An odd selection of books to review, with no discernible thread linking them, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Only reading one genre would get very boring. First up is;
Cult Classics for the Modern Cult edited by Michelle Browne
Ten short stories all of which are possibly the type that might have been turned into a B-Movie classic. Not all of the stories work, but as each one is fairly short you’re soon onto the next. There are aliens, zombies, modern day sirens and everything in between. The book is almost worth buying for the first story alone. A rollercoaster ride to save the planet from an alien invasion. Another truly great story involved OAPs destroying zombies in a quaint English village. Overall I gave the collection 4 stars.
Murder on the Oxford Canal by Faith Martin
I will be honest, there were two reasons that I read this book. One, it was free, and two, I lived in Oxford for over 15 years. Any detective book set in Oxford is going to be compared to the Inspector Morse books by Colin Dexter. I used to work in the Kings Arms in the centre of Oxford, a pub that was frequented by Colin most weeks, and Morse also frequented. One of the books also featured the manager of the Kings Arms going for a run along the canal and finding a dead body. That could only be me. I also remember the time that the TV show was being filmed in the pub, and all of the extras had to walk around in their socks because the wooden floors were too loud. Anyway, back to the other canal murder and there is a lot going on in this book. The main inspector is being investigated for corruption, her boss only wants to look good on TV, there are drug smugglers using narrowboats and the big crime lord wants revenge. I gave this book 5 stars, which was probably a little generous, although the measure of a series is whether you would read the next book. I might, although Faith Martin is fairly prolific and I think there are almost 30 books in this series.
Betrayal (The 1000 Revolution) by Pippa DaCosta
Another free download to entice me to purchase the whole series, which is currently at 6 books, with more to follow. Betrayal is pure sci-fi, with inter-planetary smugglers, a Star Fleet equivalent, nefarious and double crossing locals and an evil corporation which makes robots that look like humans. It’s very fast paced and you’re never sure where the story is going next, or who is the good guy (or girl) and who isn’t. There isn’t anything original in this book, but it was enjoyable enough, although it is unlikely that I will download the next book in the series. I gave it 3 stars, which is fair.
Dreaming of Death by Jewels Arthur
A very short story where the main protagonist returns home, falls asleep and has three vivid dreams. First she is being attacked by aliens, then she is in a forest being attacked by trees and finally she is attacked by zombies. In all three dreams she is saved by or herself saves three unknown people. When she wakes up the next morning, the three mystery people in her dream are moving into the house across the street. All very strange and I gave the book 2 stars, which again I think is fair.
Thin Air: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver
This was a book that my lovely wife picked up from the local Free Little Library on the next street. The back cover states that it was chosen for Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 book club. I’m sorry but it must have been a slow month for new books. The book is set in the 1930’s in the Himalayas with a group of climbers attempting to climb a never before climbed peak. Previous attempts have all ended in disaster. I have two problems with this book. First, it takes too long to get going, although the final 30 pages are good, and secondly, I kept thinking about the Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E. Bowman, a brilliant mountaineering spoof (read my review here). The characters are interesting enough, although you do end up wanting the older brother to get his comeuppance sooner rather than later. Another book which I gave 3 stars, which once again I think is fair.