book reviews , different studio guests each week. Join us every Thursday between 12 and 1pm on Radio Scilly 107.9fm or log on to radioscilly.com.

Missed any programmes? See below for list of guests, books and other details discussed.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Sophie Kinsella - Wedding Night

reviewed live on bookshow by Maggie Perkovic 17th July 2014. .
This book has been in the best sellers' list and it is very very funny.
Younger sister Lottie has just left a romance where she thought she had found "the one"
and when it all went wrong she went and married her boyfriend from fifteen years ago.
Big sister  is very anxious about a "rebound" marriage, going through an awful divorce
herself she decides to stop this marriage before the Wedding Night. As she (Fliss) is in
the holiday trade she has contacts and is about to sabotage their perfect honeymoon in
a perfect Honey Moon hotel.
What follows is extremely hilarious. Add to the mix a little boy who makes up stories
about his life and his mother (Fliss) to her extreme embarrassment, and other characters
who contribute to the mayhem and you have a perfect holiday read.
I loved it and would love to see a film of the whole adventure!!!
Maggie Perkovic.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Elizabeth McGregor - The Ice child

I enjoyed this book, the mix of fact with fiction on the doomed Franklin expedition to the Arctic in 1847.  An Expedition, which disappeared while searching for the Northwest Passage.
The book opens with the mother polar bear and her cub.  This drew me in straight away, I could visualise the bears on their journey of survival.
It then shifts to the UK.  Jo Harper is a reporter for a local paper.  She is asked by her editor to follow up a story on a missing archaeologist Douglas Masters, a minor celeb, who has gone missing while on a mission to find any artifacts of the Franklin Expedition.
Jo's interest picks up after she speaks to his estranged wife and watches video footage of Marshalls last attempt to the Artic.  It then becomes a girl meets boy kind of scenario, they fall in love and have a child named Sam. 
Her stepson is very cold towards her and harbours an anger towards his father, the estranged wife is very vindictive and obsessively domineering.  But things go drastically wrong and a family tragedy occurs.
Alongside the present we keep returning to the past and that ill fated Arctic voyage presented as a running account narrated by a 16-year-old sailor named Gus.  The plight and struggles of the crew, the struggle of the polar bear to feed her cub in the ever shrinking polar ice and Jo's family tragedies are parallels of endurance and bravery under great odds.
I've never read one of this authors books before and I was worried it was going to be a M&B type romance but my worries were unfounded.  Although the ending was very predictable the story was enjoyable.

Simon Kernick - Ultimatum



reviewed live on bookshow by Brian Lowen 3rd July 2014
Another fast paced thriller from the pen of SK. 
The central character is Jones – ex military (Afghanistan) and ex cop (Metropolitan Police) who after being dismissed from the force for beating up a criminal, joins a gang working to free the country from immigrants by committing a series of terrorist attacks and getting them blamed on the Muslin community. He is working as an undercover agent for Detective Inspector Bolt, his old boss in the Met.

As in previous stories by Simon Kernick it also features Tina Boyd, a maverick cop who works with Bolt, and loves the action, but this always gets her into trouble with the ‘go by the book’ brigade, and Mike Bolt has to rescue her from the situations she gets in.

The story casts a morbid outlook on the future of our country with the Police being hamstrung by the Health and Safety Act and the Human Rights Act.

The story has an explosive start with two bombs going off in London in quick succession with the promise of a much larger attack promised at 8.00 pm if their demands are not met.
All troops must be removed from Afghanistan. This of course is something that the Government will not do, so Bolt and his team

are set the task of catching the terrorists before their ultimatum expires.

Another great thriller from Simon Kernick, with good characters and packed with fast-paced action. Recommended.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Simon Lelic – Rupture



review by showhost
Finalist in ‘John Creasey Dagger Award’ in the Specsavers Crime thriller Awards for best first novel 2010.  Fav author is Cormac McCarthy. 
The book has a very unusual style.  I had to re-read the first page before I got the gyst of it.  We learn at the outset that a teacher shoots 3 pupils, a colleague and himself.  As far as the police are concerned the teacher, Samuel, was a psychopath, it was a tragedy that could not have been predicted. So get the statements, write the report & wrap up the case with out fuss.  Lucia May is the policewoman assigned to the case.
The story opens with a monologue.  It is a one sided interview with a pupil.  We read the answers not the questions.  Lucia May interviews 15 people, children & adults, teachers pupils & parents.  All the interviews are written in this monologue style.  They are interspersed with a normal narrative when Lucia isn’t interviewing, when she is back at the police station or with friends.
What comes out of the interviews is the abuse the perpetrator suffers at the hands of pupils & bullying from colleagues and you actually start to feel sorry for him  You feel it almost justifies what he did.
At the time of the shooting thee is a pupil from the same school recovering in hospital after a brutal attack.  An attack which happened outside of school but the attackers were possibly fellow pupils.  Institutionalised bullying runs through the story, including Lucia.  Parents almost accept it as something they have to live with.  The headmaster is portrayed as someone who makes the colleagues & pupils stronger ‘Get on with it lad’, stiff upper lip’.

The interviews are cleverly constructed & the voices portray the character of each person, painting a picture of them in your mind.  Some of the revelations are shocking.
I found it a good, unusual book.  It would be very good for a book group discussion as it certainly raises questions and makes you want to talk about it & definietly gets a reaction from the reader (at least it did this one).




Thursday, 12 June 2014

Kate Atkinson - Life after life

review by showhost
A Costa Novel Award winner 2013.....
Well I got to page 400 before giving up and I don't think I would have got that far if a friend hadn't told me about the basis of the plot beforehand.
Let me just say though the writing is very good and the detail of the period/s is very precise which is why I kept with it for as long as I did.  I am a fan of KA, especially the Brodie novels BUT by page 400 I couldn't stand to go through another scenario again.
"What if you had the chance to live your life again & again until you finally got it right?" - well this book is based on those scenarios.
1910 - stowstorm in England, a baby is born with cord around its neck & dies.  We go back with same scenario except the doctor arrives in time to cut the cord - baby lives.
1915 - children playing by beach, child drowns.  Re-run that scene but child is saved by someone who happens to be passing.  Then comes the war
1918 Armistice - various scenarios - then 1947 and peace.
1920's,
then 1930's & 40's.  Another war, lots of scenarios.  Back to 1910 for a quick reminder and once into 1967.
The main character is Ursula through all these decades and scenarios, along with her family and friends.
Who is very likeable.

It was a clever idea and how many of us must have wondered what would have happened if only we had taken another path in life or done something sooner to avoid the crisis but  I really couldn't read another repeat of the family, by page 400, it was becoming tedious.
Sorry but I would have been one of the minority who would have given it 3 out of 5 stars.

R D Wingfield - A Touch of Frost



review written and read live on bookshow by Brian Lowen 12th June 2014

I will quote the blurb on the back cover of the book as it is very good (unlike some I have read)

D I Jack Frost, officially on duty is nevertheless determined to sneak off to a colleague’s farewell party in the canteen upstairs where there is free booze and food.  But first the corpse of a well- known local down and outer has been found blocking the drain of a local public toilet, and when Frost attempts to join the revels later on he is diverted to a missing person’s case – the daughter of a wealthy business man has been reported missing.

Sleepy Denton has never known anything like the crime wave that now threatens to submerge it. A robbery occurs at the Town’s notorious strip joint, the Coconut Grove, the pampered son of a local MP is suspected of a hit and run offence, and to top it all, a multiple rapist is on the loose.

Frost is reeling under the strain, his paperwork is still in arrears and now, more than ever, his self- righteous colleagues would love to see him sacked. But Frost plods on in his own inimitable style, ignoring correct procedures and causing his boss, Supt. Mullet to tear his hair out. It is interesting to see how some of the various crimes are interlinked and there are several twists and turns to the story.

If you have watched the series on the TV then you will have a picture of David Jason’s character as you read the story and I think that will remain in place, although he is a bit rougher round the edges, and a more scruffier version than we see on the television.

But a great story, with policing being carried out by Frost as we all think it should be done.
Good characters and a real page turner. Recommended.
 

Ken Follett - Eye of the Needle



 review written and read live on the show by Brian Lowen 12th June 2014
This is the first novel produced by KF that really made his name.

The story is set during the second world war, coming up to D Day when the allied armies were preparing to invade France. Obviously it was important to keep secret the invasion plans and where the landings would be made on the coast of Europe.

In order to fool the Germans into thinking the invasion would be made across the straits of Dover into Calais a big deception was launched. A complete army was built in East Anglia. It looked like an army from the air but it was actually just shells of barrack huts and rubber pump up tanks and aircraft made out of plywood.

MI5 is tasked with eliminating any German spies in England that might have discovered this big deception and they were very successful, but one escaped their notice. This was a master spy, a personal friend of Hitler, who went under the code name of Die Nadal – the Needle. He had arrived in England in 1939 and taken up lodgings in London from where he could transmit messages back to Germany. He was known as Faber in England and spoke good English and used his time before the war started to perfect his accent and knowledge of the language.


He is tasked by Hitler to check on this army build up in Norfolk. And so he makes his way there and discovers the truth about the phantom forces and takes a reel of film to prove it.
He is discovered and has to kill several home guard people and this alerts MI5 to the fact that a spy is on the ground in this restricted area.

And so the hunt is on to catch him before he can get his film back to Germany. The chase is thrilling as he makes his way up to Scotland where he is due to be picked up by a U Boat off the east coast near Aberdeen.

The story reaches its thrilling climax on a remote island off the coast of Scotland which has just two cottages, one inhabited by a family comprising a disabled husband with his wife and young son plus an old shepherd living in the other cottage at the other end of the island.

The climax is very thrilling, raising your heart beat, as you empathise with the characters and will them on to succeed, and you can see why this book was such a great success and led KF on to write so many more great stories.

The story about the spy is fictional but the rest is fact and the Nazis were duped into thinking the invasion would be across the Dover Straits.

A great book, thoroughly recommended.