Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Memory Game by Sharon Sant

Disclaimer: Despite the name of this blog Sharon is of no relation to me. This is an independent, unbiased review.

The Memory Game is the story of a fifteen year-old boy, David, who dies tragically before his time. The ghost of David hangs around and wonders why he hasn't moved on to wherever it is we are supposed to go to when we die. He wanders aimlessly unable to talk to anyone, a visit to his school leads him to discover that lonely, introvert, Bethany can not only see him but also talk to him. The Memory Game is the story of David and Beth's friendship.

I found this novel an enjoyable read. It was told simply, no unnecessarily over descriptiveness or redundant plot lines, so the novel had a wonderful flow to it. The story was tightly edited too, no daft typos or grammatical errors. The characters were interesting and well developed. There was a melancholy atmosphere to The Memory Game but, thankfully, it never crossed the line into bleakness. The blossoming friendship between the two main characters was sweet but never overdone, which gave it credibility. A great read suitable for all ages but that will appeal particularly to young adults.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Damage by Howard Linskey

I found The Damage to be a thoroughly entertaining novel. The author could have chosen to bring wall-to-wall violence to this gangster tale and it wouldn't have been out of place, he didn't and the story was richer for the suggestion of it. Don’t get me wrong, there is violent action but the most chilling scene in this book had no violence whatsoever. David Blake uses his brain to achieve his goals and was quite a sympathetic character, for a gangster. Howard Linskey has created a three dimensional character in Blake, a solid character who, if he doesn't meet a bloody end, I will enjoy following.

The Damage is quite a convoluted novel with a lot of detail and plenty of character names to follow, but like all good novels, it flows nicely and each revelation leaves you hungry for the next. Linskey concludes his plotlines intelligently and you never feel cheated by a short cut. A great read that has left me hooked and yearning for more of Linskey’s realistic and gritty fiction.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Buddhas of Borneo by Stuart Ayris

Buddhas of Borneo is a lovely and captivating read that fans of the author’s Tollesbury books will really enjoy. I don’t know how he does it, but Stuart’s books have a magical feel to them. He breaks all the rules and doesn’t care. If he wants to slip in a poem, he does it, if he wants to morph two words together for poetic effect then he does and it WORKS.

Buddhas of Borneo is rich in poetic imagery, thoughts and feelings. This book is based on the author’s experiences whilst travelling in the country but he allows his imagination to roam free on one or two flights of fancy. He conveys the depth of his feelings very well when he’s at the war memorial. He shows his sense of wonder at some of the wildlife. His driver and tour guide are brought life with humour and heart.

This was an uplifting read that brought a smile to my lips, I expected nothing less from Stuart Ayris.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Bedlam by B.A. Morton

Bedlam held me in thrall from the very first line. The prose was deliciously descriptive, without being overdone. At times Morton's descriptive prowess gave a magical fairy tale feel to the story, yet Bedlam is a dark story. It creeps up on you, and pulls you in.

Joe McNeil's life is on the rocks. He's one drink away from being an alcoholic. The love of his life, Kit, has disappeared, nearly a year ago and under mysterious circumstances. His colleagues in the police believe she is dead, but Joe can't accept this and his obsession with finding her is destroying his career and life.

B.A. Morton teases the reader, never quite giving up her secrets. This makes for an utterly compelling read that I just couldn't put down. The run down suburb of Bedlam has a mystical feel to it and Morton is so sparse on detail this is clearly deliberate.

Bedlam is quite unlike anything else I have read in recent years. However, one thing I can say with assurance is that it is a brilliant creation. Part fable, fairy tale, and cautionary tale - make up your own mind. A brilliant read.