingham back at the top of his game. The latest in the Tom Thorne series is another top notch read. Good storyline with an ingenious solution to a murder and, as always, cracking dialogue. Perhaps a little more sombre in mood as Thorne is placed in an alien environment - well Warwickshire - so the usual banter with his colleagues is absent until late on in the piece. Nevertheless this is the usual superb stuff; thoroughly recommended.
Johnny's Rating : 4/5
Johnny's Review: Fast paced thriller with plenty of action and violence. Very well researched with an in-depth knowledge of the political situation in Ukraine and Washington where the novel is set. Mr. Magson has written a well-crafted action thriller but with an acute understanding of the politics that drives the action. Highly recommended.
Johnny's Rating: 4/5
Johnny's Review: A fine novel by an accomplished author. Difficult to classify, it is ostensibly a story about espionage and the main protagonist, Marian Sutro, but it is much more than that.
Set during and after the war it is a character study of an extraordinary woman and her trials and tribulations. Mr Mawer writes with real insight and clarity about his characters and the intelligence community in general. A very well written book and highly recommended.
Life or Death by Michael Robotham
Johnny's Rating: 5/5
Johnny's Review: Compelling, intricately plotted, multi-layered thriller. The initial premise, why would a prisoner escape on the last day of a 10 year sentence, is brilliantly realised as the narrative unfolds. The main protagonist, Audie Palmer is, thank goodness, not a Jack Reacher clone, but an ordinary man placed in an extraordinary scenario. To reveal plot details would be a disservice to such a well written book. I urge you to read this offering from Michael Robotham, quite the best thriller I've read in a very long time.
Gumshoe by Rob Leininger
Johnny's Rating: 4/5
Johnny's Review: Of its type, this is an entertaining and amusing thriller. The Gumshoe of the title is Mort Angel who, in a midlife crisis, gives up his job with the IRS to become a P.I.. There's plenty of action and lots of jokes, many of which are actually funny.It's a good read and a pleasant way to while away a few hours, so yes, I'd definitely recommend it. The "but" you've anticipated is that it is difficult to avoid comparisons with Harlan Coben's novels featuring Myron Bolitar, which it closely resembles.Needless to say, in that contest there is only one winner, but that is not to denigrate Rob Leininger's book, it's well worth a try.
Flambe in Armagnac by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balan
Johnny's Rating: 3/5
Johnny's Review: This is another in the series featuring wine expert Benjamin Cooker and his assistant Virgile. The formula doesn't vary from book to book. There’s a suspicious death which Benjamin proves to be murder and then using his brains to reveal the murderer, with Virgile providing the muscle, if necessary. It's a little like eating coq au vin…perfectly pleasant and well-constructed, if not particularly memorable.